Creativity captivates us as human beings. We are fascinated by creativity: “How did they come up with that idea?” one always wonders. So, where does creativity come from? Can one learn to be creative, or is it part of one’s nature, so one is either creative by nature, or not? Or is it an unmeasurable equation of variables that come together to make a lucky person creative? Is creativity a function of the brain? and how can one become more creative, if such a feat is even possible.
I remember early in my career how hard I used to try to be creative. It never worked. It seemed the harder I try, the less genuine my attempts are. So, I almost gave up on me ever being creative. Of course, everytime I am requested to find creative ways to deal with a problem, and the more pressured I am to do so, the less creative my solutions were.
Going back further to my graduate studies, I worked so hard to come up with a creative solution to a case study our professor gave us as homework. I went to the library (there was no Google :)), I read many references, I reviewed the text books, I used decision making tools, I even used probability and risk analysis. The more I researched, the more constrained my thinking was. After a week of trying so hard, I decided I had enough. I put aside everything I read and decided to just write down my solution as clearly and straightforward as I can. Leave out the rhetoric, the appeasing my professor way of thinking, being political, worrying about the grades. All of that, I gave up out of desperation. Then, a strange thing happened: My mind felt so clear. I wanted to write. I just wrote what came to my mind, in a page or so, and submitted my solution the next morning.
To my amazement, I did not only get an A+, but I got a pat on the back from the Teaching Assistant who graded my work. “Ammar. I love how genuinely you dealt with this case study. I was amazed at your recommendations on dealing with the business case.” The funny thing is that it took me little time to write my answers than any of my previous homeworks, which to my dismay I always scored C, which is extremely low in graduate studies. Next assignment, I was so tense trying to save my reputation and meet my professor’s high expectations of me. I got a C again. That puzzled me and I never understood why this happened to me.
Trying to be creative will wipe away any creativity you have. Stop trying to be, and just be. Clear the mind, forget pressures, judgments, and worries paused by others or by self, and just be. I think nothing gets the creativtiy juices flowing like being authentic, genuine, and being yourself.
All of us are creative and all of us can tap into that inspiration that goes beyond brain operations and calculations, and be creative.