And thats a question I am always asked. What is creativity ? What is the creative act ? What defines you differently from others if you are defining yourself as creative ?
Well .. let me say upfront .. The creative person is not born different. Every child is creative. They satisfy everything that would define creativity. They are constantly observing. They are constantly exploring. They are not taking anything as a given. Everything is new and not prejudiced by experience.
Lets get deeper ..
They do not condition the experience of the now, of this moment by prejudices built upon past experiences. Nor are they projecting the past into the future. The future is to be explored unfettered by memories ..
And most importantly ..
They will take the next step forward .. not knowing what will happen .. if they fall they will still take the next step forward .. how else will they learn to walk ? They are not afraid to explore the unknown ..
Now you may say they need to learn. That the skills they develop over time, to depend on the experiences of the past to project the future are mere survival skills .. or they will constantly skid on the proverbial Banana Peel. Of course.
Yet I could define creative people as those that hold on to that child like quality. Those that that retain an ability to explore the unknown. Those that do not allow the past experiences to prejudice their decision making or their exploration of new ideas, of new thoughts. New discoveries or explorations into new horizons.
We do get called dreamers. We do get called stupid. We do get called impractical ( to the normal world we are). We fall in love all too easily. We chase thoughts and dreams all too easily and like children we fall over and get hurt all the time. But we still chase dreams for they are bigger than the hurt .. I cant imagine a child not trying to walk if it gets hurt a few times ..
We gloss over the practicalities of life and somehow believe that the Universe ( and indeed God, for those of us that believe in it) is on our side .. even if all practical evidence points to the an interpretation that its not !!
So what makes us different .. what makes us (in other people’s eyes) irresponsible .. ? What makes us revel in uncertainty and be provoked by the adventure of the unknown ?
Enough for today .. let me have your thoughts and I will continue later .. love to you all .. for thats what we creative people hold on to most .. the idea of love .. we search for it all the time ..
29 thoughts on “That uncertain Act of Creativity 1”
Pranaam! Shekhar ji
Very well crafted. I know it’s one of your favourite topic. Love the way you describe – simple words and so clarity.
Yes,agreed.. every child is creative and unique. Nobody is born uncreative, but we make them uncreative. We destroy creativity by imitating others and never wants them to think for themselves or create their own paths in life. School education actually limits creativity more than anything else. It is solely focused on how well one can cram and memorize things.
As you define creative people as those that hold on to that child like quality. You are absolutely right – creativity is the quality that we bring to the activity we are doing. It is an inner approach – how we look at things. It needs fearlessness, and playfulness. Whatsoever we do, if we doing it joyfully, lovingly, it is creative.
Looking forward for the next one. Your happiness means to us, so as your health.Take care..Await patiently for the next art of yours.
This is Tarique Hassan from Delhi. I do not know if i am creative or not the only thing i know about my self is what you mentioned above.
Yes indeed i am a Deamer,Stupid and Impractical. and i like it this way, cant help to change myself. All my life i have been chasing my dream and still doing it…..But its very difficult to protect your inner child when you are surrounded by normal people. I mean to normal people are those who think life’s success is a well setteled life or in bollywood those thinks that 100 crore film is success for them.
My defination for success is to constantly fighting, chasing and learning from your failures and rejections are a true meaning of success in life.
An act of creativity is equal to stupidity for normal people.
So when i wanted to study acting instead of regular college normal people thought i am stupid,when i wanted to go to USA for study despite not knowing the english language at all, normal people thought i am an insane,when studied acting in New York and was on my work visa i went to los angeles and knocked on warner bros & universal studios for acting job, everyone thought i have gone insane. When i spent couple of years in Bombay tried to make it in Bollywood but was not able to do it,and decided to leave and do theatre in Delhi,normal people in thought i have wasted years in New York and making mistake by leaving so soon. I left because i wanted to protect my inner child and did not want to become corrupt and insecure about others who makes it in the business.
Yes indeed i am a failure in front of normal people but i am glad that there are people like Mr Shekhar Kapur who thinks that a childlike behavior and stupidity is an act of Creativity. Thank you so much sir.
Respected sir, your writing has touched the deep core in my heart today,things are just coming out from my system bcoz lately i am very sad of my surroundings,i am getting far away from most of the people including blood relations 🙁
Love and respect
Thank you so much Shekhar ji for sharing such interesting post. As always, love to read again and again.
To be creative, you don’t need to know if what you’re doing is right. Just love to do..enjoy…allow energy to flow… Uncertainty is integral to creativity. One becomes more divine as becomes more creative.
This is really sweet of you for allowing me to express my thought in your own space. Love you!
sir I sometimes found good ideas from children’s innocence and ignorance .
also i feel feel it can be by associating,questioning,exploring,networking.
most important is thinking like a child .
thanks for ur gud wrds-akhil
People around creative people behave as if you have got some chemical locha inside your brain. Creativity lies in simplicity of life.
Creativity of consciousness means to reveal or make the things not used in the past or being used in present by man and society
To design the shoes furniture cloth
Car or house …..is not a creativity
Few of my observation:
Oblivious of Reality
“Being considered crazy by those who still are victims of cultural conditioning is a compliment”-Jason Hairston, Healing artist
I have not chimed in for a long time but I want to make it a habit again to contribute to the kind of discourse that you have this incredible gift to initiate.
The earliest growing-up phase of a child bears an incredible importance for its development as an adult. There can be factors that inevitably stunt growth and there are environments that promote gifts that would otherwise remain hidden, rarely to be unearthed in later life. Let me be more specific: It is a known fact that a child receiving unconditional love, affection and infinite patience will create more brain cells, will have greater courage to face that daily onslaught of new and often scary impressions. It is also known that the frequency of synapses that serve as signal transmitter between neurons is accelerated in children that are fortunate to grow up with parents who not only love their children but also love each other.
Thus, when the soil for inner growth is fertile children who are raised in such an environment will have been given the tools to ascend to the maximum heights they are naturally able of attaining. How is it then possible that those children who grew up in broken homes and poisoned relationships of their parents can attain the same heights or rise even beyond those children who were handed all the tools to live a fulfilling life?
Some of the greatest and most incredible writers who shaped philosophies that millions of people are trying to live by have had horrible childhoods, marred by hatred, conflict and a total absense of love and affection. I dare say that these children grew up with an inner strength that none of the ones that received love and affection could attain. When they reached adulthood they were steeled by having coped with powerful adversity that made them transcend fear of rejection and failure. It gave them the tools to do the unconventional, the unexpected. It allowed them to grow strong when others gave in to self-doubt and self-loathing. It instilled in them the courage to rise to heights others were afraid to climb to. They accepted the possibility of falling into an abyss that with all its horror has an aspect of the alluring, the enticing, even the seductive.
We, who have lived a life that was never free of risk, who have consistently reached for the brass ring, who have lived in our own universe, always striving for the immediacy of the now, never wanting to know what the goal line looked like but rather to be beguiled and mesmerized by the journey to get there would never want to have it any other way.
Your words are remarkable inspiring. Many aspects about this topic will never be understood by people who choose to simply live life without asking life’s deeper questions. To theorize and question something so intricate yet so simple requires a collision of thought. You are the only person that can unlock your truth, whether past or future, and without fail no one can take that away from you.
All human beings have access to creativity. It’s letting the mighty ocean submerge your little island. In opening to something greater than yourself and leting it through. This involves being comfortable with uncertainty, embracing the unknown, taking a leap of faith, and letting the heart guide the mind. Sometimes we can maintain integrity of head, heart and hand against all odds, other times the cultural hypnosis is too strong to overcome. Authenticity is established through a thousand stumbles. Not an easy straightforward journey by any means. But equally open to all. Thanks for your beautiful thoughts.
It is indeed a confidence boosting article for wannabe writers like me that even you Mr. Shekhar Kapoor, after all your success feel this way about the outside world… You Sir, can remain a child for ever coz you are an achiever… Ppl like me have to deal not only with the outside world, but also with the call from within which is like “Dude… maybe its time to grow up before its too late…” You know what I mean? But this article is an eye opener… I sure can’t afford to procrastinate! Time is not on my side… Will get back to writing; seriously at that!
How do ideas strike you? When do they hit? Have you heard of the phrase, “Stroke of luck…flash of insight…eureka moment!” Creativity involves anticipation mingled with uncertainty. For the record, ideas grow out of your brain through a simple yet complex capturing of creative energy.
What mental soil allows you to become a songwriter, poet, artist or inventor? Why do some of us “pop” with ideas while others merely drink a beer while passing the time away?
Have you ever heard of a “Dream Catcher”? Many people feature them above their beds and on the rear view mirror of their cars. They include a small circle made of metal, wrapped in leather and several strands like a spider’s web weaving across the center. They may feature feathers hanging from the bottom of the circle. Dream catchers supposedly intercept bad dreams in order to protect the person from emotional pain. Some say they catch ideas from out of the night.
The famous balladeer John Denver “caught” songs with his mind while skiing down slopes, walking in the woods or riding his horse. He wrote one of his most famous songs, “Annie”, in ten minutes while riding a ski lift in Aspen, Colorado: “You fill up my senses like night in a forest, like the mountains in spring time, like a walk in the rain….”
One song percolated in his mind around the campfire while watching meteors blaze across the night sky, “Colorado rocky mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky, sitting around the campfire and everybody’s high….”
What creates an idea, song, poem or painting? Your brain cells mingle with the creative energy of the outer world’s limitless soil.
If you choose writing, stories occur to you during your life. You live them. You read about them. You meet characters. You experience events. The more you live, the more you acquire ideas from the fertile soil in your mind. An old writer enjoys greater data with complex plots than a young writer who lacks miles on his creative odometer.
An idea equates to an unpredictable collision of thought and circumstance.
Einstein maneuvered his sailboat every weekend by himself on a large lake under the sky of the entire universe. He stated that his mind absorbed the universe’s vibrational energy that coalesced with his mathematical concepts. He wrote penned notes from the universe.
Steven Johnson said, “Chance favors the connected mind.”
Possibility springs where you nurture your mind with concepts gained from reading, living and doing.
For the poet, Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” inspires anyone to search through nature for meaning, spirit and imaginative process.
You may enjoy a positive temperament, negative disposition or neutral demeanor. Each allows you to become a Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King. Whatever your fate via your personality, harness your creative juices toward fruition by your “catching” ideas.
Van Gogh screamed at his paintings, cut off his ear and railed at the universe. Could he help himself? They say genius carries a bit of madness with it such as Michael Jackson, Robin Williams and dozens of others who lived tortured lives.
In the end, you may open your mind to the limitless ideas of the universe racing around you at blinding speed. Allow your heart, mind and soul to receive those ideas that fall into your passion net. You might be the next Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote: Eat, Pray, Love. You could become the next Meryl Streep who becomes every character on this planet. You might morph into another Sean Connery or Steve Jobs.
Along your journey, follow your most passionate desires. Always honor your quest and your creative proclivities. Never doubt yourself! Hang with others who follow their creative vibrational energies. You may succeed early like Elizabeth Gilbert or fail altogether like Van Gogh. So what! You may succeed like Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers. So what!
The key to creative happiness: understand that failure and success possess no meaning for a person actively seeking his or her highest and best. When you do what you do, and you love what you do, the universe does not place a ribbon on your final rendition. The Great Spirit simply smiles because you smile back at yourself every day of your existence.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Wikipedia attributes this quote to Plato circa 380 BC. Plato says, true creator is necessity. Also, as you said, love to all, because if there is no love for all, then why create for all?
Still under moderation? Why?
Your words came as the beautiful rain over thirsty soul.
With so much clarity you have related the creative person as a child, there cannot be a better explanation.
Somewhere in life I had stopped walking and stood still because of the hurt and essentially learnt that the courage which comes out of child’s innocence is the true strength a creative person has.
I made myself to believe that it’s stupid to listen to the song of a bird when everyone is jogging with earphones plugged, likewise to watch the dancing leaves in the breeze and the rhythmically falling leaves or to look at a beautiful face in the crowd… Well I have allowed myself to be buried under the expectations or practicalities but after reading your words I feel there is still time to get up and be a child again.
I thought a lot about being creative in this competitive world. Being creative just for it makes you happy, snap you back to reality, the now. That is wonderful isn’t it! I have seen schools teaching the so called creative students to copy cut paste with tools like PS and redicule even the slightest attempt to create on your own. And I have seen highly talented creative people who can do magic with the stroke of a brush having all the vices which a child will never have. This reality does confuse me.
And then, when all hopes were dashed I had the good fortune to read books from a renowned author. The simplicity, beauty, the love he conveys is the excellence. Now that is for me the creativity you have written above. And then your article shows up in the inbox.
I’m grateful for the love and wisdom you have shared. And thank you for making me think, appreciate and write down my thoughts.
Pranaam Shekhar ji
Big fan of your blog. Very inspiring post, so again I am writing. Yesterday I was sharing this post of yours with some of my students and observing them.
It is true – many of us are afraid of uncertainty and fear of failure – the fear of being wrong.
I believe that by taking the leap first, even without an idea of how it will all work out, we are being taught to Trust / Faith – the spiritualized imagination – the amazing power that created us.
Evolution and all hopes for a creative world rest in the fearlessness, playfulness and open-hearted vision. Yes, we can be more creative by embracing the uncertainty, messiness, chaos, randomness and other qualities that aren’t so orderly or cognitively structured. Uncertainty and curiosity are tools to keep us alive. Without creativity and curiosity, there would be no progress. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Do creative people just refuse to grow up?
Highly creative people are less self-controlled (more childlike – level of fantasy and imaginative), and highly self-controlled people are less creative (adult-like)
Why does our natural creativity wane as we mature? I feel because we spend more of our time and brain power in logics, reasons, reality and less in imagination.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, uncertain.
Love to read more. Looking forward for the next post.
I have no words to describe that how much you moved me by your reply,its beautiful and well written. Wherever you are and who you are, you must be a genius person and above all you are a good human who understand the purest form of love,which is to love,understand and help another human despite of blood relation,attraction,friendship or any kind of bond where you have to love a person.
Rowen, today i have learnt a lot from you,so many things that i wasn’t aware of it. I never heard of “Dream catcher,Flash of insight and Eureka moment” but something similar to that happen to me very often!
There are things in life that i want to accomplish, like my childhood dream. My dream led me to travel the world and meet good & bad people, heart breaks,my first true love, rejections, failure and life experiences.
I was born in Delhi, Zakir nagar, Okhla the ghetto which is famous for Terrorists encounters and crime, to lived there a life of a street fighter and go to New York to study acting plus not having the knowledge of speaking english was like impossible dream, at that time my family had no hopes for me as i was a rebellious, but i used to tell them i know what i am doing and where i would end up. To get the American visa for a muslim just after 9/11 was a tough job.
At first the embassy rejected my application and to get the appointment the very next day again was a miracle as its always booked for months,so i went again at the embassy, they were all amazed to see me coming again the very next day and after going inside standing in a queue and hoping and praying to go to the window where i see a guy full of positive energy and finally he called me and didn’t ask me much and issued me five years of study visa.
How did that all happened? Is it a magic or a stroke of luck? What i know is that,its all my prayers to Allah that i do on a particular time and all i get is a direction from him,i see people’s energy very clear,i get to see things in my dreams,i find omens,i try to put puzzles together and make stories,day dream and float in my imaginations and to become the part of my imagination,i start to talk and feel the place and people in my imagination,so in real world people take me as a lunatic when they see me self talking. So when they see me talking to my self,which actually i dont. I only get to transport in to my imagination world and start to live in the that moment,so whatever i see or feel i start to live the imagination life.
For example i want to work with a very renowned international director on his most ambitious movie,i am after him for a quite few years,hoping and dreaming to work,and i find him the only one who will help me achieving my dream. Its just not me its the universe i get the message from,Allah has showed me the path and brought him to my life,i see him narrating the script in my dreams many years ago,i see him talking to me,i talk to him also in my dream and imagination on a particular time. And i can tell the difference between the regular dream and a dream with the message from Allah.
Rowen,whatever i do or get,there is nothing above the almighty god and i am just a small speck of dust in his creation,may he keep blesses me and to all of us. There is no supreme power than him!
I can keep writing you my stories there are many many,perhaps you might get bored with it.
At the end i just want to thank you for your kind words and really appreciate your time,knowledge and wisdom. You truly are a great guy and a genius.
May Allah bless you and your family. Sending you lots of lots of love from India.
P.S Thanks for giving me the key to creative happiness 😊😊😊
You are unwavering in support to thousands of people who religiously follow your thoughts as if a candle bursting light to a dark room.
You constantly make the effort to answer the questions of others, yet who is answering the questions of yours? What are the questions that you need to be answered? How are you finding your true self?
Someone who I consider to have an incredible gift and whom I am immensely thankful for once told me about a beautiful notion that a candle flame can give life to another. A notion that no single person, no body of opinion, no political doctrine, no religious doctrine and no form of scientific research can prove to be true, yet a notion that only a mere wisper of your own soul can recognize and be completely enchanted by.
Is it possible that chance can favor one connected mind with a creative act of writing a novel to unlock the past life and destiny of another? By a beautiful twist of fate have you been guided to the exact point to find your true candle flame?
If there’s the slightest chance that you can relate to and understand what I’m delicately trying to explain to you, I need you to please contact me on my email.
It will be greatly appreciated if you not make this comment public on your site.
It interests me how easily you word your thoughts, with simplicity yet with depth; difficult yet humanly. Also, how you believe in love, dreams, happiness, goodness, with no doubts. I sincerely appreciate you sharing them.
As I read your words, they make me write mine, and so I would like to share:
This visual hits the dark outside of my eyes,
And it crosses them to reach my brain,
the image was not yours anymore,
it was mine as how my heart would retain.
I create nothing new outside of this world,
I wrap my past, present, and hazy future in each word,
I see, perceive, question, and express it to you,
In the form most comfortable and agreeable I knew.
I disintegrate, what touches my heart and shakes the core,
Rethink, rearrange, rebuild, recreate, and restore,
only now it appears more beautiful to my eyes,
Still with its heart, but painted with my truth and lies.
—– o ——-
You are too beautiful shekar sweetheart . I wish you were my friend from childhood .
Love you and i wish you loads of laughter .
Varun Saurya (a random co-traveller)
I am a university lecturer and creativity falls within my area of expertise. A very good book for anyone who is interested is “Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Ghandi” by Howard Gardner.
There is actually a lot of academic work done on academic processes (it’s a very interesting area).
I don’t know if you read these comments personally or whether an assistant is appointed to do so. But if you are reading it yourself then i wanted an answer for a question.See, I was thinking of asking on the homepage but then i came across this article and i think this would be a perfect place.
I want to know would you ever take a person for a job who has no work experience ,not a great topper in school or college and who has actually have nothing at all in a resume as in some top college name or its degree. But all that person has is one year diploma and a dream which rose in a heart of 7 years old. The only thing that person has is quality of hard-working all day and night to create something beautiful .Has dream to work where there are no boundaries to experiment and create whatever you want….
and you know what I might not be knowing everything but i know i can still do that job. I dream big , I know, not for a person with that little knowledge but I also know I can learn while doing work . I love gathering info. about whatever intrigues me and i believe that i can learn a lot from that too, by observing and reading stuff. just need someone to see my ideas and have some faith.
Well its not over but i won’t waste your more time. I just wanted to know that can even such get a job.
I think, Some thought appears in your mind and you start bringing that thought in reality..this is creativity. Creative work should give you the experience of liveliness, turth and not of always beauty, love.
Yes, children are more creative, and keeping child alive in us may not keep us creative but surely will keep us innocent, but if you are innocent you will be able to experience the liveness, turth as it is from every life
Creativity is akin to Imagination.
No imagination, no creativity !
Question is what is kmagination? Why do we imagine?
Sanskrit word for Human beings is ‘ Manushya’ , beings with a mind.
Everyone is Creative, in their own way, positively or negatively, for the good of this world or otherwise.
Some people are artistic with their creativity and are recognised as ‘Creative’, but really everyone is.
I am an Engineering Researcher and I love the Creativity of Applied Maths and Probability theory in solving a variety of problems.I also happen to paint and am a musician since 9 yrs old. Which part makes me less Creative than the other? None of em!
What we should be fascinated by is our faculty of Imagknation – we are painting continiously in our minds.
Boredom can Kill. Maybe it is Nature’s and our minds way of dealing with an otherwise Stale and Repetitive existence ?
Whatever it is, Imagination is a great escape, a Blessing, something Monotheistic religions, political Dogmas and modern day media want to control.
Imagine away, folks , its our only Hope !
” Yet I could define creative people as those that hold on to that child like quality. Those that that retain an ability to explore the unknown. Those that do not allow the past experiences to prejudice their decision making or their exploration of new ideas, of new thoughts. New discoveries or explorations into new horizons. ”
This is so well said!
Thank you Sir!
Curious to find out why you title this post “That Uncertain Act of Creativity”.
Creativity isn’t a linear process. And it most certainly isn’t an act. Or uncertain, for that matter.
I disagree that “every creative person is not born different”. They are.
The truth is, we all are different. If we weren’t, we’d be clones of another another (In a way, we already are- through class, caste, religion and other socio-economic-political influences). Genetics (nature) has a significant role to play in the assembly of who we eventually become. Equally, how we are nurtured, underpins our how we engage with and within the environment around us.
What you’ve addressed in your post is looking at creativity through the lens of nature. What Horst has very nicely brought to the discussion, is both the influence of nature and nature.
Certain entities are wired differently, either by nature or nurture or a combination of both (positive or negative) and so respond/react /engage differently. Every specie craves for a sense of belonging. It seeks approval and validation through one means or the other. Anyone who deviates from this social norm is labeled – “different”, “irresponsible”,” dreamer”, “misdirected” etc. Now, how many of us are ready to deviate from the norm?
“So what makes us different .. what makes us (in other people’s eyes) irresponsible .. ? What makes us revel in uncertainty and be provoked by the adventure of the unknown ?”
Is there a higher dimensional force driving, stroking, energising so called “creative” minds?
Or is it the fact that when one lets one’s brain hang loose (an irritating and overused modern day phrase used to describe this state – mindful), one is more receptive to dimensional AND non-dimensional data/input?
Probably, a bit of both. And more.
May I encourage you to pause, look around and observe other people who are called “creative”. What qualities do you see in them?
I notice a very deep, a very intense, a very pure focus of passion. Often, such individuals are perfectionists, never stopping for a second to improve on previous efforts. The act, or the process of doing something, is beyond the physical realm. It is also deeply spiritual. (Or is it?)
These individuals are deeply tuned-in into and comfortable with their soul, that they often don’t need anyone to ‘fulfil’ them. They are both ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ by themselves, if that makes any sense. The world may call them a loner, but they are not alone. They are with themselves (and not in a narcissistic or egostical way).
They have inexhaustible reserves of grit and determination.They are highly empathetic, emotional and deeply moved by even the smallest and most insignificant of things. They have a robust tendency to give. They have an unquenchable thirst to know, to do, to experience. They are inquisitive, curious, willing to challenge status quo and push boundaries.
I believe they are seekers. They are seers. These are people who ‘know’ that finding a purpose in life is irrelevant; that life itself is a purpose. They are gypsies of this world (and beyond) who understand what is means to travel light. Note how little possessions they will have.
So yes, both nature and nature contribute to the making of a (creative) being. And creativity is relative. Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, creativity lies lens of socially prescribed behavioural frames.