As a songwriter, I must have asked myself this question a million times! After all, it is a reasonable query… People have debated this for years and so many experts have so confidently affirmed that our ability to think creatively declines with age and that our peak is actually childhood – as early as the age of 5! Apparently, the educational system sucks creativity out of us by conditioning our minds to solutions and to the way things just are! When a professor pauses a question, he trains us to reach the answer he already has because that is the only answer in the book… A simple exercise was conducted by asking a group of elementary school children what they could use a paperclip for… The children came up with more than a hundred answers whereas adults asked the same question could hardly come up with a few answers – up to 12 at the most because by adulthood logic takes over and the uses of a paperclip become relatively limited to what our experience has taught us!
Some people like to think otherwise… Particularly Edward de Bono – perhaps the only authority in the world on creative thinking otherwise known as lateral thinking – Google him! De Bono is a breath of fresh air really, especially when he notes how essential creativity is for overcoming obstacles and reaching one’s goals in life… Technically, resourcefulness and problem solving skills are part of the creative thinking process… Our ability to look at things differently and come up with “Outside the Box” answers and ideas! De Bono refers to creative thinking as a skill…
That definitely rings true… Look at artists! They start out creative and they continue to be for as long as they are in the habit of reinventing themselves over and over again with every single artwork they create… My view is that anyone who is challenged by constantly having to raise the bar and go back to the drawing board after every achievement is using their creativity… genuinely of course and not just by doing the same thing over and over again with minor tweaks and adjustments… The fact is, it’s a “Use it or Lose it” situation!
The ally to this pattern is change… the more we face constantly changing circumstances, the more blessed we are, for this is a guarantee that our minds are constantly stimulated to adjust to the new situation by challenging us into finding new ways and new solutions to deal with the new scenario!
Looking forward, I definitely am more confident that if you use it… You most certainly won’t lose it!
“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.” Edward de Bono