Good for the Soul…CREATIVITY


Photo by Rodolfo Clix from, with permission

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

Another new year, and perhaps you are thinking “been there, done that.” Life can sometimes become routine. I want to invite you on a creative adventure this year, where you try doing things differently. Perhaps explore new experiences or open yourself to other perspectives. Journalist Bill Moyers wrote “creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” Creativity includes artistic and musical expression, and much more. Collins Dictionary says creativity includes “use of the imagination or original ideas, and the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships to create meaningful new ideas, methods, interpretations.” Whether retired or working, creativity and novelty can be beneficial. Friends of mine exercised creativity by taking an unforgettable 100-day cross-country journey in an RV. Creativity is shown when teachers and tutors use new methods to demonstrate ideas to students and maximize their potential. Lake Lure Classical Academy recently joined a unique program called M2M for mentoring students interested in medical fields. Einstein wrote “it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Creativity helped scientists develop lifesaving vaccines. Creative parents make up bedtime stories to entertain their children. Jeff Fajans, PhD researcher on creativity and parent of a 5-year-old, thinks “creativity is the most important meta skill for success.” Grandparents plan stimulating travel or “Nana Camp” staycations for grandchildren. Football coaches develop new plays to outsmart opponents. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs made amazing new products.

Extensive research has been performed on traditional creative fields like art. Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, wrote that “most cultures promote creativity—primitive tribes who make baskets and modern art museums.” One community benefit of creativity is “musicians, actors, and artists can communicate societal problems at a level which people can receive.” The healing aspect of art or music therapy also addresses “deep wounds such as those from trauma, PTSD, combat, tragedy, addiction, and traumatic brain injury.” Deane Alban, of Be Brain Fit, wrote “we are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and art encompasses a wider range of activities than you may have ever imagined. When you get totally immersed in a creative endeavor, you may find yourself in what’s known as the zone or in a state of flow. This meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all your worries….” Engaging in any wholesome, novel, creative experience can be beneficial. Hungarian American Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, a positive psychology expert wrote: “Personal creativity may not lead to fame and fortune, but it can do something more important–make day-to-day experiences more vivid, more enjoyable, more rewarding. When we live creatively, boredom is banished, and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery. When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life….”

According to product designer Tanner Christensen, “Creativity is the mental capacity to generate novel and useful ideas…. Not just in terms of the arts, but in every realm of thinking and work….” We often connect creativity only with art, “because it’s easier to believe everything outside of art has unbreakable rules.” Christensen notes creativity “is a critical life skill needed for success” in all human accomplishments. For example, “we went to the moon, flew to outer space, and discovered different galaxies.” Gifted playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not’?” The website proposes that “Creativity eliminates negative thinking. Since creativity is a skill related to problem-solving, it promotes resilience and positivity, especially during tough days….” Exercising creativity promotes open-mindedness and overcomes biases and assumptions. “We are used to limiting our mind with boundaries” of how something should be. Don’t believe that you are not creative. Poet Maya Angelou encourages us that “everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.” She believes “each one of us is born with creativity.” We all have unique creative gifts. Writer Neil Gaiman exhorts us to “write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.” Gaiman reminds us that “the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.” Author Steven Pressfield agreed and challenges us: “Creative work is a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

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