This column is the first in a series of lessons on creating with intentionality!
Creativity requires inspiration. Inspiration demands action. Action expresses creativity.
Thus, the magic circle of getting things done. I live to create. Daytime, nighttime. . . dream time. I love to create. It’s fun, hard work, and powerfully rewarding.
Creativity does not occur in a vacuum. It is called to action by being inspired by a moment, an event or task that requires something of you. Inspiration is a divine influence directly exerted upon the mind or soul. Inspiration is the awakening of one’s being to the songs of the Spirit.
Your personal call to create may come in a variety of ways. You may be asked to present music or a slide show, or to create the table decorations, or to create a parking plan, a printed program. Whatever the opportunity or venue, your presence and participation are required.
That’s when you become inspired to take the action to create.
Think of such potential moments: religious service, retirement banquet, annual company event, high school reunion, neighborhood block party – any event that inspires you and therefore triggers your creativity.
You wouldn’t have come up with that great speech, funny story, intriguing PowerPoint, or effective plan if there were no inspiring trigger.
Creativity is tied to purpose. And that feeling of having purpose comes along with being inspired.
Before I go further, let me define what I mean by creativity. Creativity implies that something new and valuable is being formed – that may be something tangible, such as the items mentioned above, or something intangible, such as a scientific theory, or a joke.
Being inspired to create gives one the ability to transcend traditions, rules, and patterns and to be original.
Most often, creative ideas and solutions derive from a fresh view of an old pattern. As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
A person inspired to be creative generates or recognizes ideas or possibilities that meet needs. “Creative” implies that these ideas are new, that others have not already thought of or implemented them. They may be new ideas, or a new, original perspective on old ideas or traditions.
Inspiration gives a person the ability to see things that others don’t and put things together in combinations that escape others. Inspiration encourages one to find a creative solution.
All who study creativity agree that for something to be considered “creative,” it must be more than novel: It must have value, or be appropriate to meet the demands of the situation.
But the beauty is that anyone can be creative. Author Jason Zook says creativity is a muscle. You can build it.
Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean being entirely original. A creative person is often one who finds a new combination for existing ideas that builds something never seen before because they were inspired.
More phenomenally, it appears that the ability to be inspired and creative is imbued at birth, and the propensity to create is educated out of us.
In 1968, researcher George Land tested the creativity of 1,600 children. He re-tested the same children when they reached 10 years old and again at 15. Here are the results in the percentage that were deemed “creative.”
• Test results amongst 5-year-olds:
• Test results amongst 10-year-olds:
• Test results amongst 15-year-olds:
• Same test given to 280,000 adults:
“What we have concluded,” Land wrote, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
Why is it important to be creative? Because the way things have always been done will never move you or those around you into a strong future.
So now, how can you be creative? Do you have a creative gene? Do you need one to be creative?
Fortunately, everyone has the capacity to create. That includes you. Just because you can’t sing doesn’t mean you can’t write a song. If you can’t write a novel or even a grade “A” term paper, that doesn’t mean you are not creative. If you see yourself that way, it’s likely because you’ve never accepted the challenge to create.
It can be scary to raise your hand and say, “I’ll do that,” when you know that your audience requires something new. No one wants to bomb.
Some of the most creative people I know took that risk and created something new, something great.