The notion of creativity is often linked to what we would consider exceptional achievements, like the art of Picasso, the invention of the laptop or the sleek design of the space shuttle. But for most of us, creativity brings its greatest rewards when it expresses quietly and much closer to home.
The dictionary defines ‘creativity’ as the act of causing to exist; to bring into being, give rise to, bring about. The very nature of the word itself implies bringing into existence that which does not already exist. And yet for most of us, our daily lives are filled with the repetitive and the habituated. We move through the basic routine of getting up, getting ready and going to work with one sequence of habits after another, rarely if ever noticing that we are engaging this repetitive process, day after day after day after …
We find ourselves lamenting the state of our lives, looking around us and trying to figure out what’s ‘wrong’ with our lives; with our work; with our friends and family. Yet maybe there’s nothing ‘wrong’ at all. Maybe what’s missing is a creative outlook – a different perspective or new world view – on what’s already there.
Creativity has its roots in curiosity. Without curiosity, there would never be the questions to which we seek answers. Or the daydreams that call out to be fulfilled. Or the change and innovation that we often intensely pine for. Without curiosity, there would be no reason for us to go anywhere new or meet new people or think a new thought. And yet, how many of us have become stuck in the habituated way of living our lives, applying our greatest creative expression to finding a variety of ways to explain and describe why we can’t have the life we want!
Imagine what your life could become if you got curious – about yourself, about your world-view and about your motivation for making the choices you make. Suddenly, life would be filled with astute observations and their corresponding, life-expanding insights.
The next time you find yourself in that same old __________ (you fill in the blanks: conversation, relationship, job, problem, etc.), instead of looking around for someone to blame for keeping you there, get curious! Let yourself notice you, for a change, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Isn’t that interesting! Every time x happens, I do/say/respond with y. How come that seems like an intelligent response? How does it serve me to continue to do that? When was the last time that I actually chose my response instead of just acting out of habit?
- What is it that always doing x allows me to continue to not pay attention to? What would happen to the quality of my life if I did something else instead? Who would support me and who would be angry/sad/disappointed/frustrated with me?
- How much more of my life do I want to live like this? What am I waiting for to be able to choose differently? Whose permission do I need to be able to begin to live my life in a way that leaves me feeling alive, dynamic and energetic? Who do I need to become to allow myself to claim a joyful life?
The answers to these questions may not come easily, and you certainly won’t find them in anyone else’s mind. These questions may even lead to those dark moments of the soul, where uncertainty can sometimes feel like that great gasp for breath – the one that will expand you into a new level of expression. And as Ilya Prigogine – one of the finest minds in theoretical physics – once said: “The future is uncertain…but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”