We’ve all heard this word — creativity. It is used in everyday vernacular, and is included in the conversation about how to best educate today’s students. We are told and we tell our students that the mark of a successful person in today’s job market is creativity. Or at least it’s one of them. Employers want creative employees who can think outside of the box and tackle problems with fresh, new approaches and solutions. That means creativity is precious and must be cultivated because we all possess an innate creativity in some form or fashion. It means that creativity is valued and encouraged no matter what. Right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
“Inside the Box” is an article by Jessica Olien in the online publication Slate. In it, she calls us to the mat about our generally poor treatment of the creative process and creativity in general. While I’m not entirely sure how the business world treats creativity, I know that there are teachers and educational institutions out there that grow and develop creativity. In fact, there are some institutions that are entirely dedicated to that task. However, the process it takes to bring a creative idea to fruition is often frustrating and off-putting. It shows failure. It rocks the boat. Not small swell kind of boat rocking. Full blown Perfect Storm boat rocking at times. The bigger the idea and creative backing, the bigger the change often required. That can shake some people and cause some resentment.
Be that as it may, I find Jessica’s parting words to be very inspirational and focusing. When you are rejected, or when you face opposition, that can be a very telling sign that you are in the throws of the creative process. Let it serve to spur you on and encourage your efforts. As Jessica says, “To live creatively is a choice.” To support and sustain it must be a choice as well.