Jan 23, 2016

My Creative Alter Ego


— Ken Robinson (TED talks, ‘how schools kill creativity’)

This is something I’ve written about following your dreams. Now before you roll your eyes and get your sick bag out, I should say that this isn’t going to be about rainbows and ponies and living in a world where we sit in a circle and hold hands. Rather it’s about realising your true potential during your lifetime, giving something meaningful to the world and truly leaving behind a legacy which firmly states that you were here.

Growing up with parents who were first generation immigrants, the tone in my household understandably was to strive for stability. My mother would never fail to stress the importance of a good education and a solid career to fall back on. It was her life ambition as it is for many parents in the same situation for their children to not have to face the struggles that they did. This led me through the education system constantly being told what fields would be the best and what would earn me the most money. Ken Robinson addresses this notion by saying ‘we don’t grow into our creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we are educated out of it’. This resonated with my own experience where the harder I worked, the more I found myself suppressing that creative alter ego that a lot of us try to hide.

I was the weird kid who would work way too hard on school projects, who would spend hours making a 3D rainforest or would tea stain 50 pages of a History journal (many would argue I’m still a weird kid, but for different reasons). Until I got older I never put too much thought into this creative side until I entered the world of employment and realised that not having 100% passion for what you were doing would never truly let you achieve something great. Ken defines creativity as ‘the process of having original ideas that have value’ (yes, I have decided we are on a first name basis) and I am a passionate believer that we make it harder for ourselves to have original ideas when we are constantly confining ourselves within a preconceived ideal.

This talk has genuinely reinforced my obsession with the idea that though working hard in a respected field can bring you wealth and stability, working hard on your unique talent and creativity could bring you something truly great. We live in a world where we are told to just earn a living when we really should be told to create something valuable. We shouldn’t be held back by social stigma and more importantly the confines of our own minds. Just like our parents have always wanted, we shouldn’t have to go through what they did at all; we should have the freedom and strength to truly follow our passions and create a difference to the world.

(as I type this I imagine I’m a voice-over on a thought-provoking video montage with epic music playing in the background, hair blowing in the wind…much better than the reality of me lying in bed in my pyjamas)

Now I’m not saying pack it all in to go and join a cult in South America where you paint murals with your feet. Also by no means am I in a position to say that my creativity has brought me success (yet, *she says apprehensively*). However I will say that since I have started exploring my creative side, I feel that it has given me an increased sense of purpose and happiness that I simply do not get from moving around a spreadsheet. In fact I have developed a sort of symbiotic relationship in which my creativity helps me with my day job and my day job helps with me with my creativity. I intend to do both, constantly working up to a position to create something truly great to share with the world and I encourage anyone nurturing a creative passion to do the same.

For those of you still in that creative closet, this TED talk by Ken Robinson on ‘how schools kill creativity’ is a must see, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

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