How do we help people unlock creativity?
A search that unearthed a surprise
“Arggghhh!” The farmer clenched his fists and cried out in frustration. He’d lost a hammer in his field and was wasting precious time looking for it. Not that the hammer itself was so precious but it was solid enough to do damage to his machinery should it be ridden over. When he rang up a friend with a metal detector, neither of them were aware of the turn the day would take.
The friend set off into the field and began to scan the ground. After some time, the alarm sounded and he started to dig, thinking that he had uncovered the hammer. Instead, he pulled up an ancient gold coin. Wha? More digging. More coins and some jewellery. Flummoxed and thrilled in equal measure, he called the farmer and they dug together. They could not believe their eyes. Could it true? Was this real? What they had unearthed was a true treasure trove!
This is the true story of farmer Peter Whatling and his friend Eric Lawes. In 1992 they found what is now known as the Hone Hoard: 24 bronze coins, 565 gold coins, almost 15 thousand silver coins, and nearly 200 silver and gold pieces of jewellery and tableware dating back to around A.D. 408. It is largest cache of late Roman gold found anywhere in the Roman Empire. The chests it was buried in had long since disintegrated, though the locks were found. Once properly excavated by archaeologists, a finder’s fee of GBP1.75 million was paid to Whatling and Lawes, and the treasures were sent to the British Museum. The hammer, too, was found and is displayed alongside them.
Your creative potential like a buried treasure
Human potential is like a buried treasure. When neglect it or are unaware of it, it will lay there under the ground, unnoticed and unutilised. Creative potential operates in this way too. To use your creative potential, you need to be aware of what you are capable of (or at least, be aware of what is possible), find it, dig it up and get it working for you. It’s not magic!
Imagine that your creativity is a precious oil lamp. It is made of gold and is decorated with delicate patterns and engravings. When it is filled with good oil, it burns brightly and merrily, lighting up everything around it. At night it can been seen from a long way away.
Perhaps your lamp is in constant use. You draw on your creativity all the time and your lamp is always burning. However, there are times when your lamp sputters and flickers. Sometimes the flame goes down very low. Your oil runs out. You feel depleted and your creative mind draws a blank. You need to learn to keep your lamp topped up with oil.
Maybe your lamp is buried. It could be under a covering of dust or it could be deep underground. In this case, creative thinking and creative pursuits have been suppressed over time under the weight of deliverables, to-do lists, bills, other people’s expectations, failures, worries or fears. Or all of the above! If this resonates with you, you may find yourself feeling a kind of deep fatigue that you can’t shake off, a restlessness,emptiness or a vague dissatisfaction with the world. You may have a sense of someone you wanted to be or a life you wanted to live once that has evaporated away into a dream, leaving you plodding on a seemingly inexorable path. It’s time to dig out that lamp!
Our Creativity Development Process
At Creativity Wake-Up, we have crafted and tested a simple but powerful creativity development process. This four-step process involves digging out, cleaning off, filling up and lighting your creative ‘lamp.’ It looks linear but is actually circular, as you keep repeating the process in different areas of your creativity throughout your life. There is no limit to your creative potential and no arrival point where you can say: ‘Now I am creative, and I’ll stop here.’
Regardless of where your lamp is now, it is good to begin at the beginning and dig out what creativity means to you, how your creativity has been influenced and what your early creative dreams are.
Creativity is both a mindset and skillset. It can be developed like any muscle. If there is anything worth developing in this crazy world today, it is creativity!
To help you get digging, here are questions to ponder:
- What do I believe about my creative potential?
- How did my parents or guardians influence me regarding creativity?
- Were my creative thoughts and outlets nurtured at home or at school?
- Do I understand the power of creative thinking in my life today?
- Where am I using creativity at work? How about at home?
- Where could I use more creativity in my life?
- When last did I feel in the creative zone, when time just flies and joy is sparked?
We’re here to help
Look out for more from us on how to step through this simple process. Why take our 5-day Creative Wake-Up online course which will guide you through this process with video lessons and exercises that you can do in your own time. Better yet, find a friend, and do it together — an accountability partner is a powerful ally in any learning process and in the creativity development process in particular!
We’d love to hear what treasures you unearth. Tag us on social @creativitywakeup or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.