Creativity - Confession 23

2014.08.04 21:32:37

image All too often I hear people complain or insist that they aren't creative. I have a hard time believing that. That isn't because I am probably seen as a creative person by some, but simply because creativity isn't something that is a mere trait. Being creative is about how receptive you are to ideas.

Usually a big part of your mind is dedicated to filtering out noise. Not only noise from sensory systems so we can focus our senses, but also filter out ideas and thoughts. When we grow up we learn to strengthen this filter on thoughts because a lot of them are very random, distracting and honestly a nuisance. Being able to block off these kinds of random ideas that our subconscious spouts out is very important for systematic and clear thinking.

Creativity is about finding solutions to problems and usually these solutions require some kind of starting point before our rational mind can take over to develop it. In order to get this starting point we need some kind of random seed. Our subconscious provides this seed, but in order to access it we need to learn to lower our mental barriers and let the mess flow in. Once you are flooded with dumb garbage that is utterly worthless you need to get ahead and filter all that out for the things that might potentially not be complete crap. That's creativity.

This is a skill that can be and should be trained. Some people can even discover special tricks in order to get this creative flood rolling effectively. I remember an article by a famous painter (his name escapes me at the moment, I'm afraid) who would put an item in his hand and then try to snooze off. As his hand loosens the item falls to the ground and wakes him up and presto, he'd have a new idea. Tricks like these are very useful of course, but I can't say if it works for everyone or if there is one for everyone. However, I am rather certain that regardless of trickery, accessing this pool of ideas can be done by anyone.

If I were to give advice on how to train this kind of thing, it's to simply commit a lot of time to working on creative problems. That does not mean drawing or art at all, but any kind of task that poses something to think about and isn't composed of mere trivia. So, solve advanced maths problems, play puzzle games, ponder out complex systems, try to invent something, find new cooking recipes, anything that involves coming up with novel combinations and procedures requires creativity and will in turn train your mind for it.

My point of this rant is: Shut up about ‘not being creative’ and work on it.

Written by shinmera