Creativity is not a domain for the chosen exclusive few individuals who do poetry, art, song and dance. Creativity is for everyone. We are all born creative.
In creche (kindergarten), most kids admit to being artists. In creche if you ask those who believe are creative to raise their hands, you are likely to get all the kids raise their hands. If you go to a corporate company and ask those who believe are creative to raise their hands, you will likely to get three or four people raise their hands.
What happened between the years when we were young and believing we are creative to the years when we go to work, follow instructions, doing what we are told and not believing in our creative spirit?
School happened, society happened, work happened and brainwashing happen.
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso
12 years of schooling has drummed out our creative spirit.
In Kindergarden, we had the most colour rooms, we worked and played in teams, we were encourage to communicate with others. To use various colours to express our creative spirits, we create stuff, we sang, we slept, we learned.
Then we left creche to start formal school. Then suddenly the rooms became less colourful, we now had this big black board in front of us, suddenly talking and working in group is outlawed, keeping quiet is the norm. We are no longer allowed to sing, to be creative, instead we are given textbooks and are supposed to follow it. The best student to follow the textbook correctly is now the brighest, we are no longer allowed to colour, instead we only use blue or black pen only, cyrons are no longer allowed.
Then we went to work, where you are now given your own cubicle, or office where you lock yourself the whole day. If you want something from someone sitting in the next cubicle, send an email, (you see in corporate it’s important to have audit trail, proof that you did request something.)
Just like school, in corporate we do what the boss told us, no need to be creative. The best person to follow rules and be obedient gets 5 rating in their performance reviews and gets a big bonus. The person who failed in trying something at work is usually shun. We are told to work in a team but instead we are measured as individuals.
People fight to get promotions because at least they get to tell other to follow rules. Unfortunately promotion is not about access to creative freedom. Creativity is replaced by “this is how we do things around here.” Promotion in such an environment is basically the right to tell others “this is how we do things around here” and at least getting paid more. Promotion is about getting paid more to tell others to follow rules, just like a class prefect who has to monitor the class and write down the names of noisemakers so that the teacher can punish them. Promotion is about maintaining and reinforcing the status quo, promoting the brainwashing.
If you look at the process from creche to work, no wonder we believe that we are not creative. 12 years of schooling and working life has been a process of eliminating our creative spirit and replacing it with being obedient and following rules.
Growing up we get caught up with conformity and hesitate to connect to our artistic and creative vision. The vision that commands our curiosity and inventiveness is suppressed.
This is what the industrial revolution is about, this how our parents grew up and how we grew up.
Its a double edged sword: on the one hand it was school and work that introduced uniform to keep order so that we can get more work done. But on the other hand uniform, uniformity, textbooks and standardised testing killed self expression and creative spirit.
But I believe that somewhere in our brain is a part that hasn’t been damaged by the Industrial World’s mindset. I believe that there is still a part of us that has not been affected by the effects of formal public education. That we can still bring back that sense of curiosity and willingness to adventure towards discovery and making a meaningful, creative impact on the world.
I believe that everyone is creative and that we can ignite that creative spirit hidden and suppressed by 12 years of schooling.
I believe that human beings are both logical and creative beings. I believe that to be a complete human being, you need to express both aspects of your life. Unfortunately the schooling and work system only appeals to one aspect only, the logical.
We are all creative, we all believed that when we were kids at creche, I think we need to revisit those kindergarden years as an ignition to our creative spirit.
The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them “grown up”.
The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of schooling, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying ways of the world.
The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child.