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Nurturing The Creativity Spark Within

Creativity comes in many forms- and there are even classes/ courses/ books that teaches people how to develop them.

Most people associate creative people as dreamers. Let’s name a few creative people:

  • Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison are creative people. They daydream of what they want to create- Einstein dreamt of riding on a beam of light. Many of the world’s most famous inventors are people who broke out from the norm and created history.
  • Famous creative people like Jimmy Choo makes lots of money from doing the things they love.

There may come a time in your life when you felt the spark of creativity lights up your heart. Do you nurture it or mercilessly trample?

At the height of my Form 6 examination pressure, the creativity spark first struck me. There I was, trying my best to cram the boring texts into my overloaded brain when suddenly, instead of scientific formulas, visions of beautiful beaded and ribbon hair clips appeared in my mind. Desperately needing a break, I retreated into my own little world, producing detailed and creative hair clips. Making hair clips took my mind away from the worries of exams. Those early work were very detailed and until today, it is not easy for me to replicate them. That took a lot of stress off. I approached my books with a more refreshed mind and I did manage to pass all papers.

Craft remained my favourite hobby for many years. When I was working on shifts a few years back, I find comfort making hair clips from ribbon roses while watching MTVs. I felt contended and happy, making clips of various designs and colours. Most often, the hours just go by unnoticed. Later, amateur web design became my interest. I started a website in 2002: www.geocities.com/yteing initially to post my work online after being inspired by other crafters. After which, I was engrossed with the world wide web and improving my site with the limitations that I have (technical knowledge and money)- that’s another form of creativity at work.

To me, creativity seems to occur in a ‘flow’ state. It’s hard for me to describe but from the initial process of conceptualisation/visualisation to the final stage of ready made product/results comes almost smoothly in a ‘flow’ state. If you have the habit of nurturing that ‘flow’ in you, by dabbling in creative hobbies in your free time, you’ll find the ‘flow’ become quite natural in other aspects of your life. So when you are presented with a difficult problem at work, your creativity helps you to search out of the box for a solution. When presented with a challenge, you learn to work with your limitations and achieve results. You are no longer limited by logical and deductive thinking.

Creativity should not be only associated with arts and craft. I had a Physics tuition teacher- she has genuine love for physics. Her idol is Richard P. Feynman and her dream was to enter California Institute of Technology (Caltech). But because physics don’t exactly pay well in Malaysia or go down well with ambitious but poor parents, as an eldest child, she was forced to take up more popular courses- she finally settled for engineering. But because she loved Physics so much, she gave tuition- her schedules were almost one of a superhuman. She had a very demanding day job as an engineer- and she taught Physics tuition always every evening with back to back classes that goes past midnight. You give her any difficult problems, in fact, she never uses textbook or local reference book- when we were Form 6, we were using Fundamentals of Physics textbook for Amercian first year Engineering students. Sometimes, our classes ends only at 2am and we had school the next day. And she still have to rush to the next batch of students. She told us that she’s lucky if she can catch 4 hours of sleep.

What I remembered most about her is her infectious passion for Physics- she even made many of us like the formidable topic. And if you study the real physics textbook, most of the questions asked requires not only knowledge, but creative problem solving skills. If there was any question that a student wanted to know, she always had the answer. She always think out-of -the box.

Sorry to say but I personally think a lot of courses on creativity out there are full of crap. In university, I have attended a so-call creative thinking course that talked about theories from Edward de Bono. I have attended 2 courses when I was working on how to think creatively. What it seems to me is that all the instructors are trying to theorise the concept of creativity- and most of the time, I do not find participants any wiser after that.

I have to admit that I have a bad habit of asking deep probing questions to gauge the skill of the instructor. Last year my boss sent me to a 2 day course that was supposed to teach someone to be creative. Naturally yours truly did not hesitate to post some challenging question related to thoughts and experience. When the instructor could not answer my questions well, I decided not to waste my time showing up the next day- since I have lots of work at office to complete. Anyway, after that course, I begged my boss not to send me to soft skill course anymore. Technical courses like courses on computers, are better- at least I know I will benefit from it.

Therefore, my heartfelt wish to you is that- allow yourself to be creative. If you love painting, writing, craft work, cooking, photography, etc, make time n your busy schedule. If you try to kill off the spark every time it arises, constantly switching to logical and analytical/critical left-brain thinking, something inside your heart dies too. Teach your kids from young to be creative.

Everything we does are interconnected. The creativity and genuine interest that you put in when you dabble in your favourite craft or dishes will influence your problem solving skills and ability. And you don’t have to take a course in creativity to ‘force’ yourself to be creative.

Instead you just may want to consider taking a course on your favourite hobby. You’ll end up nurturing that creativity spark within- because genuine love and passion for something always bring up the best and most creative side of you.

Anyone know of any good cake decorating classes?

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