My book, HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HUNCH? The Importance of Creative Thinking, is now in its third edition. I remain fascinated with the subject of creativity and the importance of being creative in most areas of our lives. Can we define creativity and should we? Creativity, just like its progenitors: intuitions and hunches, is elusive, exciting, ambiguous and hazy, and also occurs outside human cognition. Defining it as one thing, can be reductive and remove its wondrous mystery. It can remove the creativity of creativity.
So how do we recognize creativity? We simply know it when we see it, hear it, and feel it, and most importantly, we celebrate it by nurturing, coaxing, cultivating and nourishing our creative potential – and the creative potential of others. We create because we are moved to do so and because we are delighted with what emerges. Creativity is both an act of discovery and also one of recovery – if, for any reason, we have neglected the marvelous potential that lies buried within us. It is essential to create because a life devoid of creativity is barren for both individuals and for society.
Embarking on a creative journey is often the result of a hunch that we can do something, even in an area in which we have never played. Yes, played, because, although creative enterprises can involve people in years of hard work before they have completed what they have set out to do, accompanying that work, is often an abundance of enthusiasm, energy and joy. Creativity is something we feel, and by attempting to define it, we can flatten the exhilarating experience of the creative flow. So, it is better not to straight-jacket the mystery of creativity by reducing it to a limiting definition – and, similarly, it is better not to define yourself prematurely as “uncreative,” which too many people tend to do, before you have explored new areas of possibility. How can you know if you are creative if you haven’t given yourself permission to try something new, something you have never done before, something outside your overly-defined, non-elastic borders, yet something that is percolating enticingly within you? I wish you many years of exploring and enjoying your creative potential.
– Ellen Palestrant