Creativity; How Important is it?
Creativity is a great thing, but it is a misunderstood, often slated and under-appreciated thing. I recently wandered over to the book stall during one of my Uni’s weekly markets, and bought a book called ‘The Writers Mind’ edited by Irv Broughton, which contains 13 interviews with well known and established American authors. I was reading this just before I started work the other day, and my boss saw me reading it, so I passed her the book and she became rather interested by a statement within the introduction. A statement that sums up what this article is about, and that sums up the overall perception of creativity in general, as Irv Broughton wrote “Creativity is one of the least understood of human functions.” It’s interesting because it poses more than one question while also opening itself up to ridicule. It questions first what do we know of creativity? (What is it? What does it mean to us?) and where can it be found? (within us all? A ‘human function’?).
A quick google search will give you the definition of creativity as being “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.” which is of course true, but does not quite do justice to the power, to the importance and to the necessity of it in our lives. The biggest confusion I feel people have is that creativity is not limiting and it is certainly not judgmental. Creativity is not a being that selects the people it will bless with its presence. It is, as Broughton says, a ‘Human Function’ that we all possess. The confusion, however, comes from the people who either refuse or do not know how to engage with such a natural function and as a result label themselves as ‘not creative’.
As a child I had the creativity but I didn’t know what to do with it, so I surrounded myself with other creatives and with examples of creativity. That acceptance and subsequent engagement with creativity meant that growing up was a lot more interesting. You get to see life in different ways, in your worst times you have the ability to find different perspectives over your situation. In fact just being a child means that you are so creative, because you don’t know what you’re doing, so you’re trying anything. WE ALL POSSESS THE ABILITY BUT WE DON’T ALL REALISE IT. I was fortunate enough to be a part of an amateur theatre company called MAC Youth Theatre run by a lovely man named Barrie Jaimeson! My aunt encouraged me to join it when I was young (probably around 10 years ago now) and it was somewhere where we put on performances, and where we engaged with some really interesting texts and were given such a great opportunity to engage with our natural creativity. My aunt told me that from one day there, I had such a great time and was a completely different, happier person and I really do remember it being a wonderful part of my life so far. After quite a while it had to stop running, I can’t remember the exact details now but either way having that as an influence, and as an epiphany inducing event was instrumental in how my adolescence panned out. These kinds of events and moments of heightened creativity can change the lives of even those that don’t care for any sort of ‘creative career’. Engaging and embracing with this side of our identity and our abilities means that we can apply it to everything we come in contact with.
Picture the scene, you’re in your house, it’s comfortable, the radiator is producing the most wonderful heat, compared to the freezing arctic temperatures coming from outside but then you remember you haven’t put the bins out. WHAT DO YOU DO?! You decide you’re going to wrap your entire body up in your duvet, in all its warm and embracing quality and you take the bins, waddle outside and throw them before sprinting back inside. CREATIVITY. Or maybe instead, you don’t want to look like an idiot in front of your neighbours, waddling about like a penguin in the evening time. You decide to collect the bags, open your window and squeeze them through the open section, so that they fall (hopefully) in a good place to be picked up. Admittedly it would probably end up very badly, with broken bags and such but nevertheless IT WOULD STILL BE CREATIVITY.
Okay so lets say (for some strange reason) you don’t find applying creativity to the chucking out of bins to be an important human function, lets move to a more serious example. Creativity can save lives. Depression, for example, is made so much easier with an engagement with creativity. If you’re depressed creativity gives you the chance to see through a different ‘Lens’. When you’re sitting there, feeling useless, the dark cloud that surrounds you in that mood is becoming suffocating, reach out to your creativity. Trust me when I say it makes a huge difference, to be able to reach within you and find a function of yourself that’s able to create this better, more helpful perspective or world is invaluable. What’s more is if you know someone that is depressed or even just sad and they have no idea why and they won’t tell you anything, BE CREATIVE. The act of people sending funny gifs, images, videos, motivational quotes, whatever it is to find a new way of helping that person is without a doubt CREATIVE.
Creativity comes in many forms, from film, art, music and books to people being able to find ways to approach something differently, or seeing a situation from another perspective. Creativity allows us to explore human relationships through the ways we speak to different people based on how we know them. Creativity gives us inspiration and influence that we can be driven by as we grow. Creativity affects us and fuels our lives without us ever knowing. Without creativity life would be a very mundane, and confusing place. With creativity, life is and always will be an interesting, forever fascinating and constantly challenging journey.
Once again I’d like to finish this article with, this time, a quote from one of the most creative and talented people there ever was, Maya Angelou:
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”