Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Creativity: An Act of Will

Something interesting came across my desk today. It came from Joseph Michael Essex at sx2 design consultancy and speaks about the act of drawing in words much better than I could write. Enjoy!

Yes, Creativity is an act of will. It also demands practice, discipline and confidence.

“I don’t have a creative bone in my body” and “I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler” are a few of the responses we hear when we explain our work. Most people assume that creativity is a gift, a talent you are either born with or not. This is both true and not at the same time.

The primary component of creativity is awareness. We all are born with the capacity to be creative because from birth we absorb everything. We soak everything in, we learn at an exponential rate. It is only when that awareness turns on itself and becomes self-critical do we narrow our focus. If our drawings don’t look like those of others, we lose confidence in our own vision of things and we stop drawing.

When we stop seeing and settle for the familiar our creative muscles begin to atrophy. The patience, energy and discipline required to continuously examine the status quo for relevance and substance becomes too much work and risk for too little reward.

Creativity has more to do with attitude than art, more about ideas than images, and more about motivation than innovation. It’s not always about what’s new, but what is possible, even meaningful.

Those that are willing to risk embarrassment by asking the “dumb” questions will learn a great deal. By questioning the king’s new clothes or challenging how things have “always been done” we allow ourselves to discover new things. A few steps back toward childhood might expose opportunities we were too close to see.

Let Joseph know what you think.