Serving You: on thoughts from the top of a mountain
This week I wanted to delve into a topic I am very interested in but knew little about when it comes to the facts. First my own story…
I realized when about mid-elementary school that I found creative and artistic assignments came easily to me. I had a strength in math and liked solving problems and I also found enjoyment in creative thinking but lacked in topics that were more to-the-point and subjects where we were just to know and memorize topics that just are what they are and we assumed the research done to prove these points were valid. I struggled staying tuned in or interested in this kind of work. As a large number of us do, we start our lives thinking very creatively and allow our minds to brainstorm and wander constantly, it seems the world around of begins to shape us out of this thinking and forces us to be more “logic” thinkers and more matter-of-fact. While I was able to hold on to a lot of my creative thinking throughout my schooling, I fell into this model before going to college where teachers and adults push you to select a major based on future potentials in jobs. As you may guess nobody was suggesting that I explore my true and creative talents and rather suggested that selecting to study business would give me more possibilities when I go to get a job in the future. So, I of course took their advice at arrived at Colorado State University with a future as a Business Major as I had pre-applied to the program and was accepted. My freshman year was undeniably fun in my social life, exploration of a new city, and exploration of myself however it was lacking in my academics and pieces of my creativity. My spring semester I stopped going to my business classes (I still arrived on time every day for my most interesting class to date of my college career) as I lost interest in my business classes and ended the semester with C’s across the board. While Cs get degrees, that was so unlike me! When questioned by my parents, I knew the honest answer as to why my grades were so poor wasn’t because the classes were hard, it wasn’t because I didn’t understand my teacher, it wasn’t because I was sick, it was 100% because I didn’t care. I had lost interest in the topics and could care less about furthering my education in that field. This is when I decided to make a change for myself understanding what a long and scary future I would have doing something I didn't like every day. The thought terrified me so I delved into my true self. I had always been interested in Interior Design but had made up my mind that spending money on that degree would be a waste given the availability of jobs in the industry and the average pay. I met with a counselor in the Interior Design department over the summer after my freshman year and to my disappointment I was told that if I were to go into the program I would 1) Have to do 4 more years, no ifs ands or buts and 2) The program is not an automatic in, after your first year in pre-interior design you would have to take a “test” and only the top 40 were accepted. Logically, these knew found facts made no argument against finishing up my already started degree saving me time, money, and avoiding the risk of jumping into a program I might not even get into. I want to say it was a tough decision but it really wasn’t, I knew I couldn’t take another 3 years of topics that lacked excitement and was confident in my creative skills. I will say I had some second-guessing and anxiety after taking the “test” and awaiting a letter that comes in the mail (yes, you heard that correctly, a physical letter in the mail). Fast forward, I did make it into the program and I now have 8 more weeks until graduation! I want to share what I’ve learned along the way in my journey from feeling “less” as a creatively strong-minded person.
1. Just because it is not the norm doesn’t make it less
2. People don't want to pay for creativity, but i oddly find people asking me for "creative advice" all of the time...
3. You can do what you want to do, the reason people don’t is because they don't try.
4. Someone out there is doing it, why can't that be you.
I believe we all have the potential to be creative! I know a lot of people who believe some people are just born creative and then some are not. I don’t believe this is true and as I mentioned before, I think we all are born with the creative stamina but unfortunately our world is so focused around a mold that does not fully support the creative use of the brain all of the time. I’m not denying that we all have a natural talent, however I think this Quartz article puts it well in redefining what it means to be actively creative.
“It’s not just your ability to draw a picture or design a product. We all need to think creatively in our daily lives, whether it’s figuring out how to make dinner using leftovers or fashioning a Halloween costume out of clothes in your closet. Creative tasks range from what researchers call “little-c” creativity – making a website, crafting a birthday present or coming up with a funny joke - to “Big-C” creativity: writing a speech, composing a poem or designing a scientific experiment.”
In my environment in order to come up with the best and most creative solutions we are taught to erase what they know on how everything should be to really open their brains to what we otherwise would not have thought about if we assumed something to be set in stone. Often times, being creative is more like a redefining than an inventing - inspiration never comes from nothing!
Scientific American says creative brains contain the following personalities:
1. plasticity: oppeness to experience, extraversion, high energy, and inspriation
2. Divergence: non-conformity
3. Convergence: high conscientiousness, precision, persistence, and critical sense
“But hold up, you may say. How can creativity be associated with all of these things: openness to experience, inspiration, high energy, impulsivity, rebelliousness, critical thinking, precision, and conscientiousness? Isn't that contradictory?
Which brings us back to the beginning of this article. Creativity involves many different stages. Those who are capable of reaching the heights of human creative expression are those who have the capacity for all of these characteristics and behaviors within themselves and are flexibly able to switch back and forth between them depending on the stage of the creative process, and what's most adaptive in the moment.
I told you creativity is messy.”
I’m pretty sure this photo from the Scientific American article describes life. This is why I think we are all creative and could embrace more of these philosophies in our every day problem solving!
testing your creativity... download journal 5 below