Do you think of yourself as creative? Do you engage in creative acts? Lately everywhere I turn I keep running into thoughts and statements about creativity. In the age of wired connections, there seems to be a call to arms to turn off the devices, roll up our sleeves and get creative with our own two hands. But have you ever thought about creativity? What is it and what drives us to create? Are you born with it? Can you nurture it? How do you find time for it? Better yet, what is creativity to begin with?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, Creativity is the ability to make new things or think of new ideas, while the Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative. The American Psychological Association definition requires originality and functionality. Rolo May, a noted psychologist in his book, Courage to Create, states “Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life.” And over on the blog Brainpickings, you can read a variety of quotes from famous people in all walks of life giving their thoughts on creativity.
I have to admit that all those definitions strike me as odd when I read them. It seems we use the term “creativity” to mean something much broader. In common language, I often hear the term used to describe the making of something by another, even if they are following a pre-set pattern, with often little or no originality. I thought the author of Brainpickings summed it up best when she stated that “Creativity” is one of those grab-bag terms, like “happiness” and “love,” that can mean so many things it runs the risk of meaning nothing at all.”
Yet, while I may not be comfortable defining it, I do think creativity adds a richness to life, and so it is worth exploring, coddling, and helping to grow. So join me over the next several weeks as I take a look at some thoughts, ideas, and notions on how to do just that. In the meantime, how do you define creativity?