Mar
06

Engineers, Artists and The Pursuit of Creativity

Last Thursday I gave a presentation on Creative Value to a group of engineering students at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). It was fun speaking to a group of highly intelligent students; especially because regardless of the discipline, creative development and the sustainability of creativity in life, there is something that creative, and “want to be creative types,” struggle to understand.

So if you’re a wanna be creative, what is creativity anyway? Can an engineer be as creative as artists? How do you pursue creativity?

My definition of creativity is the pursuit of something you see, you feel, or you do, that is so compelling for you that it keeps you up late at night and can, at times, consume you. It can be rooted in anything you love to do and are passionate about. WHATEVER that thing or vision is, DEVELOP IT.

How do you develop it? By thinking of new ways to expand your thinking about it, and trying out your thoughts through a new form of expression around it. If you love to play video games, try designing one. If you love music, write a song. If you love to dance, put a dancing show together for your friends. Get the idea?

When you are younger, not everything you are passionate about, however, others will see as a positive. For example, when I was in college, and to this day, I love to talk on the phone. My mother use to really give me a hard time about my phone bill in college; I just could not seem to keep it to a reasonable level. I have always had a lot of acquaintances and friends and its been a challenge for me then and even now to “curb” it. But one day, I woke up and realized that enjoying chatting with people on the phone could actually be a huge strength when building a business. In fact I built my mail-order business entirely around this strength and interest. It not only paid all those phone bills but helped me begin my entrepreneurial creative career that is currently in its 22 year! (I have NEVER had a J.O.B. and there isn’t one in my future!!)

While enjoying talking on the phone may in itself not seem very creative, the thought process I took to realize how I could use that enjoyment in a new way was.

Anything you love to do, because you wind up spending so much time at it, eventually becomes a strong skill. And anything you become skilled at becomes like another tool in a tool box that you can use alone, or in combination with any other tools you have in your box, to build something creative and new with those tools.
So if you are struggling to figure out what you can creatively do; look no farther than what really interests you and spend more time there. You see creativity and sustainable creativity at its core is all about individuality, unique self expression and passion. Each one of us regardless of our label- engineer or artists- has that inside of us if we only learn how to develop our self awareness and resolve the personal problems we have in life that diminish that bright inner light within us. It’s easy, when our world is chaotic and we don’t know who we really are, to confuse that inner light with the light of a train coming at us instead of the brightness of the future that awaits us.

I am so excited about getting my book out because this is where my creativity lies- in helping others develop their creativity. This is my greatest passion. The two best tools I have in my box that began as passions and obsessions for me, and are now tools that help me in this pursuit, are my love for solving puzzles and my ability to generate really great ideas. (But more on that later- I realize this is another post entirely)

So today is your day! Start wherever you are and embrace FULLY the quirky person you are. You have brains in your head and brains in your feet! Use them to walk down those twisty misty turns, along your own quirky path, in search of your very own creativity that can free you to lead a life you LOVE forever. And then you too can be a member of the “No J.O.B. Club” and Proud Of It!

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