When we think of creatives, the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein or Picasso, most of us believe that they were lone geniuses _ toiling alone, locked away in their studios after being struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration. For the rest of us, ‘mere mortals’, we are left to stand around and marvel at their achievements.
But that’s where we get it wrong.
Creativity is not an elite pursuit only reserved for a select few. It is instead a way of operating, a skill that can be learnt by anyone and leveraged for fellowship, feedback and even patronage.
Anyone we admire for what they have created did so because they curiously learnt from others and their surroundings, borrowed from their ideas and built on them and had relentless enthusiasm to push them along the way.
If you wish to unlock your creative genius, you too must walk in the path they did by doing the following three things:
1. Embrace Collaboration
Creativity is often birthed from the overlap of two different fields or ideas. This overlap cannot be achieved in isolation. It is about combining two previously known ideas and making a new thing from them. It is the result of studying other people’s work and borrowing from them.
If you want to succeed in this modern age, you must find a way to connect and be connected with others. Never before in the history of time has it been easier to connect with others that now. With the Internet, any connection is literally a click away. You could learn from the best even if they are thousands of miles away from your physical location.
2. Have Amateuristic enthusiasm
The comic genius Charlie Chaplin once said, “We are all amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.”
We’re terrified by the idea of being revealed as amateurs. “Be the expert” they say. What we fail to understand is the core meaning of the word itself. AMATEUR _ in French, the word means ‘Lover of’ _ its the enthusiast who pursues his work in the spirit of love.
We have all experienced the excitement of an amateuristic hobby or interest. When you are engaged in it, it carries you to worlds unknown. Since you have little to lose, you are willing to try anything and see the results. You take chances, you experiment and you follow your whims.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,” Said Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki’ “In the expert’s mind, there are few,”
Only when we pursue our interests with childlike, amateuristic enthusiasm will we stop being afraid of making mistakes or looking ridiculous in public. Only then, will we have the courage to be truly creative.
What’s more, at the rate the world is changing, it’s turning us all into amateurs. For us to thrive in this new world, even ‘professionals’ need to have an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.
3. Think out loud
No matter how creative you are, it doesn’t matter to the world if no one ever sees that creativity in use. For this reason, we must all learn to think out loud_ not all the time_ just long enough to get our ideas heard by those they matter to.
If you want your creative work to be enjoyed by others, you must be willing to put it up, speak it out and share as much as you possibly can.
Talk about the things you love. Talk about the things you are passionate about. Talk about the things you value. Then and only then, will you find your voice.
If you want people to know what you do, about what you care about and about your ideas, you have to share. Some will love what you have to say, most won’t. It’s life.
Finally ……………………….. Create a sense of urgency
I once lay on a hospital bed praying, hoping and pleading that I do not die. I swore to myself that if I woke from that bed, I would live my life to the fullest, making the most of every opportunity.
Thankfully, I didn’t stay there long. Funny thing though, my promise didn’t stay long either. I soon forgot and went back to the same old boring routines.
We have all been there_Making promises to ourselves that we would be at our best. But it all wears off soon.
Allow me to remind you why you need to make the most of today, why you need to create a sense of urgency around doing what you love and sharing that with the world.
One Day You’ll Be DEAD. Yes. YOU.
Whatever you do, find your own reason to remember that small fact and live each day as if it’s your last. It might just be the thing that lights up your creative spark.
My own Creative Journey
This year, I want to publicly commit to a journey of sharing my creativity with the world. I will do so here, on my blog, by sharing a part of my thoughts and learnings twice a week_ every Tuesday and Friday.
I suppose it will be a rollercoaster of a ride. I have tried it before and I know that on some days, I will feel confident about what I share while on others I will shrink with fear and the thoughts of “ maybe they won’t enjoy this one.”
I promise, though, that I will try, with everything I have got. This year, I will collaborate with great people on wonderful projects, I will be enthusiastic about the things that make me happy even when everyone else doesn’t seem to like them and I will share my thoughts out loud.
All I can ask of you is that you share this journey with me by also working on your creative genius and sharing that with the world.