Creativity

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All of us are creative people. After all we each create a new experience every day. For some, that experience is pretty much the same —  day in and day out. Get up, do your stuff, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch your program, go to bed.

For others, perhaps the more creative types, the days take on various shapes as we try to diverge from the norm, we try to expand life into an experience of greater color to keep things interesting. We re-invent our lives daily and refuse to get bogged down in the sameness of the routine. So we create things, we make it up as we go along – just as I’m doing now.

Creativity isn’t difficult. It’s actually the easiest part of life. Personally, it’s what I live for. Oh I can get bogged down in the routine just like anybody else, and when that happens, I find myself fluctuating between the edges of happiness and unhappiness. I would love to be creative all the time, but that just doesn’t seem to be possible here on Planet Earth. No matter how hard I try, the routines keep popping up.

And when they do, I find that life goes by faster, time flies, the weeks spin by and leave little memory. What’s to remember? Not much. Just the daily grind?

So I revolt. I break away from the routine. I brush my teeth differently. I try sleeping in another position. I change my schedule, try a different breakfast combination, water the grass at a different time of day, read a book in the middle of the afternoon. Get creative.

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Not all these ideas work. Some are complete failures. Others are “take it or leave it” ideas. Occasionally one makes total sense and so it becomes part of my routine. It’s a good idea that sticks.

That’s what it means to be creative. Try something new. Break the mold. Lean out over the edge. Chance to fail. Chance to fall.

Creativity often results in mistake. It has to. After all, you’re out there in no man’s land, in an atmosphere of danger, not always knowing where you’re going, rarely sure of yourself, trusting something beyond the tried and true and the routine.

You want to be creative? You have to build the muscle – the muscle that allows failure, the muscle of determination to get up off the mat and try again, the muscle to lose and yet still march on.

You have to be willing to make a mistake and then make something of it. In music, there are musicians who read the music and stick to that no matter what. Then there are musicians who improvise – who take the chance to lean out over the cliff and go where their heart and soul takes them – not their brain.

When you do that, mistakes will be made, but that’s where the muscle comes in. The muscle is the ability to turn the mistake into something unexpectedly creative, to right the wrong in such a way that the wrong becomes a brilliancy. Improvisationalists do this all the time, and they pull it off because they are rooted into the music — the chord progressions, the groove, the feel — in such a way that they are tied to the cliff and cannot fall, but rather can lean out farther and farther. Because they have the muscle of the bedrock of music under them.

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The same goes with all art – whether it’s watercolor, sculpture, or writing. Be willing to go where no soul has gone before, be willing to try the untried, be willing to fail. It’s a brave man’s game. It takes courage.

If you fail all too often, you’re liable to say, “Well, I guess I’m not very creative.” But that would not be correct. It would simply mean that you’re not yet rooted enough in your craft to lean out so far over the edge. If we fail too often, we become dis-couraged – we lose our courage. We lose our ability to be creative.

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So go back to work on your craft. If you’re a musician, practice your scales. If you’re a writer, read more. If you’re a painter, study the masters. And if you’re simply human, try reading the biographies of great people.

Study greatness. Feed your roots. The size of the tree above the ground equals the root system below. If the tree above the ground becomes much bigger than its root system, that tree will eventually die and fall over. It’s the way of the world.

“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” ~Dan Stevens

“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” ~Yo-Yo Ma

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“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams

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