The Essence of Creativity

Photo by Pia Anttila

What is being creative about? Does it mean anything?


For me, a lot of it comes down to playfulness. You don’t have to be at your desk writing, or playing your instrument to be creative. It’s the time in between your ‘designated creative hours’ that really tests you.


How can you do your food shopping, clean your house, talk to your bank manager in a creative way?


What can you do in your everyday life to avoid simply going through the motions?


“I always make sandwiches with butter and jam. Today I’m going to switch it around.”


“I always walk this way home. Today I’m going to try a different route.”


One of my favourite examples is a mate of mine, who in order to liven up his house-cleaning pretends he’s a serial killer trying to ‘hide the evidence’. Brilliant. I love things like that.


My brother and I have lots of games we play like this when we’re out anywhere. Simple things sometimes, like deciding to walk up the stairs when we get out of the tube station, instead of taking the lifts. The lift just seemed like the easiest, most obvious, path of least resistance.


One day, I’ll be too old to take the stairs and so I’m going to do it now while we can.


I also love how other people creative in their own different ways. I remember one day I was walking down Oxford Street around sunset with a friend of mine. I was too lost in my own thoughts, or just looking at passing faces to notice, but she pointed out that the clouds in front of us had the shape of a camel.


I would’ve never noticed it without her, because I wasn’t looking, and I was just taking things as they were. Now there’s a time and a place for everything, but she was being more creative or imaginative than I was at that moment.


It’s about indulging your child and ignoring any part of you that says ‘you’re too old for that’, ‘that’s silly’, or what will other people think?



To me, the essence of creativity is in things like these examples. Looking at things differently than your habits dictate, how you interact with your surroundings, and negotiating your own reality.


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi


In other words, you ARE part of your own creative work. How you live is part of it.


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