For one year– from Spring2010 to Spring 2011, I turned my growing family into a laboratory. My purpose– to set each of us on a Creative path of our own. We began in the grand central space we callThe Music Room. Our old piano is here and our shelves are stuffed with great books. There are Kapla blocks to build with and a wooden castle with queens and kings to play with. For one week I’m writing about what I’ve learned this year– about Creativity and what it takes to live it. My previous post: Friends or Lovers Can Squash Your Creativity If You Let Them.
Creativity– like human consciousness, is an emergent system. Look down at your feet for a moment. How long does it take you to register something about them? Probably much less than a second. But the moment you catch something sticky about your feet– how lumpy your shoes look or the shell pink of your toenails, your brain’s on the job to push out the thought. Check out (a tiny portion of) what your brain does simultaneously and wickedly-fast, below:
- Your Broca’s Area converts what you see to speech.
- Your Hippocampus turns the image into memory.
- Your Parietal Areas orient your attention to stay on the object or move on.
When these (among other) multiple representations converge and agree, you have a thought– in this case, about your feet. And you can share that thought at will.
Creativity can’t be taught, but I’ve realized it can be learned. How can this be? Well, since Creativity is an emergent system, it is made up of parts– like my thought example above. Check out (a tiny portion of) what parts/actions converge into Creativity, below:
- Sticking with the fascinating or trashing what bores you.
- Embracing choice or reducing the toxicity of learned-helpessness.
- Loving through terror and fear when you can’t protect yourself or others from it.
- Spending time alone to digest things yourself.
- For children: Protecting their solitude and giving them the tool they need.
- Reading, a lot.
- Writing to express ideas and to find your voice.
- Remembering your childhood dreams.
- Figuring out a creative path that works for you.
- Finding something you love to do and sticking with it.
- Finding the right place to get your education and a finding a mentor.
- Thinking the unthinkable.
- Finding friends that challenge you.
- Searching for truth and seeking beauty.
- Working on the cutting edge of your field.
- Experiencing life to the fullest and dealing with death close-up.
- Becoming more than a single person– multitudes.
- Putting in 10,000 hours of time and energy for the sake of your creative work.
- Embracing passion for your work.
It may take your entire life to learn to do all these things, but the moment you’ve got it all down to a life rhythm– I think you’ll find your Creativity has emerged and you’ll have a lot to show for it.
Now I want to write You can do it! Come on, get started! (O.K., I already did). But even if I could walk you onto the perfect creative path, you have to struggle for yourself. Creativity is never handed to anyone because to be Creative you must be original. Nobody can make you Creative. You have to learn it for yourself.