Education is an area which still doesn’t acknowledge that creativity is an important life skill. Not only that, it is arguably one of the most important skills we can develop in the 21st century.
It was refreshing to read this article on the Presentation Zen blog in which Sir Ken Robinson speaks about this very thing. What is interesting is his thoughts about how our schools until now, have trained us to meet the needs of industrialization. This is a sentiment echoed in Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? which is well worth a read. I’m only half way through it at the moment and will talk more about that in another post.
I would estimate that maybe 90% of the worlds population not only are unaware of their own untapped creative potential, but that many of them also actively deny they have any.
Why is that do you think?
For many many years creative people have been regarded with a range of judgments such as; odd, wacky, not got their feet on the ground, far out hippies, eccentric, not to be trusted, non conformist types that just don’t even try to fit in.
It is amazing when you think about it because while they rail at creatives in one breath , in the next they are admiring the Sistine chapel or Gaudi’s wonderfully eccentric buildings.
Gaudi Building - Barcelona
I suspect that the driving thing behind most people’s denial of their own creativity is a deep fear of things like – being different, standing out from the crowd, or being remarkable. Even more terrifying, might be uncovering something within themselves which would call to them, thus upsetting the status quo of their carefully orchestrated, safe lives…..
“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life” Grenville Keiser.
What a great quote!
I came across a wonderful site the other day Behance which goes a long way towards solving the dilemmas faced by creatives in business in particular. This site is organized into helpful modules that assist the organizing of the creative process which, by its very nature is often disorganized and chaotic.
I was impressed that Behance Founder and CEO, Scott Belsky had the insight to set up a business like this and that there is now enough demand out there for it to be successful for them. This is an indication that business is finally beginning to take notice and realize that creativity isn’t just something for the ‘out there’ artists. Rather it is a powerful tool for business survival in the 21st Century.
As a creativity coach, I often find that one of the most difficult areas for creatives is to move from that ‘leading edge’ creative headspace to concrete manifestation of their wonderful ideas. The Behance Company is catering to the different working modalities that we as creatives have. They have online organizational tools and also a great range of paper products with things like a dot grid journal and paint to make any surface into a white board area.
Photo Credit – Deamstime.com/Geraktv
I decided it was time to stock up on some more Creative Inspiration this week and went for an Artist Date. I came across this idea of an Artist Date in one of Julia Cameron’s books called ‘The Artists Way’. This book is a fantastic resource for creative people and her idea of Artists Dates is something I wholly embrace and highly recommend. I will talk about the concept more in another post but if you want to know more – go here now.
I choose to do this on a monthly basis – spending a whole day and often travelling to Sydney. I find a lot more inspiration in the City, there are so many different things to go and explore. Rather than spending a couple of hours a week where I live, I find this works better for me. That’s not to say of course that I won’t sometimes pop into a local gallery or something that catches my interest.
I live an hour and a half on the train,
from Sydney – a really pretty train ride actually. For part of the trip the train wends its way beside and over inland waterways,and through tunnels and bushland.
Last week I went to the Powerhouse Museum – a fascinating place full of great foto opportunities. I gathered lots of rich detail for photoshop texture brushes and
painting and digital reference material.
Floor of Steam Engine
Well worth the visit if you live close enough to go.
I recently touched on the idea of an Inner Critic. This nasty little alter ego that we all have drives some of us mercilessly. Not only does it judge us by our own harsh standards but also by the judgements we think everyone else is going to be heaping on us as well.
Unless of course we are children and invincible!
It matters not whether you are an artist, a plumber , a lawyer, a bee keeper, or even out of work. It is there – hovering over your shoulder ready to stick in it’s 2 cents worth if you give it half a chance. So what to do?
Here are some ideas on how to control this pesky fellow…..
- Firstly acknowledge that he/she exists as an entity separate from you
- To help with this – draw, paint, sculpt, what he/she looks like – does he/she have a name?
- Secondly you need to determine that you are actually in control – that YOU get to say whether or not you choose to allow him/her to have any say at all.
- Thirdly you might ask – but how can I stop him/her – he/she just turns up in my head and lets fly. Heres a couple of tricks –
a. Imagine you have a big dial you can turn up or down that controls the volume of your critic speaking to you. Then turn down the volume to zero and refuse to listen.
b. Imagine yourself tying a gag on him/her.
c. Imagine a rubbish bin – you could paint it all different colors if you like – and when Mr or Mrs Critic pops up – well just put it in the bin and put the lid on very firmly and walk away. You could even erect a sound barrier around the bin if you felt like it.