“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
Mary Lou Cook
How does it work?
If you are anything like me, you are curious about the things around you and what makes them work. As a child, you probably took your toys apart trying to understand how they worked and what made them tick. Anything from animals and nature to man-made things. In the beginning, it was more of taking the things apart and not so much putting them back together again. But with time I got better and better at putting the “things” back together. Sometimes I even managed to repair them when they broke.
In a way, I admire a person that spends years and years, or even a whole life to learn everything on a specific subject. They become a narrow specialist, a person over-specialized in one subject. You can find them in art, music, sport and just about everywhere else. But you won’t find me in that category. Sure, I can devote my time and energy on a single subject for a length of time, but eventually, I get bored and switch to something else for a while. If you were to ask a skilled farmer about the benefits of crop rotation, he will tell you that if you let the field lie fallow for some years, you don’t deplete the soil. You avoid plant-bound pests and diseases to take hold. As a metaphor, that’s how I feel about rotating my focus of interest. After some time the subject feels fresh and interesting again.
But no matter where my focus lies at the moment, I always want to know how it works and, “what if” I did it in another way. You won’t find any blissfully unaware specialists. Too much knowledge on a subject can sometimes stop you from trying something different. As Mary Lou Cook said, it’s about having fun. If it’s not fun it becomes a chore, something you do just because you have to. But by breaking rules you have to be prepared to make mistakes. And if the mistakes are too frequent and too many you can just let it sit for a while and do something else.
What if you don’t try it?
Don’t misunderestimate the power of ignorance. Don’t let that stop you from trying something you have not tried before. Too much knowledge on a subject can sometimes hinder you from going forward. If you are blissfully unaware you can do things that seem impossible to someone with knowledge. If nothing else, you learn what works and what doesn’t work.
So be creative, experiment, grow, take risks, break some rules, make mistakes, and most importantly have fun while you’re doing it.
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