In my nascent quest to discover my inner creative streak, I stumbled across an article titled Introduction to Creative Thinking by Robert Harris. Mr. Harris explains that creativity is an ability, an attitude, and a process. I find his statements that creativity is an ability and a process to be intuitive, and I agree wholeheartedly. One of the most creative people I know swears up and down that she is not naturally creative and she constantly works at the processes that she relies on to bring out her talents. I was astonished to learn the dissonance in our perceptions of her abilities; however, I thought of this friend when I read Mr. Harris’ comments that creativity is process.
What really grabbed my attention and got me excited is the possibility that creative thinking can be an attitude. According to Mr. Harris, creative thinking is “the ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it. We are socialized into accepting only a small number of permitted or normal things, like chocolate-covered strawberries, for example. The creative person realizes that there are other possibilities, like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or chocolate-covered prunes.” What I realized upon reading this statement is that I have the ability to change my outlook and attitude by becoming more open to change, and challenging myself to do things in new (for me) ways in an effort to expand my horizons. My biggest personal struggle will probably have to do with a flexibility of outlook. I will admit that I like a good rut, and it is time to bust out of mine!
A good friend recently told me that she wants to be more like Hillary Rodham Clinton, and she made a very compelling argument on why I should join in on this bandwagon. No, I’m not going to try to go into politics (although, in the future law school is a possibility!). But Hillary has had an interesting, multifaceted career where she regularly leverages her strengths and challenges herself. She has been a lawyer, co-founder of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, sat on the board of directors for Walmart, served as a Senator and is now the Secretary of State. She has not accomplished all of these achievements by sitting by and letting life happen to her. I am confident that over the course of her career, she has been required to stretch the bounds of creativity and identify new and unique ways to utilize her skills or develop new ones.
Today I pledge to myself that I am going to work hard to cultivate an attitude of creativity. I look forward to seeing what is behind the doors that I encounter along the way.