I work in a lot of different places and one of the ongoing challenges I face is getting materials printed. Is it just me, or do Wi-Fi printers give way more trouble than there are worth? Luckily nowadays I can improvise between trying to install the machine on my laptop, simply putting my documents on a USB stick or mailing/cloud sharing them with someone already connected to the computer. Quickly solved.
Both of these scenarios are everyday creative scenarios. Situations where plan A doesn’t work and plan B needs to be improvised. These are things we all do every single day of our lives. (Like using a butter knife to double as a screwdriver.)
These acts are proof that we are all creative at some level. We are all able to synthesise a new process, method or tool out of whatever is available, no matter our previous intentions. What the academics refer to as mini-C creativity.
This is the same capability which allows an entrepreneur to conceive of a disruptive, life-saving new technology and which allowed Picasso to come up with Cubism. An analytical mental skill that makes it possible for humans to not only envisage a future reality that does not exist but to act in the present in ways that make that thought become concrete.
The Road To Creativity
Typically, when large amounts of technical or conceptual skill are involved, it is a thing we like to claim we cannot do, but my examples above prove otherwise. Because at heart, David Eagleman is right: all creative acts are either:
Bending an existing tool/process to a new use
Blending something with something else to create a new outcome/look/process/product
Or Breaking something into its component parts and reassembling the parts to create something new (Hello Cubism!)
If you ask yourself, can I bend something I have to a new use, the answer must always be yes, you can. The same goes for the other two. Well, then you are creative.
The difference between every day, household bender, blender and breakers and say, Steve Jobs?
- The application of learning (acquiring more information, or more things/concepts to bend/blend/break)
- The amount of practice (time spent actively bending/blending/breaking)
- The experience and fine-tuning of the bending/blending/breaking skill
The first Creative steps:
Stop looking for concrete, black and white answers. Learn to be comfortable in an area where no clear answers exist. Where in fact, many, complex branchings occur. And then, instead of seeking the familiar, swim towards the new!
Next time your child turns the box into the toy and ignores your gift, or you have to use your tie to replace your fan belt, remember, this is where it all starts. If you can do that, you can create magic and invent things that did not before exist, you can acquire knowledge and you can change your world.
Heady stuff, right?
No wonder so many people deny they can do it!