Creativity is 'the emergence in action of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of his life' Rogers (1)
There are many suggestions as to why, when, how and where creativity emerges from and through people's lives and lists of how to improve our creativity (eg 2). Here are some general impressions we formed about the emergence of everyday creativity
after reading this fantastic collection of stories.
1 Our everyday creativity can be applied to almost anything - we are very good at finding the affordances in our life for our creativity - it's a fundamental characteristic of being a person.
2 The source of creativity - our imagination that gives rise to new ideas, feelings and actions, can be provoked by almost anything. We are the ones that find interest, meaning and inspiration in our own experience. being open to our feelings enables us to be inspired by almost anything. Our imagination encourages and enables us to connect ideas that are not normally connected because they are ideas we care about and the product of connecting has personal meaning and significance to us.
Three mothers of our creativity
3 Necessity is the first mother of our creativity: for example when we are faced with a challenge or problem that requires us to be imaginative and resourceful or and we need to experience and experiment with something in order to learn.
4 The second mother helps us cope with adversity or physical/emotional disruption in our life. It helps us cope with dissonance and conflict drawing on the emotional turbulence that emerges from the circumstances of our life. Our creativity can also be an expression of care and love in such circumstances.
5 The third mother fulfils our desire to achieve more of our potential as a human being. There is within us an innate drive to develop and improve ourselves and our lives - Maslow's notion of self-actualisation (3). So we seek out new experiences and explore and experiment within these new circumstances to make our lives more interesting and in the process we enrich ourselves and our lives. We search for affordance across and through our life. We use our creativity to replace the predictability of routines with interest, uncertainty and excitement.
But some contexts and situations are better than others for our creativity
6 Within the circumstances of our life, some contexts and situations provide us with more affordance for creative self-expression and deep satisfaction, than others. These contexts connect to our interests which motivate us to engage. We immerse ourselves in these interest-driven contexts and in the process develop our skills, knowledge and talents and discover particular mediums that we enjoy. Effort is rewarded as we get good at whatever we are doing as we involve ourselves in the things that we care about and aspects of our creativity flourish. Our interest and passion driven creativity connects to our need to fulfil ourselves as a the person we are.
7 Circumstances change and sometimes a context or situation within which we are creative cannot be sustained. For example an injury or illness may curtail our ability to create. Although our circumstances might be limited our creativity will often find another medium or context for expression.
8 Perhaps the greatest demand for our creativity is found in contexts that are unfamiliar dealing with problems that we have never encountered before. In such situations we are forced to invent ourselves and our practices and we may have to be exceptionally resourceful using whatever is available in our immediate environment. Making do with whatever is available connects to necessity being the mother of invention.
Factors and conditions that influence our creativity
9 All sorts of factors can influence our creativity. Our parents and our upbringing can influence and inspire us to live a life of creative possibility, while for some people particular conditions like having time, being relaxed, exercising or drinking coffee in a favourite cafe, help them access their unconscious mind to liberate their ideas.
10 Most of our everyday creations go unnoticed and we do not require an audience for our creativity to be exhibited - we do it for ourselves. But we do derive pleasure and satisfaction from seeing others enjoy and or value our creations.
11 From time to time we might find ourselves in situations that we cannot get out of. Talking about our problems and challenges with sympathetic and engaged listeners can open new ways of thinking and opportunities for creative solutions and actions that are not available to us without their involvement.
12 Some creative idea require us to involve others and gain their buy-in to our creative project. In such circumstances creativity may lie in the orchestration and facilitation of the process whereby people can make their own contribution.
13 Creative moments can be remembered throughout our lives and they may have a lasting impact on us.By sharing our creations and our thoughts and feelings around our creations we can inspire others. In the Social Age blogs have become important vehicles for creative self-expression, for sharing our creations and inspiring others.
14 Finally, if we are to create a more creative society: a society in which every person's creativity is nurtured, encouraged and valued, then teachers have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the right sort of conditions, relationships, affordances and recognitions are available.
These are just a few of the themes to emerge from the collection of stories of everyday creativity in Lifewide Magazine #15. If you have a story to tell please share it with us so we can add to the collection.
(1) Rogers, C.R., (1961) On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
(2) Tay D., (2015) The big list of 51 hacks to improve your creativity
(3) Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation Psychological Review 50 (4) 370–96
Norman Jackson & Jenny Willis
Lifewide Magazine Editors