Creativity is a fundamental tenet of being. Every idea, no matter how trivial, is a spontaneous association between established earlier ideas.
Creativity is how we think and reason. It’s how we understand and explore. Everything else—education, upbringing, social conditioning, cultural mores—confines our creativity.
The principal villain is that little voice inside our heads that holds us back because a creative activity is disruptive. Originality begets instability. Creativity takes time, effort, and courage. Being imaginative is more unpredictable than the comfort of the repetitive pattern of everyday existence.
Watch children at play. They can invent new worlds, compose new narratives, and fantasize in double-quick with an endless stream of creativity. Children don’t hold back—to them, all things are possible because they haven’t learned that some things are impossible.
In other words, children are less hindered by prior patterns of thought. They don’t judge the quality of their creations. Nor must they “save face” if others think their ideas to be stupid. They simply move on to something else.
Alas, this high level of creativity isn’t necessarily sustained throughout childhood and into adulthood. By high school, most children have their creativity gently squeezed out by those (adults, undeniably) who think more conventionally.
Idea for Impact: We adults don’t need to learn to be creative. We need to unlearn not being creative. As Albert Einstein once said, “To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.”