A hidden talent for creativity?

Lots of people characterize themselves as lacking creativity and then feel envious of those who display more talent. Plenty of teachers wish their students demonstrated more creativity. Countless managers want their charges to solve problems with more ingenuity. Most taxpayers wish their government services, legislators and military would think outside the box of worn-out premises. oodles of customers wish their salespeople would apply more creativity providing service and satisfaction. In short, there appears to be a real problem with a talent for creativity getting hidden, repressed or damaged.

It's very tempting to approach this issue as a dichotomy: creativity is either hidden or apparent, repressed or expressed. Either/or diagnoses like these feed the problem and lack creativity in themselves. We are seeing a lack of creativity when we are lacking creativity in our approach to a hidden talent. We get to be right about having a problem to solve while missing out how ways the problem disappears in the wink of an eye. This situation calls for more creativity.

What-if creativity appears with perfect timing? Creativity is inherently destructive to some aspect of the status quo and disruptive to complacency. Assumptions get up-ended and beliefs get contradicted. There's a time for this destruction to occur and a time for stability and order. What-if creativity appears when the time is right for dismantling something, and disappears when it's time for commitments and persistence? Then hidden talents are a sign of the times. The absence of creativity reveals the presence of consistency. A lack of creativity is a lack of mayhem, chaos and disorder. There's no problem, only well-timed solutions and a continual balance between both possibilities.

What-if creativity only appears where it belongs? Creativity is essential to survive and thrive is changing situations. Genetic mutations are creative adaptations to changing habitats. Business innovations evolve with transforming markets. People reinvent themselves when faced with unforeseen opportunities. Creativity appears where it's called for by a discontinuity in more-of-the-same, business-as-usual, tried-and-true circumstances. What-if creativity also disappears in circumstances where it does not belong? When organisms are going extinct, they persist with a flawed survival strategy. When businesses are falling by the wayside, they follow their fears that try harder at what used to succeed. When individuals feel victimized by layoffs or industry-wide job-loss, they feed their misery with mood-altering addictions. There's no problem with creativity, only problem situations where it does not belong.

What-if creativity only comes between a pair of opposites? Creativity comes about when someone wants to give and another wants to receive. Innovations come to mind when we know what needs to be done but not how to do it. Creativity enters a situation where there is a space between opposing stances for reconciliation, forgiveness and win/win solutions. New ideas appear in collaboration where it's "good for us", "what we need to succeed" or "in our best interests". What-if creativity cannot appear when we work in isolation or act selfishly? Creativity cannot come about when aiming to control, fix or diminish other people. Innovations elude the enterprise that has no sense of community, context and connections to countless constituencies. There's no problem with hidden talents, only problems with "holding the tension of opposites".

What-if creativity is always unstoppable? We are always creating our experiences with our selective perceptions and framing them with our subjectivity. We are continually attracting the people and situations that provoke us to think, feel and do things of value. We cannot stop creating something different from the last time we saw this, showed up here or took on this challenge. What-if we creativity only appears stoppable when we're dreaming that physical life is real and life-in-spirit is imaginary? When we're awake to what's real, we see creativity occurring everywhere all-the-time. When we're delusional, distracted or dreaming, we misread the evidence and mistake what appears to be true. There's no problem with creativity, only problems with realizing what's really happening in dimensions that our five senses cannot detect.

If anything of these what-if possibilities fit the facts of your situation, then framing the problem as "a hidden talent for creativity" is a game of pretending. There's no real need to make-believe that creative abilities are hidden when its timing is perfect, it appears where it belongs, it emerges between opposites and stops for no one.


  1. Good post!

    "What-if creativity only appears where it belongs?"

    Often creativity comes when it's not welcomed. Things break down — at the worst possible time — and you have to fix them. For example, your pipes burst and you have to think of alternative ways to stop the flow.

    What's important is to shit from the "Oh shit!" mindset to the "I gotta think of alternatives" mindset, and possible create some new approaches.

  2. Thanks for adding to this Roger!
    I agree the shift to creativity can seem unwelcomed, given our love of pity parties, drama queens and hysterics. The situation that calls for creativity can also be very unwelcomed. Yet in either, it seems to me like creativity belongs there, while the flood does not.

    The situation of flooding from burst pipes is a TIME for destruction of "more of the same flow" with creative alternatives, an evolutionary pressure to MUTATE from what's been taken for granted up until now and a tension of OPPOSITES between "got a flood" and "want the space to be dry, safe, under control" without knowing HOW to get to the goal until creativity kicks in.

    I suspect that switching to the "gotta think of alternatives" mindset is almost impossible in a panic, and very likely with a detached frame of mind. The playfulness of your illustrated books, cards and ball of whacks are great ways to get detached.