Two ladies stood outside my office and griped for thirty minutes about how unfair it is the interns got to come in and get jobs making better money. Sure, they are college educated, but they reasoned they have been there a long time and it’s not fair they don’t get the same opportunity. They said all of this knowing I could hear them and that I was an intern not long ago. I was one of those who went back to college and used an internship as a way to navigate a midlife career change and yes it got me a nice pay raise. Something I hoped my MBA would do for me. I am sorry if your entry level position, experience, and lack of education don’t get you the same thing.
I don’t know if I was more shocked by those ladies complete disregard for etiquette or their utter lack of motivation. I too was in a dead-end job once and decided to figure out what I needed to do to change my situation. I had something and have something they don’t-curiosity, motivation, an urge to solve an issue, and the desire to deal with something. That is what is required to move ahead in life and if you want to be more creative. Their lack of motivation will keep them in their entry level jobs for 20 years and when I am long gone from that organization they will still be where they are.
The question should have been, “How can I do that?”, which would have led to a creative answer.
Increase your curiosity and you will increase your creativity. If we aren’t curious we aren’t asking questions. Creativity is about finding an answer. Solving a problem. We were all creative as children. Small children are very curious and much of what they see ends up in their mouth as they try to figure out what something is. As we get older we ask questions. My son spent a whole year consistently asking me, “What’s it do mommy, what’s it do?” He eventually abbreviated to just, “do” and pointed his little finger around saying do. He was curious and his curiosity motivated him to learn more.
“ What’s it do, how can I do it, how does it work, what if I made it this way, what if we tried this; can lead to amazing things”
We can want to be something all day, but if we aren’t motivated nothing will happen. It might be easier just to say I don’t want to then to keep saying we want to and never doing anything about it. Have you ever told someone about your latest trip, your second job, the hobby you have, how you just went back to college, how you are moving, or changing your life and they react, “Well I can’t do that. We have softball practice.” You may be busy, but so are we. We will do things when the motivation is there. Ned Herrmann says in his book, The Creative Brain, that the key to living creatively is passion. A highly compelling, energetic attention to something. Passion drives and when we are passionate we are motivated and accomplish amazing things despite the obstacles.
“Turned-on people of all kinds are passionate.” They are motivated.
An Urge to Solve
We have to step outside our adult working selves and develop our own urges. I believe many of us show up to the working world eager and motivated to solve problems, but the dysfunction of most companies squelches our hopes for contributing anything beneficial. I showed up to my current employer ready to put my expensive MBA to use and then when they paid for me to get my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt I thought I was ready to solve every process problem they had, but guess what? I have to self-gratify with side projects to satisfy my urge to solve problems. They want me to solve some problems, but rarely to the extent they should or that would be of any real benefit. We must not let our experiences in the world dictate what we do in our own lives. We can solve problems whether or not our employer, parents, spouse, friends, or family support that. Acting on our urge to solve problems is a way to become more creative and if that is what you want to be then be it.
“Creativity is part of the human condition”
The Desire to Deal with Something
I have poured hours upon hours trying to coach my multi-talented, artistic, adult daughter who has more talent in her little pinky then I do in my entire body. She could literally do anything she set her mind to. She is an amazing photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, dabbles in painting, drawing, and I believe could be a great writer, but she lacks a vital thing-desire. She has no desire to deal with something. She knows she is creative, she knows she is talented, she has overcome fear and is more than willing to create whatever comes to her mind, but she lacks the desire to deal with actually doing her art. Ultimately, she will have to decide she wants to. Until then she will continue to dream about creating an art store, selling paintings, getting her Instagram going, and writing that story that is in her head. She is like the ladies in the hallway griping because they didn’t get the job. Well go get the degree.
“Creativity is an important aspect of life from early childhood to old age. It takes many forms, from child rearing to learning languages, to arts and crafts, to cooking, to gardening, to composing, dancing, writing, problem solving, and inventing”.
Ned Herrmann (again, I like him)
The thing is if you want to be more creative you can. If you don’t want to be that’s great too. First be honest about what you want. Creativity can be learned and increased. We don’t need a special anointing to be what we inherently are-creative creatures. To start off we just need some plain old interest. Interest engages us into the creative process. If we don’t have an urge to figure things out, aren’t curious about life, aren’t motivated, don’t want to solve problems, or deal with something then we don’t want to be creative. If you have those things you are already on your way. Now, Herrmann says you should encourage your inner child, praise yourself for trying, admire your willingness to start, and appreciate the small and humble expressions of your creativity.
I say, just do it already. Get off your ass and start asking questions about life, start wondering, put down the remote and get into doing something. Screw whoever squashes your inkling to solve problems at work and solve your own problems. What do people at work know anyway? Look at the world around you and put down the damn phone. Get out there and stir up some interest in the world around you. When you do you will be on your way to being more creative and that has to be a better gig then just going to work, doing crap around the house, and paying bills! Yeah!
Originally published at https://aprolificanthology.com on August 30, 2019.