Be a creator

There is an interesting dimension to being a creator that sets apart creators from non-creators. It is that highly creative people value what they have created while less creative people don’t.

A friend of mine, Abbie Cooke, runs a session for business that gets the executives to paint a picture by the end of the session. Everyone enjoyed the session and seemed to learn something from it and the messages that she taught them. But then she noticed an interesting thing. Some of the delegates left their drawings behind. They obviously didn’t feel they had any value and effectively had thrown them away at the end of the session. I wonder, does this mean they metaphorically had also ‘thrown away’ the learning from the session, and perhaps every other training session they’d ever been to? So she changed the focus of the session from then on. Now the delegates had to make a frame for their paintings. She began to teach them the value of what they had created.

To a true creator it doesn’t matter if you took just a few minutes to create the work (Paul McCartney wrote ‘Yesterday’, the most recorded and most played song ever, in just a few minutes.) or whether it took you years to complete the project. Whatever you bring into being in the universe that wasn’t there before always has value. We need to understand this and trust it. All creation has value and worth. Overlooking this will stop your creativity dead as who would want to create something worthless? If you don’t value what you do you haven’t done anything more worthy that what you flushed down the toilet this morning.

To a creator, the worth of their work is tied into their self worth. If you don’t like yourself or trust yourself you’re going to have real problems being more creative.

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One comment on “Be a creator

  1. Ayd, this post will strike a chord with anyone who has ever tried to make something for the first time. When we are young, particularly, our self-esteem is vulnerable to assault from all directions, and it is hardly possible to overestimate the value of constructive praise and patient encouragement. Parents and teachers are, of course, key players in this nurturing process.

    When I was eight, my teacher gave cheap white plates to the class and asked us each to decorate one, using some special acrylic paints. Around the rim of mine, I devised a simple curve of jagged ridges, filled in with little blobby spirals of different colours. The complexity grew as I added double wavy lines under the spirals, themselves going at right angles through two sets of little parallel lines. In the centre of the plate, I painted a generic yellow flower with two large green leaves on its stem, and set it in a field of red grass. It was dry two days later. I wasn’t sure what to make of it but my teacher said, “Take it home. I like it. Your mummy will, too.”

    When I was thirteen, I spent five weekly lessons in Woodwork class making a wooden box. It was about 9″ x 9″ square, with 3″ high curved sides, and with a separate lid. The corners had dovetail joints and it was stained and varnished medium brown. The kindly teacher had carefully demonstrated the skills for each step and I had done my best to replicate them. However, he was right-handed and I was not. I made error after error. By the third week, the teacher had a tin of Band Aid in his cupboard with my name on it. The lid of my box would only fit on one way – but it was finished, and I took it home.

    Today, half a century later, my mother still has both of these items.


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