Therapeutic Creativity

A lot of people around me are very busy with creating things: companies, new lives, music, books, art, apps, business models and even children.

It’s a powerful reminder of how all-pervasive creativity is AND how unrecognised it mostly is. Very few of the people mentioned above view themselves as creatives, except the musicians and the artists. The rest see themselves rather as people getting what they want from their lives.

The fundament of creativity is synthesis: joining one or more existing things with either other things or new things that you invent yourself. Most problem solving involves synthesis, or its twin, deconstruction. The decisions you make around WHAT you synthesise and HOW you deconstruct are where creativity comes in.

Chance are no two people will come up with an identical solution to a problem. They will all bring their own ideas of what elements are suitable to solve a problem. When analysing or breaking down a challenge, the same is true.

This is the beauty of creativity: it creates identity and fosters a sense of ownership, responsibility and belonging. It’s one of the reasons why entrepreneurs are so passionate compared to salaried employees stashed somewhere down the value chain.

It also means that when one is stuck: in life, business, love, purpose or whatever, one of the easiest things you can do is start playing what if: what if I changed that, what if a break it down like this, or like that?

When creating actively, such as writing, sculpting, singing these processes often play out subliminally. It is often said that what makes a melody is the rests (what is left out) as much as the notes (what is synthesised) Michelangelo himself said that he didn’t sculpt, he just removed enough stone to reveal the sculpture that was already within the block.

Not The PlanEvery step of the way there are micro decisions: do I add? Do I take away? What do I add? And How? How much should I take away, and where? Art competitions, poetry contests and writing submissions are always going to be contested because of this powerfully subjective component. IN short, we’re all just about always going to have a different opinion on what should have been added or left out.

This is why I hate Idols and it’s like: the try to set a purely technical, objective benchmark on music. All they are really doing is judging singing and stage craft. It means nothing about what music these people can create. It’s just a giant publicity stunt where the SMS service provider makes more than the artists, the hosts, the broadcaster and the production company.

Creativity can make you happy. As long as you enjoy it for what it is, and don’t get caught up in Idols-type situations where you start comparing apples to pears and drive yourself crazy.

In short other people will value what you do differently. The music business is finding this out right now (and many other arts-relate businesses will soon too.) The music buying public no longer sees the value in music that older generations did. In short, they see no point in owning it, paying a lot for it, or really needing to have it around.

As a result, the entire business model built up around music is shuddering shaking and falling and many, many expectations are being confounded and hopes dashed. In short, too many people are in music because of the money and not because of the music. Which was great while it was possible to make money easily in music. Its’ going to be easy to see what happens with general music writing and businesses now.

And that holds true for many other creative industries too. Musicians are becoming the rock carvers of the middle ages. No longer totally in demand, no longer entirely cool.

Why are you being creative? How do you think you can survive the next decade from its rewards?

Leave a Reply