Strange how people are afraid of the word “creativity”. They often believe it is a highly intellectual condition that only “extremely intelligent”, “super successful” and/or “immensely rich” humans possess. But how many “extremely intelligent, super successful, immensely rich” people exist in this world? What about the rest of us? Do we have a right to be creative? Or are we doomed to boredom and inertia, to live in the gloomy realm of unproductive doing-of-nothing?
There are some myths about creativity that cause people to adapt these false beliefs, forcing them to think that creativity is related to a very small percentage of the population and that they don’t have any right to it.
This sort of unrealistic belief leads them to pursue flat, uninteresting lives, without juicy goals, without inner motivation, and most importantly without the joy and fulfilment the success of their goals can provide.
Many people are negatively affected by this attitude. They remain stuck in very ordinary lives, jobs, and social networks, showing no drive whatsoever to change, to become creative, and to get the life they really deserve, full of excitement, a sense of completion, joy, self-love, etc.
A few months ago I read a book that’s intention is to erase these false beliefs. It speaks with a very simple, yet comprehensive voice and addresses the real substance of creativity in a well-written, humorous way.
When I first read Big Magic, I was blown away with enthusiasm! Liz Gilbert was in my head, thinking what I was thinking, but she was explaining it in a much more consistent and clear way than I ever could! For that reason I was in total agreement with this book’s title; creativity is definitely “Big Magic”. It explains so well what creativity is really about and how it concerns every single human being!
Creativity, as Gilbert explains, is a fundamental property of human kind, and it cannot be taken away from any of us nor is it exclusive to just one group! The only negative thing that can happen to us concerning creativity is when we become discouraged, afraid of fighting, disinterested and quit our creative behaviour, simply because “others” say we should do so!
Big Magic was a pleasure to read from start to finish. I was so motivated by it that I happily kept notes while I read, noting the most striking points the author makes that can make a person rethink their reluctance to becoming creative and starting afresh!
So, I would like to share this enthusiasm with you via eleven of the most important ideas I took away from this book. I hope these ideas can be an initiating procedure for you and help convince you to make some new “bold” steps on your creative path!
Here they are!
#1 Creativity is not about money. You do not need money to be creative. If this were the case, the more money we get, the more creative we would be and vice versa. Nevertheless, this is not the case. In fact, some of history’s most famous creative minds were very poor by the world’s standards! (p.158)
#2 Creativity is not about masterpieces or fine art. It is about rendering our life better, broader, more fulfilled, more fruitful and a whole lot more interesting. In other words, creativity is the salt and pepper of our lives. (p.12)
#3 “You don’t need anybody’s permission to live a creative life,” Gilbert says on page 86. This is such a strong statement we should shout it all around the world. Especially today, with the stereotypes of modern life hindering creativity and most modern society school systems teaching children to become docile manpower for the mainstream financial system, depriving them of the freedom to express their creativity. Let’s reveal this golden truth! That creativity is the birthright of each and every human being on this planet.
#4 In order to be creative you do not need to create something original or important. Creativity is not about competition or high-end evaluation. It is about expressing the beautiful parts of your soul and mind on this material world. The form of expression is entirely up to you. All that matters is that you feel creative doing it. And that the opinion of others should never hold you back. (p. 98)
#5 Complaining and creativity are incompatible notions. Creativity cannot occur when you complain, simply because inspiration cannot grow wherever complaint exists. Furthermore, no one can work with someone who complains (except psychotherapists of course, who can help transform that negativity into something creative). Everyone has their own troubles in life, but focusing on negative things, and constantly complaining stifles enthusiasm and extinguishes creativity. (p. 117)
#6 Creativity is about enjoying things. And it is about saying openly and boldly that you like your creativity. It is neither shameful nor forbidden to admit that, while creating, you have an awesome time! Dispel the urban legend that says that in order to create you need to suffer. Not true! (p. 118)
#7 Of course, the creativity process may entail frustration. But frustration is not an obstacle for creation. It is a part of the creation process. It is part of our daily life, since rarely we spend time doing what we really love uninterrupted by other obligations (unless we are privileged enough to have others run our errands). So, welcome frustration as a known parameter into you creative routine. It is there to provide a service. To ground you and remind you that there isn’t anything fairytale-ish about the creative process. Once you recognise frustration as such, it will stop negatively affecting you. (p. 149)
#8 Treat your creativity with a constant fresh look, and always with natural curiosity and enthusiasm. Like a new love affair. Never let routine come between you and creativity. This is how you let your creativity flourish and continue to be a source of joy in your life. (p. 161)
#9 Perfectionism is an acid that kills creativity. Creativity doesn’t need perfectionism, because it is a rusty alibi used to avoid being creative. Creativity needs to be messy and sometimes spontaneous, as well as organized and a constant all together in good balance. Perfectionism means there is a fear of acting and moving ahead; a fear of critics or a fear of failure. So a perfectionist ends up demanding unreal perfection without ever taking a first step into creative action. Thus the perfectionist remains a disappointed individual who never acts. What a loss of creative potential! (p. 166)
#10 Creativity is a wholesome way to discipline your mind. Without it, the mind will work on its own and we all know the counter-productive results of this; excessive eating, negative thinking, worrying, destroying relations with our self and others. So keep your mind always on a creative path, to prevent it from self-destructive derailment. It can be a small creative venture or a big one. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is creative! (p.171)
#11 Excessive work does not automatically guarantee creative outcome. It has nothing to do with it actually! Creativity is fueled by devotion not exhaustion or demand. Creativity needs liberty and commitment in a very sensitive balance in order to produce results. (p. 184)
All this indeed sounds like magic, but it is practical, truthful magic. Ms. Gilbert manages to tackle the very sensitive subject of creativity with fluidity and accessible comprehension, yet without diminishing the importance of a very important topic.
Personally, I deeply enjoyed the book. I felt that it gave me not only a boost of creativity, but also the motivation to keep creating by sending me a carefully knit, clear message: “Despite your fears and your barriers, you are on the right track! Keep going!”
Most of all, I believe that this and many other books about creativity offer a great gift to everyone who wishes to have a creative life-style. They shatter the taboos and stereotypes that say that creativity is inaccessible, exclusive, and hard to acquire. Gilbert’s book shows us this mindset is entirely wrong. Creativity is the natural state of all human beings! All it needs is the opportunity to unravel and develop, and a beyond doubt faith that it is ours in whatever shape or form it comes.
I encourage you, of course, to read the entire book for yourself. I strongly believe it is a treat and a pleasure to read. And if you do, I would love to get your feedback and thoughts about what parts inspired you.
Share your comments below this article, on my FB page, or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org . Until then, enjoy your own creativity!
Last modified: November 18, 2018