Hello! If you found us here, please note that this is the 3rd in a series of posts on Shared Lessons In Creativity whose background is explained here. Click to read the first 2 topics, like not to weigh down your creativity with expectations (1), and how the more you explore creativity, the more there is of it to use (2).
Back when I was in middle school, I was obsessed with Bollywood music. I could, and still can, identify most film songs from the 60s through the 80s by just listening to the opening bars of the music. Like any teenager, I also listened to contemporary rock and pop music. In fact, I felt a joy when I listened to any kind of music. But I believed that it was enough for me to enjoy the music from the sidelines, and not make any attempt to get closer to it, for example, by taking lessons. I secretly believed that I had an affinity for music. Just not enough to actually pursue it. You see, I had already concluded I wasn’t the creative type (more on that here). It breaks my heart when I think how vulnerable we are as children, and how even as adults we divide ourselves into groups of ‘talented/creative’, ‘so-so talent/creative’ and ‘not creative or talented at all’. Because being creative is not about comparison.
I like to explore and express my creativity through photography, writing and drawing. That moment behind the lens of a camera when kaleidoscope-like views of patterns suddenly clink into place is magical. Or that moment when I write a sentence, and it conveys my emotion perfectly. I live for those moments because I am practically vibrating with joy. Does that mean that my photography, my writing or my art is awesome? My photography is fine, my writing is a little wordy, and I’m just getting started with my drawing. I practice them because I want to experience more of the meditative, living-in-the-moment feeling that these activities give me. It really has nothing to do with other people.
Some people may have an innate skill, talent, or ability such as an ear for music, a beautiful voice that can rise up more octaves than others, or an eye for color. Yes, it may give them an edge in a particular field, or at acquiring a skill. But that’s not what being creative is about. From all of my readings of Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, and many writers before them, and from my own life experiences, I think to be creative is to first be interested enough to show up, and be willing to learn. It’s the courage to try in spite of the threat of failure. It takes practice, effort, and time. It takes a positive attitude. All this sounds like so much work when all you need to do is focus on what brings you joy. It most definitely isn’t about comparison. In fact, in Roosevelt’s words, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts via email or leave me a comment. Sorry this post went up later than usual, I’d bit of a struggle with the words today. -Priya
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