Yearning to create
I have a fluffy white Maltese-ish dog. Her name is Popcorn. I say ‘ish’ because she is a rescue dog and apparently, she is a mixed breed. She is super cute. I thought I adopted her, but it seems she has adopted me. I am her Person. She follows me everywhere. She is always at my heels. She hops in the car and rides with me wherever I go. She is so cute.
Listen to me! I am supposed to be a cat person, not a dog-person! And not a small-dog person! I don’t know how this happened.
If Popcorn gets shut out of my office somehow, she pines at the door. It’s a forlorn, melancholic sound. She just sits there and yearns, yelping quietly until she gets let in. Oh gosh, she is doing it now. Let me go and let her in…
When last did you last have that yearning feeling? (Not the small, craving, like the hankering after your favourite food, but the deep yearning of your soul.) Can you identify what you were yearning for?
Yearning is a kind of homesickness. It’s a deep longing. As humans we have a deep desire in our souls to create.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” Dieter Uchtdorf
Your brain is designed to create
“I’m just not the creative type!” Have you ever said this out loud or said it to yourself in your head? It is not true. You may be referring to artistry. Maybe you are not (currently) good at drawing stick figures. Your brain is designed for creativity. Saying, “I am not creative” is like saying, “I am not made for exercise.” Perhaps you are not fit right now but this doesn’t mean that you can’t train your muscles, work out, and get fit!
Have you got doubts? I understand. Let’s pour ourselves a coffee and sit down together for a little chat. Just you and I. Are you ready? Here we go.
You: I’m too old to learn new ways of doing this. This is how I am and how I think.
Me: Unless you have a brain illness, deciding not to learn something new is a decision not a condition. You get new brain matter to work with every single day. It’s a case of use it or lose it. This is called neurogenesis. In 2019, researchers found new brain matter in the brain of an 87-year-old.
You: I know I don’t think creatively and that’s that.
Me: Perhaps you are right in saying that you don’t think creatively now. But you can change your brain by how you think. Your brain is capable of neuroplasticity meaning you can build and reinforce new neural pathways. It’s like modifying and enhancing the engine of a car. You get a whole new level of power and output from the same machine.
You: I mean it. I don’t have a creative bone in my body.
Me: Maybe you’re not an artist, but this doesn’t mean you are not creative. Your brain is an association machine. It is a network of around 80 billion neurons than can make trillions of connections. Leonardo da Vinci’s formula for developing the creative mind revolved around his Principle of Connection. Da Vinci said, “Everything comes from everything, and everything is made out of everything, and everything returns into everything.” Every brain has the capacity to use neural connections to come up with insights such as Leonardo’s extraordinary insights which became the foundations of much of modern science.
You: If my brain is so brilliant, why is creativity so hard?
Me: Creativity does take effort. Your brain is designed mainly to conserve energy, which is why we program things into autopilot. It’s also more sensitive to threat than to reward. Creativity is threatening. It’s risky. You don’t know the outcome. You have to step out with courage, curiosity and perseverance. This takes extra energy. If you don’t deliberately decide to be creative, your brain will typically choose to go with what it knows, to stay put, to stay inside the box, to keep schtum. The Bible is filled with verses about renewal and perseverance.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t you’re right.” Henry Ford
I’m having this coffee chat with you because what you believe about your creativity is really important.
It’s time to venture into new territory
I love trekking through the African bush. Its easiest to follow well-trodden paths made by animals. This is like the thought patterns in our brains. However, we can also beat new paths and explore new territory. It’s possible. It just takes more energy. Our brains prefer to take the easy route, but they have the capability to ‘bundu bash’ , which is to take an untrodden path.
Sometimes we need to to bundu bash in-order-that we can move beyond the familiar trails around our camp and venture forth into new territory. What new territory will you venture into ?
If you would like to chat to us about developing creativity, including helping your team to venture into new territory, contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nina Pearse is a creative educator with a vision to transform business and society by helping people tap into their creativity. She believes that all humans are inherently creative. As co-founder of Creativity Wake-Up, her passion and purpose is to inspire and equip people to imagine, and bring into being, creative solutions to challenges, opportunities and everyday life.
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