“Oh, but I’m not an artist, I don’t paint, I don’t dance, I don’t sing or sculpt statues or write plays, where do I develop or apply creativity?”
The formulation may seem semi-absurd and reductive, but I have heard it too many times, among my students in Applied Creativity courses, to belittle it or wondering that it is only a bliss for an elite.
The truth is that the idea that endures is the world of the arts wraps up both the capacity and the creative utility, and that outside this world it becomes hard to promote and apply to tame the beast. But it is not!
And what about people who come home with the intention of preparing a meal for five finding themselves in front of the last packet of pasta and a half-pressed celery in the refrigerator? The skill of with these ingredients creating a yummy meal is an excellent representation of everything that includes the creative capacity.
For new ideas we do not need colorful post-its, large wooden tables nor white walls nor highly enthusiastic groups happily gathered to listen to an energizing playlist. Will it work? Yes, it can! It is absolutely is essential? Not at all!
Being creative is (also) putting yourself in a situation and letting it happen. Seeing reality, and composing with it, creating, redefining, or just adapting what already exists to a new context or situation.
Opening the refrigerator where you can almost listen to the sound of the desert and being able to create with what is there, improvising a meal, is still a great demonstration of that. Just like “inventing” seaweed sandals because the child has lost his/her shoes on the beach and needs to get to the car without stinging his feet in the thick sand! Or offering a tray of cheese breads, warm and made right there in our neighbourhood, as the gift of celebrating 4 years of dating! Or bring to the telephone conversation with an already old relative, who always pulls the themes for the same misfortunes, the memories of when he/she was still young and happy and full of life …
Everything can make a difference, everything brings newness, everything brings freshness. And if it does, it is inherently within the framework that advocates the definition of Creativity.
“Ah, perfect, so now is it going to be clearly defined what is and what is not said?”, Ask the curious systematic minds. But the answer disappoints: “No, we are not going to proceed with the definition, because there is not one, but several, according to the approaches and the authors, according to the perspectives and areas”.
But one thing is common within this perspective: the fact of opening the new. The fact something emerges has not yet been thought of in the same way. And we return, once again, to the idea of non-obligation on the sophisticated or original in this production; it is often enough to adapt to new contexts or situations realities or solutions that already existed and had not yet been applied there.
If, out of curiosity, we decide to go to Wikipedia’s definition of Creativity, we precisely confirm that. More than looking for definitions, recipes, or steps, we must be attentive to the word “novelty”. And novelty here is understood as such new shoes-seaweed, such a cooking-miracle-of-reproduction-of-ingredients or new-conversation-at-the-end of so many-boring calls.
There is no need for special or sophisticated ingredients or particularly fruitful contexts. Turmeric and star anise will, for sure, add an incredible flavour to a cooking, but they are not the ones that make it creative. It is the hand that invents, improvises, creates flavor, even with the last clove of garlic and the shrivelled onions.
In the case of the conversation with the saddened grandfather, it is the ability to break the usual circle and bring the novelty to the conversation, the divergence in the usual sad topic, and to dare proposing something different, which marks different possibilities and provides, on top of that, more productive paths.
Therefore, and summing up, after removing the clouds around the election who handle the creative skill, creativity arrives for everyone…everyone, and it prevails in many contexts as there are lives. From the painter who recreates classics, to the nurse who invents a better way to change clothes to the immobilized patient; from the bus driver who, with a quick and accurate comment, moves the passenger who was going to travel without a ticket, to the primary school teacher who manages to motivate the class through a song. Creativity is everywhere!… and everyone has it!
And, like a muscle that we (re) discovered we are able move after a few years, creativity can be exercised through training and confidence that it is possible to exercise.
Let the thought go free on its way! Let the impossible to be left away through strong convictions and learn how follow clues of stimuli that turn thoughts into action. These are some of the secret ingredients (even more than turmeric) that provide difference, novelty, openness and (re) creation.
May we know how to see them daily, collect them wherever they are and use them without moderation, so that life becomes colorful and effervescent even without sticky post-its!
Edite Amorim was born in Porto, where she graduated and returned after more than 10 years in and out of countries, experiences, and adventures.
She graduated in Psychology at Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, then at the University of Barcelona she successfully concluded a Master in Group Management, joining several of her passions: the little humans in action, the difference and the discomfort she teaches, the internal cosmopolitanism and the freshness of the steps.
In between, she hosted conferences with Congress events around the world, she participated in international workshops in areas as diverse as Physical Theater or Social Work and felt life throbbing through the various cities she lived in, from Limerick in Ireland, to Malmö in Sweden or Clermont-Ferrand in France. For this reason, her clients are spread around the globe and Edite call the world her home, and she continues to feel part of it, even now she travels with an extra suitcase and a few extra pounds on top (since she become a mother in 2018 and travelling with her little one). Impossible are orders waiting to gain life: that is how life feels and guides steps.