You are already creative, just stop curbing it

You are already creative, just stop curbing it

Have you observed that children don’t limit themselves with tags such as creative, intelligent, analytical, introvert and so on? They are too busy living their potential, whatever that may be. We pick these labels up along the way towards adulthood. Not only do we develop pointless limits for ourselves, but we tag others too, including our own children. We ourselves may not be experts in what qualifies as creative, but we are quite sure when we compare one person to the other and say that she’s more creative than him.

As we grow up, these tags morph themselves into our personality. When we are told constantly that we are one way or the other, we slowly start believing it. Eventually we become a representation of our belief systems. Much later in our careers, we begin searching for ways to dig ourselves out of creative mediocrity – forgetting that we are already creative.

When I was in school, I often sketched and painted. My most meaningful accomplishment during my engineering was not in the classroom, but in my hostel. I moulded clay into a bust, rising from the name of our college, the photograph of which became the cover of our annual magazine. But once I got into the career bandwagon, I constantly curtailed myself from expressing creatively. I somehow believed that professional success was different from creative expression.

It took several years after college before I finally convinced myself to enroll into a marathon program in sculpture at the New York Studio School in the midst of a turning point of my business. Funnily, I was dealing with sculpture by day and company emails by night. Those few days completely changed how I saw myself and my abilities.

I came back to work with unrestrained creative energy, which found its way into all kinds of business decisions. As a company, we embarked on developing a mobile-based electronic health record platform even though we hardly had any experience in writing software. Today, the platform has become a robust health IT backbone for medical organizations, completing multiple certifications. More importantly, I love that our team now believes that we can build anything we imagine.

Creativity is inbuilt in nature. From rivers to mountains – everything is in a constant state of creation. A mountain melts to become a river, which brings rain that can sustain a forest. When you observe Chrysanthemum and the disorganized harmony of its leaves and flowers, you will easily notice that creativity has countless forms. It would seem absurd to think that the plant thinks of itself with creative cutoffs or would deliberate whether its evolution is scientific or artistic.

There seems to be energy in life that already knows how to express itself. It obviously exists in each of us – how would we otherwise be born with such unique traits? Yet, we think of creativity as the purview of the so called creatives.

There are many who traverse through life without letting this creative energy fully blossom. You limit your work with preconceived boundaries. How pure would your work be without them? Aren’t you curious to see what would happen if you simply allowed yourself to creatively express whatever you feel? What if pats-on-the-back wasn’t part of your big agenda?

It doesn’t matter how you express your creativity or the extent of your expression. It’s simply important that you nurture that energy and not curb it. If you love writing, write. If you love drawing, draw something every other day. If you love playing badminton, do that. You just have to be like that radish seller, whose story I heard a few years ago – he would arrange his vegetables in such a beautiful way that people felt compelled to buy them. Simply know that it’s impossible for you to not be creative. The only thing that would stop yourself from expressing your true potential is you.


Originally published on Economic Times,  by Praveen Suthrum, President & Co-Founder, NextServices. 

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