When you hear the word “creativity,” do you instantly think of the story that’s lurking about in the back of your brain, or do you draw back in disinterest or even fear?
Creativity is one of those concepts in life that can be quite polarizing. People believe they either are creative, or they are not. It’s as if the doctor who delivered you checked your hearing and vision, then tested your creativity index to see if you are “one of the chosen few.”
But creativity is more than that. Sure, we have varying amounts of creativity. It is much more effortless for some people than others, but we all have the capacity to be creative.
The real question here is, “Why does it even matter?” Are we just trying to paint a pretty picture or tell a great story? Is that all that creativity is?
There are many reasons why creativity should be a regular part of your life, but here are three reasons to get you started.
Creativity Brings Joy
Yes, creativity can be difficult. If we let critics or our own doubts control the way we think, then we’ll never be able to enjoy our art.
But… if we can get past the negativity and doubts, we can find the inherent joy that comes with creating something.
I worked construction for a summer during college. If you know me, then you know I’m not really the construction type, but it was good money for a college kid. Anyway, one of the things that have always stood out for me about that experience was the pride (the good kind) that my boss had about his work. We’d be on the way to start another job in town, and he’d point out eight different houses along the way where he had installed patios or sunrooms.
He had made something, and he had enhanced the beauty of each of those homes.
Creativity Causes Us to Think in New Ways
It’s all too easy to fall into a rut when trying to approach new problems. The process goes something like… “Well, this problem is just like problem 442 that I had six years ago. I’ll apply the same principles and watch how this situation resolves itself.”
Unfortunately, things change over time. Problems are not the same from year to year (even day to day!).
At the beginning of the summer that I worked construction, I didn’t really think of my boss as a creative guy in the slightest. Then I went out on numerous jobs with him where we largely did the same type of work each time, but each house presented its own challenges. The gutters might not have been in great condition near the spot where we were going to build, so we had to determine a way for the drainage to flow off the roof more efficiently (a must in south Louisiana!). Other times, the walls would create awkward spaces, and we would have to adjust the walls of the sun room that we were building to accommodate.
Each time, we were there for practically the same job, but we had to think differently – to think creatively – to make the process work.
Living a life of regular creativity is beneficial to even the most practical of people. After all, creativity is like exercise. Regular practice will keep your skills sharp.
Creativity Gives Us Greater Appreciation
Lastly, creativity will make you appreciate the skills of other artists. I never thought construction people were creative. I know better.
At different times in my life, I’ve tried to be an artist (drawing, painting, etc.) and a musician. I’m not very gifted at drawing, and I have my limitations in music, as well. But I am now able to understand how talented more gifted artists and musicians really are.
You can get bitter over that understanding, or you can take time to appreciate it. After all, there are several art forms out there. If you can keep adapting and keep discovering your creative gifts instead of desiring someone else’s, you can have the freedom of enjoying your own creativity and celebrate others’ gifts at the same time.
We’ll look more at ways to practice creativity in the next few weeks, but it starts with the understanding that we need creativity in our lives. Creativity is a part – not all, of course, but a meaningful part – of a rich life.
What other benefits do you see to living a life of creativity?
Image used under Creative Commons license via ntm1909