Purpose and creativity: searching for "a set of tools for being you"

Purpose and creativity: searching for "a set of tools for being you"

Detail from  Meditation with Open Eyes,  Atul Dodiya, 2011

Detail from Meditation with Open Eyes, Atul Dodiya, 2011

I frequently wonder about what the connections might be between purpose and creativity.

One of my jobs involves investigating how physical workplaces can best support creative work. This means I get to spend time doing one of my favourite things, which is talking with people about their creative processes and practices. Creativity feels like something which is both universal and intensely personal and as people explore the granularity of these experiences, lots of interesting observations emerge:

“Creativity is like a set of tools for being you”

This idea came out from a set of interviews I conducted in spring 2018. It has stuck in my head ever since and has prompted much thought on what the connections might be between three areas: creativity; purpose; and ‘you-ness’.

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I appreciate that each of these terms is the kind of thing often found scrawled in some sort of handwriting font over pictures of people on mountains looking at sunsets. This, in turn, can lead to understandable browser-closing, laptop-slamming moments of revulsion. Set your jaw the mists of woo that begin to swirl when these terms are brought together All of these concepts resist being pinned down, but we’ve got to start somewhere. So, let’s begin with these non-definitive definitions:

Amongst other things:

  1. Creativity is a set of tools for being you.

  2. Your you-ness is in that combination of things that make you different from other people, even those you consider yourself similar to.

  3. A purposeful life is at least one where you are able to be as ‘you’ as possible in whatever situations and circumstances you find yourself in.

Therefore could an understanding of creativity help us understand as we quest (and question) towards more purposeful lives? Over the next month, I’m going to explore this area and see what I can put together. Here are three more assumptions to begin this expedition with:

  • Creativity is inherent. It is something that has fuelled the evolution of our species.

  • A meaningful life is not found, it is made. Often the pieces must be found though. We rarely get all of them at once

  • Creativity is not a fixed thing but a fluid combination of things.

I have a feeling this will be a meandering path. I will report back...

Is purpose (sometimes) like a black hole?

Is purpose (sometimes) like a black hole?

"I believe I belong in the drivers seat of race cars."

"I believe I belong in the drivers seat of race cars."