Imagine what the world would lack if Paul McCartney had grown up in an overly critical home. What if all Meryl Streep’s parents said to her was, “When will you settle down and get a real job?” The Beatles, if they could have happened without Paul, would have been much different. Some great Hollywood movies might not have become Oscar winners without Streep’s talent.
You don’t need to have overly critical families to be inhibited or shy about being creative. Most of us have an inner critic who harps at us from time to time, discouraging us from creating what we really want to create.
All of us have the desire to create something. The problem is that many people assume that whatever they do isn’t going to be “good enough”, so they don’t even bother to start. Others might start a project, but they don’t like it, then they give up and never try doing it again.
The term “creative person” applies to someone who just does what appeals to her or him. The self critic is relegated to the corner with a dunce cap. The creative person knows that he has the freedom to make something terrible, but in the process of trial and error, sometimes a decent result worth sharing happens.
Quite often the inner critic is linked to the fear of being yourself. There is the common fear that you’re not good enough for other people. There is a belief that others must approve of you or your “lifestyle” or you’re not worthy. This is also related to the similar fear that if you don’t create something fantastic, you will be rejected.
The key element in jump starting ones creativity, is an unbounded love for what one does. It doesn’t matter if what one does generates wealth and fame. It’s nice if what one loves also gives you public esteem, but that should not be the motivation. For example, I’m not an Ansel Adams, nor do I have state of the art equipment. I love to take pictures. Often times people will look at one of my images and say, “meh”. Once in awhile, though, kudos come forth for a different picture.
Jump starting creativity isn’t restricted to “the arts”. Oftentimes it applies to everyday practicality. The idea about how to improve a task or an object pops into the mind. The creativity happens when you jot down the idea or make a back of the envelope sketch. Don’t let the idea fade away. Keep nibbling away. Keep on experimenting to make it happen.
Last year, I noticed an old surveyer’s tripod folded up behind the door in dad’s den. Instantly, I just knew it would be perfect to use as a floor lamp. I brought the tripod home and tried out different techniques to install a socket and harp to the permanent mounting bracket. After messing around for a few days, I stumbled upon the idea to use a cube of hardwood as the adaptor. The concept worked, and now I have a new floor lamp.
What is interesting is that apparently I wasn’t the only person to think of this idea. Lately, I’ve notice that many people are using various tripods as lamp bases. The variations are only limited by the imagination.
A person must not be limited by what is accepted or common knowledge. A famous example of this in architecture is the cantilevered platform applied to home design. Just because this had never been done before didn’t stop Frank Lloyd Wright from incorporating it into some of his “organic architecture” designs.
The point is this: the same types of brain cells that lead to writing great music like that of Beethoven, or artistic masterpieces like those of da Vinci can help us to understand and empathize with others, or solve world problems, or write a story, or cook an amazing holiday meal. Just because it hasn’t been created before or society hasn’t thought of it before, doesn’t mean it cannot be done or cannot benefit society.
What’s your actual passion? Is it time to give it a jump start?