“What is a creative?” writer Jeff Goins asks in his blog, goinswriter.com. Jeff knows how creative people are sometimes misunderstood or make others uncomfortable when they step off the yellow brick road.
Creatives are doing every kind of work where advancement and innovation is required: engineers, programmers, system designers, new product designers in manufacturing of every kind, architects, managers, researchers, tinkerers, psychologists, consultants, marketers, troubleshooters, customizers, believers—and it goes without saying that illustrators, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and filmmakers are creatives.
Creatives are people who are skilled in what is already successful, and they don’t stop there. Even though we are naturally satisfied with success when it arrives, perfection eludes us. Creatives keep going, on toward mastery, the state of the art in our fields. We are self-motivated, disciplined, visionary, responsive, and constantly trying to do it better.
Sometimes a creative simply uses a personal ability in a job that doesn’t require that ability. We can customize the routine, and then our work automatically becomes distinctive. Sometimes we go out on our own so that we can work in our own special way—and keep any profits, by the way.
Anyone who creates change is a creative.
Creatives are intuitive about excellence and cannot do a slip-shod or a job ‘good enough’ for a paycheck. We accept the disruption to our lives and incomes in pursuit of a personal best, not for money or fame—although we don’t refuse recognition or compensation. And our contribution is not always appreciated; sometimes the focus of our life’s work results in just one in a history of significant breakthroughs.
You can’t always tell who is a creative when they are in process. Even more so, these days, when a person doing intense design work at the computer may have the same posture as a lurker on social media. But an information and idea worker turns the imagination toward meaningful enterprises. Even when they conform, creatives have a singular way of doing what they do, and are generally in pursuit of excellence in what they produce.
Diamonds in the Rough
What makes a person create is dissatisfaction with the status quo. In our immature state, we rebel. When a vision persists, over time we learn its strengths and weaknesses, and its relative worth. We are guided by the vision, and our passion matures as we manage the resistance of the status quo. We create alternatives that work for ourselves, first, and in the desire to prove its worth—which is really meant to prove our worth—we hone our skills under pressure. The diamond emerges from its ‘rough’.
Look closely employers, parents, teachers, and friends. You may have one of these self-propelled futurists somewhere near you. If we recognize a diamond in the rough we become a fan or a patron on their journey. In their company we share a vision or are moved by their passion.
I wonder, dear Reader… Can you encourage creatives in their quest rather than dampen their spirits? Can you affirm their individuality and also see conformity as appropriate pressure in creating? Do you believe life is just fine, or would you like it to be better? In your own ideals, are you willing to accept the strain inherent in reaching beyond the routine?
I think every person has the ability to be a creative wherever she or he works. Change occurs instantly with vision, and passion is the fire that forges it into a thing worthy of a position in the world.