MAGNIFY Magazine | Let yourself go
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Let yourself go

Creatives aren’t just a ‘type’. Ever wondered how you can be more creative? Yosola Olorunshola in this post examines what creativity really is.

Nowadays, we’re all creative. We can condense our thoughts into 140 characters like poets. We can get out our smartphones and instantly capture a moment in the grainy light of Instagram. Anybody can publish their life story on a blog, or simply on Facebook. So how do we spot a creative genius in this day and age?

Creativity is difficult to pin down. Certain individuals are believed to possess it in differing quantities. It’s something elusive, and often exclusive. It seems you either have it, or you don’t.

But is that true? It feels like everybody wants to carve out their own slice of creativity – it’s not difficult to find an artistic outlet, however small. Trying to see the world in an original way, we look for new and exciting places to visit or things to do or eat so that we can blog about them and make them our own.

And there’s nothing wrong with this. In his talk on Creativity the actor and comedian John Cleese, of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python fame claims that:

‘Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.’
So, some people can sing great songs, some people can write great books and some people can design great computers. But creativity is not just about the ‘things we create’. It’s about the way we look at things and the way we go about making them.  Creativity is a process. It’s about the steps that lead to an end product – whether that’s an object, an idea, or even just a decision.

There is no formula, but it does require one key ability – the ability to let yourself go.

Let yourself go and look

Look for the unexpected. Curiosity killed the cat apparently, but not the human. In fact, it saves lives – penicillin was discovered by accident. In the words of Steve Jobs,

‘Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.’

Creativity isn’t really about you being particularly special. It’s simply about what you notice – the things that catch your eye.

Let yourself go and have fun

Creativity is a form of play – you play with an idea and wait for it to surprise you. Acting against the monotony of routine, it allows us to mess around and not take ourselves too seriously for a while. The jazz musician Duke Ellington explains his secret:

‘I began by tinkering around with some old tunes I knew. Then, just to try something different, I set to putting some music to the rhythm that I used in jerking ice-cream sodas at the Poodle Dog. I fooled around with the tune more and more until at last, lo and behold, I had completed my first piece of finished music.’

Creativity lets us improvise to come up with something unique.

Let yourself go and take a risk

But life isn’t all fun and games. When a child is playing, climbing a tree or something, there’s a possibility they might get hurt. It would be great if there were no cuts and scrapes along the way, but this isn’t always possible. Still, this doesn’t mean the view from the top of the tree isn’t worth it, right?

Creativity is difficult to define, but not that difficult to find if we just let go. What do you do to be creative? We’d love to hear your thoughts and find out what inspires you to think differently!