If you know anything about Einstein you certainly know that he was a smart dude. He revolutionized the culture of mathematics as well as other areas of advanced learning. He was and continues to be a reference point for many when it comes to hashing out ideas.
What made Einstein so special? He wasn’t the only thinker of his time. And he wasn’t the smartest either. In fact there were peers of his that could talk him under a table. What made Einstein’s thinking so special was his unique personality. It was his ability to take theories and communicate them in new creative ways.
I’ve been reading this book called “On Creativity” by David Bohm. It’s an awesome look at how creativity is for all people. In he frames the Einstein story this way… “There are a tremendous number of highly talented people who remain mediocre. Thus, there must have been a considerable body of scientists who were better at mathematics and knew more physics than Einstein did. The difference was that Einstein had a certain quality of originality.”
Just the other day the new Avett Brothers record came out and one of my favorite songs has a chord pattern that I’ve heard probably in a dozen other songs. Even with that being the first thing I noticed, I really, really love what they placed around the common structure. That’s what’s so cool about creativity. It’s not reserved for a select few. It’s available to all. Creativity is the ability to take what’s already been done before and add your own thoughts and ideas.
Bohm goes on to say that children are actually the model for us when it comes to being creative… “It is well-known that a child learns to walk, to talk, and to know his way around the world just by trying something out and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what has actually happened. In this way, he spends his first few years in a wonderfully creative way, discovering all sorts of things that are new to him…”
But as I know all to well being a father I will often try to conform my boys to what everyone else does. You know things like coloring, “Hey son stay within the lines” instead of just letting him express himself on his own. He will grow up and inevitably be pressured to conform to what we call “normal” which for some things is sad. Because the one thing that kills creativity from the start is fear.
Fear is a powerful deterrent. It causes us to alter our actions, our outlooks, our personalities, our bodies. Fear of failing, fear of not being liked or excepted. Fear that we will be called weird. Fear that we might make a mistake. So we don’t ever try. The older I get the more I have to fight the urge to please others with my creative thoughts. I will choose to be safe, just because I want people to like me. Which in the end never really makes any one party truly happy. The artist goes away feeling repressed and the other person forgets about it and wants you to do again a month later.
I know that this maybe not the most interesting post, but I hope that it inspires you to be creative. Allow room for yourself to once again experience the wonder of freedom in expression. Whether that’s in your job, the way you decorate your house or raise your kids. God is the creator of creativity, and I’m not sure when the last time you’ve been to the zoo or out for a hike, but we serve a very creative God.
I’ll leave you with this thought from David Bohm,
“Evidently, the ability to learn something new is based on the general state of mind of a human being. It does not depend on special talents, nor does it operate only in special fields, such as science, art, music or architecture. But when it (creativity) does operate, there is an undivided and total interest in what one is doing. Recall, for example, the kind of interest that a young child shows when he is learning to walk. If you watch him, you will see that he is putting his whole being into it. Only this kind of whole hearted interest will give the mind the energy needed to see that which is new and different, especially when the latter seems to threaten what it familiar, precious, secure, or otherwise dear to us.”