Creativity

I am finally convinced that I am a pretty creative person as my mind constantly wanders into unimagined areas of thought. In my retirement years, I have done a pretty good job of cultivating my creative processes.  But I am always looking for ways to unleash my creativity to new areas and levels. When I ran across this article from the New York Times it gave me a different way to think about creativity.

2018-02-07_11-09-43.pngWe all have fantasies or, if you prefer, ideas. I will give them a different word: “Seeds.” These seeds are the germ-line of books, short stories, songs, the faces in a painting. Sometimes, when the idea is for a gadget that might, say, keep that guy in the car next to you from texting and driving, it’s the seed of an app or business. If it’s a doodle made during a boring corporate meeting, it’s the seed of an art project; the mixture of the barbecue sauce with the onions and the lemon might be the seed of the next, great slow-cooking invention…

Another quick tale to make the point: A family friend once told me that, in college, he was curious to find out whether he was creative so he picked up an easel at the store. He painted for 10 minutes, put down the brush and declared himself not remotely creative. But he went on to make tens of millions of dollars as an entrepreneur. He had mistakenly conflated artistic creativity with any type of creativity. But not all creativity looks the same, and it doesn’t take the same name.

via How to Be Creative – A year of living better Guides – The New York Times

I have been retired from the corporate world for a while now and therefore have a lot of time to create “seeds” and indeed I have created many of them. It is not as if I didn’t do it before but then as the bible says the seeds mostly fell on rocky ground and quickly died. Being able to concentrate on something as long as you want is one of the premier joys of retirement.

canstockphoto14469250These seeds when they come are now quickly written down and then planted in my brain to see if they sprout. Sometimes my desktop looks like an advertisement for post-it notepads. Sometimes my mind is so filled with seeds its hard to do everyday things. 🙂 One of those seeds that ended up being a five-year project as documented in my blog RedLetterLiving.net.  That is where I studied how Christian organizations did or didn’t follow the words of Jesus.

Of course, most of the posts here on RJsCorner also started as seeds. Looking at the current standings, I have 3,240 published posts, 35 drafts/seeds in various forms of completion, and a dozen scheduled posts. That is a lot of creative seeds as far as I am concerned!

I have about 20,000 photos now that I use my creativity to take and enhance. Many of those now reside in my Flickr account and many are here on RJsCorner.

Not all creativity looks the same. What do you do with your creativity??

 

Never Alone…

I have let it be known before that I am a mall walker.  Every Friday I walk up to three miles at the local mall. It is good and safe exercise for this 70+-year-old deaf guy. 🙂  One of the things I do pretty regularly during these mall walks is to take unofficial surveys.  Sometimes I count the number of women wearing heels higher than 1 inch (around 2%). This time I chose to count the number of kids younger than thirty who are walking the mall clinging their cell phones. I’m not talking about them having them in their pants, but actually never letting go of them.  Many of those weren’t actually using or looking at their phones, they were just holding them. I was quite surprised by the results.

2018-01-26_16-25-59.pngI counted about 45 people in this age category and 30 of them were holding their phones. Of the fifteen who weren’t, eleven were men an four were women carrying babies or packages.

I am a techie so of course I most often have my cell with me when I leave the house.  I average about 25 text messages a month and zero calls so that makes me an extremely light user according to statistics:

According to a New York Times report, both teens and adults check their smartphones 150 times per day (or every six minutes), and send an average of 110 texts per day.
For many teenagers these days, texting is passé, so they have upgraded to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram—suggesting that these numbers may not represent actual usage.

Around 46 percent of smartphone users say that they “couldn’t live without” their phone, and one-in-three would rather give up sex than their cell phone…

More Teen Statistics

  • 2018-02-28_19-26-45.png92 percent of teens go online daily, and 24 percent say they are online “almost constantly.”
  • 76 percent of teens use social media (81 percent of older teens, 68 percent of teens ages 13 and 14).
  • 71 percent of teens use Facebook, 52 percent use Instagram, 41 percent use Snapchat, 33 percent use Twitter.
  • 77 percent of parents say their teens get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they’re together.
  • 59 percent of parents say they feel their teen is addicted to their mobile device.
  • 50 percent of teens say they feel addicted to their mobile device.

via Cell Phone Addiction in Teens is Real: Scary Statistics & Some Helpful Advice. | elephant journal

The crux to all of this at least to me is that most teenagers are never alone as they are constantly sending or receiving messages to and from others. Most sleep with their cellphone on their nightstands. I imagine some even hold on to them when they sleep.

Creativity almost always starts with the person alone with their thoughts. How can that happen now? Are we stifling creativity in this generation?  I don’t want to sound like an old person who laments for the “good old days” but I think something has to change in the coming years.

Creativity In Tin.

The tinsmiths of our early years were certainly a creative bunch. They fabricated many of the utensils we needed to live everyday life. Here are some pictures of one such shop found in the Nauvoo Village in northern Illinois.

Tin Smiths

Tin Smiths-2

Box Of Eggs..

Sometimes creative things sneak up on you. That was the case when I came across this picture in an Des Moine museum a few ago.  I don’t know who put this box of eggs together but they were genius.

Box of Eggs

Creativity and Age..

Let’s face it, most people believe that old people just can’t be creative.  Of course, the definition of old varies widely among those with that belief. Some think if you are past 30 you are drained of creativity. You can call this bias if you want since it is pretty much ingrained into our society. I think the average age of the employees of Silicon Valley tech companies is about 30.

canstockphoto25890140.jpgBut in reality, some people get more creative as they grow older.   A 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers. I had a couple of mundane patents when I was working in the corporate world but for the most part, I never considered myself to be creative until I left that world in my early 50s.

It was not until I opened up my own custom cabinets shop that the creative bug bit me. I designed and built a wide line of custom made furniture. No two customers wanted exactly the same thing so my creative juices were constantly used during that six year period.  Like most things in my life, after I get good at something I usually also get bored with it and am ready to move on to something else.

In the twelve years since shutting down that furniture making shop my creative energies have gone into my photography and writing. I have done a lot of traveling in my region of the country and beyond. For me personally my creativity has grown as I have aged. Part of that might be due to the stifling atmosphere of many large companies. I can still remember one of my corporate bosses saying to embrace risk but to never fail?  If you never fail are you embracing risk?  That logic escaped me then and still does.