There are few things more satisfying than creating something from my imagination. Whether I’m writing a short essay or rearranging the furniture in my apartment. Even the most mundane of activities can ignite a sense of pleasure, so long as the concept wasn’t structured beforehand, and therefore delegated to me. In other words, the finished product comes from within.
Of course, the creative process can take shape within the conventional artistic areas like music, painting, and so on, but it can also be applied to more orderly and practical arenas like business, sports, or even politics. How often do we hear of athletes or investors, for example, saying “there’s an art to this” when describing their craft?
And they’re right, there is art involved. Everything in our lives, including existence itself, could be considered such when the world is viewed through an artistic lens. Life is art. Even at the most granular level, there exists an element of the unknowable, the unmeasurable, or the irreducible — like a cup of water that’s never precisely 8 ounces. And herein lies the opportunity for creativity.
Creativity seems to involve a process of piecemealing bits of information that’s already known, and arranging them in different orders, patterns, or within different contexts. An experienced chef, for example, may draw on his knowledge of food and cooking styles to prepare a meal using almost any combination of ingredients.
Personally, I don’t see much difference between the artist and the analytical individual. It’s primarily a matter of where their attention is focused during a given situation. If they focus on the structured, the known, or the already established processes, then they’re using an analytical lens. If they focus on the unstructured, the unknown, and open to new processes, then they’re using the artistic lens. It’s more of a shift in consciousness, or perspective, than a definitive label on someone being either creative or analytical. It’s the difference between measuring the precise portions of each ingredient and following strict instructions vs. using intuition to apportion the proper amounts and preparing a meal with whatever utensils are available. The creative approach relies on instinct, while the analytical approach relies on instruction. If someone asked you the question: are you more creative or analytical? Chances are, you’ll realize areas where you’re more creative and other areas where you’re more analytical. I’ll bet you have access to either of these lenses.
I would consider anything originating in your imagination and then manifesting itself in the world is an example of creativity. The clothes you wear, and the design of your home, car, or office are all projections of your imagination to some extent, and that’s an expression of art. I think you’re an artist already — whether you realize it or not — and the more areas you apply your creativity, the better. There’s an enormous amount of satisfaction and fulfillment residing in this domain of experience. Firstly, the confidence to try, and fulfillment from creating something out of nothing. You can turn your visions into realities, and you don’t have to be Steve Jobs to do so.
But the enemies to creativity are the constructs in the world. These ‘boxes’ we encounter in everyday life have a devilishly subtle way of dulling the mind into thinking like everyone else. Look around you and you’ll notice constructs everywhere — laws, regulations, guidelines, standard measurements, dimensions, and procedures, and even structures like buildings and roadways can all begin to have you thinking within boxes if you’re not consciously aware. Constructs are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall under their hypnosis. Everything we see was created from the imaginations of other people, and we all know this on some intellectual level.
But how well do we understand on a deeper level? Are you seeing through the constructs in life or mentally falling asleep?
I’m sure you are, we all hit the auto-pilot button in life to some extent. You can’t have the creative side churning all the time, or you may drive yourself insane. But it doesn’t mean you stop envisioning what could exist in the unknown. Your creativity is still there, even if it’s laid dormant for years. It just needs to be dusted off, heated-up like congealed cheese, or in some cases, excavated from the graveyard.
Your life is your masterpiece. It can be drawn up and customized however you want, from the big boulders in life to the tiny pebbles and crevices. But my inclination, and the purpose of this article, is that creativity lies dormant within everyone. It’s a matter of perspective more so than a personality trait in which you’re stuck with forever. Just as the photographer changes the lens in his camera, you too can change the lens in your mind.