Human-kind—at some point in the evolutionary process—got very, very cold. When pushed to that extreme it was cleverly thought up that going inside a hole of some kind, away from the uncomfortable environment was a good idea. Thus we have shelter. And when that wasn’t enough, through whatever primitive means, it was discovered that flames gave off a most alluring heat, not to mention the light that illuminated the darkness of this cold world.
When these early humans outgrew their fancy rock hole dwellings and looked to “move on up,” I bet they had previously thought that dragging their belongings along the ground was a bit of a chore and there just had to be a simpler, easier way to move about. One of them probably fell down a hill and the primitive flame went off (no light-bulbs yet, people): rolling, that’s the ticket!
It may seem a bit juvenile to impart the story this way to us modern men and women, but at the time such thinking was earth-shatteringly radical and dare we say -- creative.
Creativity is not—nor has it ever been—about art. Creativity is about the basics of life, the forces that drive us and the solution of problems found blocking our progress. To reference our pre-historic story; if the environment is too harsh—find shelter. Still cold? Make heat. Transportation having a bit of friction? Get rolling. All of the materials to accomplish these things existed but necessity played “mother” to some inventive minds, looking to clear hurdles in the way of their existence.
So if we think of Creativity in this way, it can be seen as more a life-skill than some mystical artistic gift. Not to say that it’s not special to be able to think like so many of us do, but this speaks more to the fact that if you are alive, you stand a good chance of being creative, around the clock.
My friend, Jeni Herberger, always says that we are all born creative, it’s just a matter of whether or not we chose to use or develop that. There’s much truth in that. I’ll go a step further and willingly admit that some are more inclined to tap into this level of thought process. For the most part, we designers are an example of that.
It could be that extra dose of mental talent in being clever, a proficiency in problem-solving, even the financial backing that allows the freedom to “explore” and study without the stresses or cares of life “overhead.” Whatever the case may be, some can honestly say that they were born to do the work we do. Very plausible, and most likely very true. But here’s an additional bit of truth that cannot be denied; we were not born to get paid to do this.
In that mode of thinking, being creative all the time has little to do with time-clocks, artwork, even conferences or careers. It has everything to do with life and the process of actively, constantly finding better, more efficient and enjoyable ways living it in the time we’ve been afforded.
What do you think? And how do you think about your 24/7 creativity?
BTW: If you like Steve's riff, come hear more in his session on "Being a 24/7 Creative Pro" at the Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago, June 23-24, 2011. Early bird deadline has been extended to May 1. Details and registration here.