Defining Creativity

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“If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there's some way to do it." - Walt Disney

Much remains to be uncovered when speaking about the science behind creativity. Is creativity hereditary? Is there a creative personality? When are we most creative? We will briefly discuss the answers to these questions.

Wolverine has been my favorite X-Men character since I was a little boy. One day, about two years ago, my best friend, Ryan, and I decided we wanted to paint. We ventured to the local Michael’s art supply store, grabbed our supplies (and of course paid for them!), then drove back to his apartment. Once we arrived, Ryan mastered a plan for us to create something great. He planned to paint a portrait of a friend and without hesitation I chose to paint Wolverine. Ryan then figured out how to break up into sections the printed piece of paper of our subject in a way that translated into the necessary sections on our canvas. To me, his idea embodied everything that creativity stood for – “to create meaningful new methods”. Had it not been for his genius idea, our paintings would not have come out so well.

This story led me to wonder where his creative abilities came from and to seek out answers to the questions we are about to discuss.

Is creativity hereditary? 

Johann Sebastian Bach, easily one of the greatest composers and musicians of all time, grew up in an exceptionally creative family. His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of town musicians, more than likely taught him violin and the basics of music theory, while his uncle Johann Christoph Bach, introduced young Johann Sebastian to the organ. According to an article by USA Today, “there were 20 other eminent musicians who hailed from the same (Bach) family.”

Science has yet to discover whether or not creativity is hereditary, but from what history shows us about many well-known composers, musicians, artists, et cetera, creativity appears to run in the family.

From a Biblical perspective, God created us in His own image. Our God exists as a very creative artist. Therefore, are we not by design, also creative?

“What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.” ― Johann Sebastian Bach

I challenge you this week to seek out your creative abilities or talents. What in life inspires you? What are you passionate about? What is something that you enjoy doing that feels natural? For Bach, music was his passion. He devoted his life to the one thing that inspired him most.

Is there a creative personality?

According to the same article mentioned above by USA Today, “Gifted people in the arts or science tend to enjoy adventure, and they often like to explore new places or ideas.” These same people are not keen to rules and are not driven by the norm of society.

Traveling inspires me. Not only that, but it affords me the opportunity to explore, be adventurous and seek out the unknown.

What does this mean for you? Seek adventure! Do something you wouldn't normally do that will allow your brain to free itself from daily distractions. This could mean taking a walk, a hike, a camping trip, or riding your bike. Find something that will involve you being around nature and all that embodies creativity.

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When are we most creative?

In the shower, of course! No really, I am being serious. Allow me to explain. When copious amounts of dopamine are released in our brains, this action triggers creative outpourings. One of these triggers happens to be a warm shower. Let’s be honest, if you are like me, you have thought of some magnificent ideas in the shower. Why is this? Because our brains are relaxed and not distracted. Research has also found that exercising and listening to your favorite tunes contributes to your creative moments.

What about reading? Has reading ever inspired you to create something marvelous? For me, when I read a book that really moves me, I find myself inspired to do something great or create something awe-inspiring.

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.” J.K. Rowling

Arguably one of the greatest authors of our time, J.K. Rowling appears to have a clear image of what creativity is. Creativity prevails as the power to imagine and the power to create what you have imagined.

How will you seek out the creativity that lies within you? What new adventures will you embark on to inspire yourself to imagine, dream, and create?