Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Litmus Test of Creativity

The difference between the creative and the non-creative...
The motivated and the uninspired...
The dynamic and the languid...
Is essentially the same.

And that is, the creative/motivated/dynamic, never grow up.

Don’t close this window or remove me from your blogroll just yet. Hear it out.

Be it in Norway or or palaces or slums, there is one question that every child comes across.
Could be a cheek-pulling uncle or a school teacher trying to be motivational...or simply one’s own mind looking for answers, that one question hits a child from all corners.
And the question is:
What will you be when you grow up?

In olden days the answer to the question ranged between:
Teacher>doctor>pilot> writer>actor (I wanted to be a bus conductor, but I don’t think that counts) .

These days (with internet, television, play station and heaven knows what else), no one, I repeat, NO ONE, can predict what the answers might be. I saw a little girl on TV wearing a cute little pink dress and matching pink ribbons who said “Mujhe bara hokey mard banna hai.” (meaning, I want to be a “man” when I grow up.) I kid you not. She really said that...and it scarred me for life.
Many of us find the answer to this question straight after college/university. In fact, the current education system is such that we can rule out most of the options by the time we leave school. When I left school, I was convinced that they had forgotten to include that one subject in the curriculum that I would find interesting. Again, I don’t think that counts.

But what I mean is, we all move into jobs and careers...change jobs and careers...make drastic changes even (our plumber used to be a hair stylist). But somewhere down the line, we stop asking ourselves “What will I be when I grow up?” Either because we think we have grown up and are stuck with our lives/careers forever...or because we are too busy asking other questions (like, How does my neighbour make so much money? Who can I gossip about at lunchtime? When do I buy that shape-wear that promises to reduce two dress sizes without one having to even look at a treadmill? etc)
That is where the creative/motivated/dynamic differ from their opposites.

They never stop asking themselves “What will I be when I grow up?” I won’t insult your grey cells by asking you not to take that literally. Obviously they grow up physically (have bigger organs, lesser hair, etc, though some of the unfortunate ones continue to have acne)...and mentally (no longer eat mud or put their hands inside a puppy’s anus). What I mean is...they never give up on life and its possibilities.
The languid, like me, plod along in life...trying to keep their jobs , paying their mortgages off , squeezing in a few children and holidays, reading a few books at bedtime...even planting some trees on days they are feeling exceptionally energetic. But that question “What will I be when I grow up?” is wiped out from their memories.

The creative/motivated/dynamic however, continue to re-invent themselves, find new hobbies, create new talents, learn new things. They do all the mundane things, mind you (yes, the mortgage and kids and trees). But somehow, they can still take themselves to learn salsa, pottery, French cooking, photography or whatever it is they fancy. They build their garden bench...write a book...paint an interesting wall art...or even open a boutique by the sea shore. It’s only with their child-like confidence, youthful exuberance (or call it what you may) that they create new horizons every day.

In short, they never grow up...never give up...never, never.
So the litmus test, boys and girls, is in asking the question “What will you be when you grow up?” Try it on some adults you know. If the person frowns or scoffs, just give them another drink (they need it). But if their eyes brighten up...and they clear their throats to answer you with great excitement, just hug them and tell them how special they are.

So here’s a virtual hug to all my creative blogger friends...and here’s a pat on the back, in Aussie style: “Good on you, mate!”

1 comment:

Scribbler :) said...
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