It wasn’t easy to manage creativity. The flashes of occasional insights used to be the last stage of a long process involving distinctive creative stages. The first stage used to be pre-empting the creative outbursts. The second, creative options for problem solving. The third, preparation for something altogether different – another more creative idea taking over the last creative idea. The fourth, options to deal with something altogether different. Did I realize that my own creativity was spent coping with my colleague’s creativity? Yes, that is one of the reasons I eventually left the organization. It was a free environment but in the hierarchy of creative order, my imagination could not roam free. It had to be a lot like the fire-fighters who follow fire.
But that brings me to the question whether all of us are creative or only a few are granted this delightful ability to innovate and imagine. I believe all of us are but some of us get caught in something like habitual fixedness. The day to day life does require a lot of order, unthinking responses and uncritical compliance. And this begins right from the formative years. There is a great danger of becoming so used to routinised way of thinking about practically everything. Because we are taught to look at the things in a particular way and have particular beliefs and so we see only the obvious way of coming up with questions, analyses and things to be created. We run into a situation where comfortable ways of thinking block innovation, deviation and imagination.
But it is not just the habitual fixedness, self-censorship and the pressure to be politically correct also suppresses thinking and an ability to see and create new ideas and things. It has the potential to make us a prisoner of what is deemed as ‘acceptable’. Actually even most creative people also have some or the other habitual fixedness or produce ideas and things along politically or socially acceptable norms. Creativity too is a matter of practice. I feel, it has to be acquired – constant mulling and pushing the mind to the limits is critical in order to step out of the box. Though some people go through this process and just when they are all set to come out and about, the fear of rejection hits and creative ideas and innovation are left in a permanent mental incubator.
Being alert and aware is not enough to be creative. The burden of realities may loom so large that every thought and every action may turn into a conscious exercise that may not allow ‘uncultivated creativity’ and beauty to surface at all. An alert mind, after all, is a calculating mind as well. It controls expressions, innovation and works of beauty from forming unpredictable associations. Without persistence to let go of the control by the mind, a random creative thought cannot be converted into a creative act or a creative creation.