Sometimes life takes over and you lose yourself in the busyness and momentum that throws you off topic and away from the shoreline. It can be like an oceanic current; upon which you float for a while, until before you know it you are a long way out to sea with no contingency plan for getting back to land.
You don’t know where you are until you look up, and only then do you realise how far you’ve drifted and how long you’ve been oblivious to the fact that you are not where you thought you were. Well we are better at adapting to the water and other such seemingly alien terrain than we might give ourselves credit for. This is life and our main tool for survival is creativity.
All People Are Creative
I dislike it when people divide humans into ‘creatives’ and ‘non-creatives’ – I believe with all my heart that every person on the planet is intrinsically creative and it is a form of tyrannical domination to argue otherwise. It is also a divider that we use right from the word go as we throw the notion of creativity into a very narrow space.
But creativity is in everything and is absolutely integral to our interaction – the very fact that we have language as the basis of our social experience (humanity) means creativity is at the heart of everything we do.
As a result of this I believe that our creativity must be nurtured, encouraged and given space to breathe and it is as important for our emotional wellbeing as food and shelter are for our physical wellbeing. This is not a recipe for good obedient purveyors of the status quo however and is unlikely to be the mainstay of the established order, so it is no surprise that we are led to believe in a world where some of us are ‘not creative’.
We all have our soul-enhancing/restorative pursuits though and the best of these are creative. For me writing and music are huge providers of this and are my common and reliable sources of restoration. But there are many things that do the same job; walking, chatting, exercise, cooking, playing with my nephews, thinking etc. These are all creative pursuits.
Creativity is a culture, it’s a choice and it is something that requires discipline and training, but it is NOT a preserve for a few people, it is the natural condition of all of us. Creativity is also by nature outward looking – it cannot help but breathe life into and inspire other people. It is freedom: Freedom FROM a prescribed blueprint/map and freedom TO mix ourselves with the world.
For example a conversation that goes behind niceties and trivial observations. If you say more than the usual then you are being creative.
When you read you are being highly creative. You are working with the author to construct a whole reality in your mind. It is an intimate encounter where two worlds really do collide and make sweet creative love. This is the difference between reading a book and watching TV. Nothing creative happens in the viewer when they watch TV.
Nothing beats a good meal that takes time, effort and even a spot of collaboration. There is not much creative about takeaway and ready meals.
HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME
You have one major choice: how you spend your time. You actually have that choice. That is a choice of creativity. You decide. You paint your world, you have control over what you do and the way you approach it. That’s the reality that underpins your life but it probably doesn’t feel like the truth.
Well here’s the actual truth – you don’t have to consume the things you’re told to consume, you don’t have to do the activities you’re told to do, you don’t have to conform to stereotypes and you don’t have to buy the magazines that vacuously declare what people ‘like you’ are supposed to do with their time. You have complete creative freedom. You need to remind yourself of this every day because there are many people who want, nay need you to believe the opposite.
There is a common theme. When we live in a world where our collective priority is making money, manipulating other people, being ‘efficient’ and consuming we smash the intrinsic priority of humanity (creating) to the bottom of the pile and condition in ourselves a belief that creativity is unnecessary for anyone other than ‘artists’.
But when we are given the space we are all creative. Check out this wall that Candy Chang turned into a board for people’s dreams. She left open a load of space with the words ‘Before I Die I Want to…’ and people were left to fill in the gaps. This is a space for wild dreams, for un-inhibited imagination and creative thought that goes beyond our everyday mundane slog. And whats more, everybody is able to engage with it.
So, are you with me now? There are no non-creatives. Only those who acknowledge their creative spirit and those that have been fed the lie that they don’t have one. If you’re the latter then today feel that veil lifted.
You ARE creative and you’re ALIVE – now go and do the remarkable things that makes you feel it. Cook a meal, ride a bike for the hell of it, talk to a stranger, actively read a poem, actively listen to a song (don’t just consume it), volunteer, go somewhere you’ve never been before, engage with the news, be critical, ask questions, don’t conform to the stereotypes of who you think you are, go skinny dipping, try something new, do the thing that only you can think of because I’ve run out of ideas now. Do something that DOESN’T give you a monetary reward, just for shits and giggles. That’s creativity.
BUT: When you start thinking about how much money you can make from it then it turns from creativity into destructivity, and that’s the very reason there are people who don’t believe they are creative right now. Creativity has nothing to do with money.
So next time you hear someone talking about creatives vs non-creatives, ask them what they mean, and tell them that they either need to choose different terminology or that they are simply off the mark.
Andy Mort is a UK based musician and writer. He is the founder of Sheep Dressed Like Wolves: a Blog and Podcast helping introverts and highly sensitive people recognise and embrace their creativity; and identify what is holding them back from living with the passion, purpose, and meaning they seek in a sometimes overwhelming world.