One of our most primordial needs as humans is to understand our environment so we can adapt to it or make it adapt to us.
We observe, analyze, dissect, measure, qualify and quantify in an effort to have a better assessment of our resources, including new knowledge, ideas and concepts. When all these processes fail to fulfill our criteria, we attribute things to superior forces and entities.
Of all the mysteries in life, creativity is probably one of the biggest and most researched. We have spent an immense amount of time and many resources in trying to understand what creativity is and where it comes from, and the only conclusion we have been able to come up with is, “We don’t know yet”. It is probable that we will never know.
In ancient times, we used to attribute the phenomenon of creativity to external forces, which are sometimes represented as deities called “muses”. Others explained it as some sort of divine inspiration while the more pragmatic thought of it as a gift from the genes, a geniality or natural talent with which people are born. We have encountered throughout history personalities who were privileged to be born with an unexplainable natural geniality, these cases are very occasional and extremely rare, and yet humanity has managed to move forward and develop at an exponential rate.
We can think of creativity like electricity; we can’t see it, but we can quantify its effects, we can appreciate its attributes, and most importantly, we can learn how to generate it, and that is something that can happen deliberately or as a consequence of a natural learning process, just as in the case of our ancestors. We do not exactly know how or when it happened but there was a spark of cognitive activity that enlightened our path on the transition from Habilis to Sapiens, to Sapiens-Sapiens.
All of the sudden, we were able to not only produce sounds to communicate like animals, we also became capable of organising these noises into systems of codes and symbols that would become the first languages, which we could use to accurately describe ourselves and our environment. As primitive as it sounds, that simple progression is to date the single most important event in our entire history. It was, among other capabilities, what made us what we are today, giving us the capacity to dominate and manipulate not only our environment, but the rest of the species around us.
Fundamentally, if you are a human being, you are by nature a creative creature, since creativity is the sinequanon condition of every human that has ever existed.
Working as an artist and graphic designer, very often I encounter people who tell me, “I’m not the creative type”, “I wasn’t born with the talent”, “I’m not capable of doing this or that”. All these claims are part of a very extensive list of inhibitions that are imposed or self-imposed on us, by society, culture, education (or lack of it), religion, politics, etc. In the majority of cases, we are raised to believe they are the norm; we grow up with them and die completely unaware that we are victims of the limitations that prevent us from exploiting capability and potential.
Another big misconception is the idea that creativity is limited to artistic activities, when the fact is that creativity is involved in every problem-solving task and decision that we make every day.
It is very important to understand that, regardless of the kind of job or area in which you work, if you have a brain and you call yourself “human”, you are entirely capable of being creative; it is just a matter of understanding the process of creating and identifying those inhibitors that keep you restrained, no matter what causes them or where they come from, and then begin the process of depuration and to start, step by, to free your creative potential.