If by now you’re a constant reader of the pieces I write here, you would know that I have several years of experience in the advertising industry. An industry where creativity is embodied. In fact, that constitutes around ninety-five percent of my professional working experience. And I must tell you, few other industries present as much fun and as much challenges as that.
But the point I want to make today is that there’s hardly any other industry where the words “creative” and “creativity” are as bandied around. As if it’s not used enough in everyday parlance, some agency have a department called just that – the creative department.
So, advertising is one industry that places value on creativity.
But what exactly is creativity?
As defined by me, creativity is simply the art of creating something new, or viewing something old in a new way. You can replace “new” with “fresh” and the definition will be even better.
By this definition then, you can admit that “creativity” is not exclusive to advertising – even though what they get paid for it makes it seem as though it’s something they create and own. But, when you understand that the people who work in an advertising agency are simply people who harness their creativity in a particular way to attract regular people to products and things they usually would just walk past, you realise that EVERYONE is creative.
Everyone. Including you.
Dressing for work, you probably have a particular shirt that goes with a particular pair of trousers and shoes. But every now and then, you decide to pair off the shirt with totally different trousers, or the trousers with a completely different pair of shoes to create a different look. That’s creativity.
That’s the issue. People have come to think of creativity like lightning striking a particular spot twice. It never happens. They think of those who dole out these things as though they are gods and float when they walk. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Creative people are normal human beings – just like me and you.
Toast bread is a product of creativity. So is Facebook, Twitter, the iPhone, the laptop, your smartphone, your breakfast (depending on what it is), Ninja Turtles, Iron Man, Captain America, Batman and a million other things.
The clothes you wear – the t-shirts with the several crazy insignias and so on – are products of creativity. The books you read, the blogs, storytelling, movies…
In every aspect of life, some strand of creativity can be found.
The reason creative people seem to be gods is simply because the average person has learned to take his or her creative abilities for granted. It’s just like someone who doesn’t have a cap seeing another who does. It’s a marvel.
Like they say: “In a town filled with blind people, the one-eyed man is king.”
Now that I have made you feel bad about your ignorance on creativity, let’s talk about harnessing yours. If you are a creative person fully in control of your creative faculties, however, feel free to move on.
The movie Deadpool, a Marvel Comics’ box office blockbusting success grossed a billion dollars – off a 50-million dollar budget. How’s that for success?
But the thing a lot of the comic-ignoring public do not know is that Deadpool is actually a blatant rip-off of a DC Comics (Marvel’s largest rivals and owners of Superman, Batman and so on) character named Deathstroke. Created eleven years before Deadpool, Deathstroke is a mercenary whose real name is Slade Wilson. And Deadpool’s real name?
What’s that? Creativity.
A very smart man once said that good artists create, great artists steal. The idea is that he encourages people to study others – people who are forerunners and experts in whatever field is of interest. He encourages them to study, know and copy their idols’ methods. And as they apply themselves to getting better at copying, they find an original way of presenting their copied ideas.
And viola! Another professional is made.
Aristotle was Plato’s understudy. Mozart was Bach’s. And so on. No idea’s original. The purpose of this, in case you’re thinking, “I’m a regular guy working a regular job and I don’t need creativity” is to get you thinking about your job. No matter what it is, if you’re not getting better or becoming more useful, you’re likely to be replaced.
Imagine your relationship. When was the last time you did something new with your significant other? If things have become pretty much routine with your loved one, don’t sleep. Look for creative ways to keep things fresh and interesting.
Maybe you’ve been with him/her for several years and run out of surprises to offer and are thinking of replacing them. Well, go ahead. Remember, though, that they were once new too, like their replacement is now; their replacement will be stale too at some point. It might only take longer.
Creativity simply makes life more interesting and vibrant. It makes a regular walk or stroll seem like a tour of the most interesting museum in the world. It makes a friend, a spouse, a lover new and refreshed. Creativity, not just money, makes the world go round.
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