Updated: Jul 25, 2019
If you want to go for the dictionary definition, it is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
Some people think it is the domain of artists, writers, poets and inventors, but creativity is simply a function of the brain - an ability to link existing knowledge, ideas and concepts into new patterns - and everyone is capable of it. It is often linked to artistic expression, but it may be expressed in the development of new and original ideas in any field.
Creativity is an essential skill to develop. A lot can be learned from treading well-worn paths made by people who have gone before and it would be foolish not to learn from the mistakes or successes of others. This might include following a recipe when you cook, copying the art of the great masters, and simply reading instructions. However, when you know the sensible realities and fundamental skills of any media, then real learning and innovation comes from testing boundaries.
It can be challenging to innovate.
Sometimes great ideas can translate into spectacular failures. However the greatest learning comes from both the successes and failures. Nothing useful was ever achieved by people who didn’t solidly try.
The best minds evolve from broad experiences. When you try new concepts, new neural pathways are forged in your brain - aspects of your brain literally expand. Opening your mind in this way stimulates your senses, adds to knowledge and experience and you become more available to new ideas.
Just like any other part of your body, well-rounded exercise for your brain will serve it well in terms of function and longevity.
I personally like to express my creativity through creating art. I like to paint and draw and create compositions that arise from my own mind purely creatively or compositions I formulate from compositions I make from my photography - another favourite creative outlet. My compositions are usually created using computer and hand design skills from many years as a graphic designer as well - I like to draw on the collective knowledge I have obtained from many areas. The more experiences and skills that I can draw upon to create something tend to create the best results.
To me, creativity equals joy. I like to challenge myself, to express myself, to create something unique in the world. Creating things not only makes me happy, but also exercises my brain so that I may perform better in other areas.
If you want to stretch out the creative side of your brain, forget about whether or not you have the skills, the tools, the time the money (or whatever excuse you may be harbouring) and find an outlet without thinking too hard.
Work with what you have, where you are. No-one has to see it, if that’s your desire. Write something, craft something, cook something, fix something, build something. Maybe you just want to create a beautiful space in your home, maybe you grow a plant - or a whole garden.
Don’t be afraid to test yourself with learning a new skill - read a book, jump on YouTube. Whatever the results are, it is a win for learning and your brain. You might learn that you don’t like something, and that another creative pursuit needs to be experimented with. You might open the door to a whole new world. Be open to all new experiences - there is no sadder thought than to recall a whole life lost in a blank blob.