The $1,000,000 Question: Where Does Creativity Come From?

As a creative individual, I occasionally ask myself, “Where does creativity come from?” So like any rational-thinking person, I googled it. Of course, I found many articles with that exact question as their title:

Where Does Creativity Come From?

I spent a little time reading through some of the articles to discover they all had different answers to the question. Some were scientific. Others were religious. Some were methodic. Others were personal. In short, I deducted that nobody really knows where creativity comes from. Still, I felt compelled to write yet another blog post about it.

Asking where creativity comes from is like asking where God lives. Nobody really knows. Some say God lives in an abstract place called heaven. Some say God doesn’t exist at all but within the believer’s mind. Others say that God does exist and lives within us. I don’t have the answer. This is just another blog post.

1. Redundancy Can Lead to Creativity

Have you ever done the same thing over and over? Imagine, before automation, being the guy working in the factory who had to paste labels on jars. You do the same thing repeatedly. One day you decide to put a label on upside-down just to change things up. Your boss yells at you, but you just did something creative.

This might be just another blog post about creativity. I might not tell you anything you don’t already know. My conclusions may be the same old conclusions about the creative process. But it might also be a link in the disciplined and redundant act of writing that leads to my next creative breakthrough.

2. Distraction Can Lead to Creativity

Studies have found that we become more creative when we are distracted. This goes against the stereotype of the artist or writer locking himself or herself in their room in absolute silence and concentration.

Creative ideas are not born in a bubble. They are born out of experience. Life is not all neat and organized. It’s full of distractions. I’ve discovered that it’s often in the midst of life’s distractions that creative ideas come to me. So as I sit here, focused on writing another blog post, my creativity could actually be at a low. But tomorrow, when I have 16 things going on and I’m distracted by something I notice out of the corner of my eye: Presto! Creativity strikes.

3. Being Tired Can Lead to Creativity

People often mistakenly believe that our minds must be fresh and renewed to be creative. That could help, but again, there’s been proof that being tired can actually trigger creativity.

Think about it. Dreams come with sleepiness. Dreams tap into our deep psyche and imagination. A partial-sleep state can lead to lucid dreaming. Lucid dreams can trigger creative thoughts. It’s the perfect recipe for creativity.

So, I’m writing another blog post early in the morning while I’m wide awake. I’m thinking rationally and logically. Therefore, the blog post is written less from my creative mind and more from my rational mind. You might say that makes the post less creative.

But tonight, as I’m drifting off to sleep, some great lines for a song or an idea for a new story might suddenly pop into my head. This is why great writers and songwriters suggest keeping a pen and notepad on the nightstand. I’ve had some of my most creative thoughts come to me in dreams.

4. New Experiences Can Lead to Creativity

I know I just said that creativity can come from redundancy. That’s true. But new experiences stimulate our minds. Traveling to new places. Reading about new ideas. Learning new skills and hobbies. Anything novel can increase your creative palette.

I’m a writer and musician at heart. But I’m a teacher by profession. Many times, my research for teaching has led to creative ideas. I also enjoy photography, videography, interior design, landscaping, and much more. I may not be an expert at any of these skills, but they all add to my overall creative being.

But We Still Haven’t Answered the Question

Where does creativity come from?

Of course we haven’t. Nobody really can. We can all take stabs in the dark all night long. We can make educated guesses. I can offer my personal opinion. I’ve just given you four situations in which creativity can come:

  • Redundancy can lead to creativity.
  • Distraction can lead to creativity.
  • Being tired can lead to creativity.
  • New experiences can lead to creativity.

I could go on. I could give dozens of examples of life situations and circumstances that have sparked creativity for me: love, grief, hard times, excitement, nature, people, animals, a speck of dust drifting through a beam of light.

The answer is simple.

Creativity Comes from Everywhere

So, I’ve written another blog post about creativity. Maybe it’s helped you in some way. Maybe it’s even sparked a creative idea for you. But don’t limit yourself to seeking creativity in any one place.

Creativity comes from life. It is everywhere. It is omnipresent. Your job is not to search for it, but to harness it. Creativity is already here. The goal of the artist is to let that creativity flow through your senses and into the world.

Just Another Blog Post About Creativity

So I’ve written yet another blog post about creativity. Perhaps next month, I’ll actually post something creative: a poem, a story, a song. But in the meantime, I’d like to leave you with a few links to videos about where creativity comes from.

I encourage you to watch these videos. I think you’ll be inspired. And inspiration is yet another place where creativity comes from.

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