Your own patch of green grass.
A few decades ago the idea of creativity was very different. Your academic prowess, matching your in-depth understanding of your field, and a fervour for great things, was considered a recipe for originality and/ or a creative genius. No one hired a ruffled hair, ragged man, with seemingly sociopathic tendencies. No one is hired beyond their frame of creativity. Period.
Well trained, well natured, and driven, not wild, flared or touched by a different stick.
Today, as the definition evolved to include 16 year old kids, with a very contrasting idea of childhood to ours, as billionaires, there is an eclipse over what exactly is the art and the artist. No longer are you valuable if you’re not on the other end of the spectrum. The frame changed again, to establish those same ruffled, ragged men as the new geniuses, and those with the well trained eye, nature and skill set as the regulars. A banker, doctor, engineer, irrespective of how driven or successful, didn’t make the cut for creative or genius. They didn’t run the show anymore.
For years, science and scientific temperaments around the world, tried to define these terms. Billionaires either hired these geniuses, or picked tips on how to be one. Was the perfect balance between indoor grind, and time out to gaze at stars the way to flick the bean? Larry Page designed his method of 20% percent time off, which essentially allowed one day a week to Google employees, to work on passion projects to enhance their creative genius. The debate and search continued. Freud, Einstein, Thomas Edison, celebrated with the title, held different views on the subject however. Thomas Edison shut down speculations in 1903 with his still widely quoted formula of ‘1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.’ The 20th century saw a humbled Albert Einstein, sombre on how unjust this natural privilege system is. To quote the man himself, ‘It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them.’
But, irrespective of how prejudiced this lucky draw might be, it’s a coveted title. A man wants to be addressed as a genius, or creative, and if particularly ambitious, both. But was it always like this?
The title of ‘creative’ sometimes masked mental health issues, sometimes dyslexia or other forms of slow learning. Like with most parts of history, we learnt to cover up “faults” in shiny fabric instead of addressing them. Classic. To be fair, this system was pretty creative of civilisations. Creativity wasn’t always sought after when it came to government titles, or military jobs. They wanted less chancy and more dependability. Businesses sought those who thought creatively, but within a perimeter of acceptance. Maybe it was Mad Men, and John Hamm’s sturdiness combined with his beautiful brain, a rather mobile picture of eureka moments, one after the other, that established ‘what future success meant.’ Experts predict 1950s-1960s, the decade where creativity was recognised as a mindful skill to have. All these years of evolution, and it’s only now we begin studying something we all probably had all this while. MITs and Stanfords of the world began developing tests. If men-dom designed them in their favour, or patriarchy influenced the definitions, well there is no proof I could get my hands on. However, the good news was, those aptitude tests that predicted the ‘artsy’ percentage of our capabilities in school? Those were the direct result of years of study on creativity. So students who received a writer, artist or politician, it’s your time after all. An alternate theory developed too. What if this was farce? What if creativity is simply being in the right place, with the right training at the right time. What if ideas sprouted based on context? Was Louis Paster onto something when he said, “Fortune favours the prepared mind?”
But either way, everyone now strove towards a new goal. Money replaced creative methods to make money, advertising became a battleground for those unemployed gifted thinkers out there. Instagram, Tik Tok, all are the new age Mecca of talent and inventiveness. It became the great equaliser, until some new original thinker decided to find loopholes in the system. Everyone wanted their own patch of green grass to nurture. It would be their assertiveness for this race of self validation. It was no longer thinking “out of the box”, it was thinking imaginatively within the same box. You have the exact same seconds, same music, same filters, go shine!
So exactly who is creative today? Me? While I strive to string words together, hoping you would believe that this is hundred percent my creative combination and not extensive study of the subject? You, the reader, who spared 7 minutes of your precious weekend to analyse just how you fare as compared to lesser mortals out there. Or those influencers, questionably working hard in the eyes of those stuck in old age trades, because when did donning one shirt, three ways become a skill? Why weren’t we given the memo? Anyway, I tried a new method to cook chicken last night, fished for morning compliments to have a cheery start to the day, and made you run your mind. Creative? I’d say.