At the halfway mark of the year, it's a great time to regroup, reconnect, and recharge. This year has been moving at lightning speed and the pace, along with the ubiquitous change, has made for a challenging year so far. I've welcomed the slower pace of summertime this year and I've been reminded yet again that our current ways aren't working.
Everybody's a critique. Paul Cézanne, the Post-Impressionist painter, was mercilessly ridiculed by critics when he exhibited with the Impressionists. Claude Monet's paintings were called "formless, unfinished and ugly." Aside from the art of perseverance, what can the greatest artists of all time teach us? Here are my top 10 takeaways.
I have experienced firsthand the internal withering that comes from slinking away from a creative existence. I have also felt the expansiveness, the joy and delight that comes from choosing imagination and possibility. I don't think it's too dramatic or petulant to say that life without imagination sucks.
There's a lot of pressure on 20-somethings these days to discover your calling, define yourself or find your passion. We read blogs or hear speeches by creative types who are living the dream: they have that "spark" in their career, they're making something meaningful and they're loving it. Here's how you can as well.
In February, 2012, as I worked to complete my book, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was thrust into a world of MRIs, visits to the cancer clinic, operations, radiation. I was afraid. Yet, to my surprise, I found myself writing in a more focused way than ever before, with more efficiency and less drama. Even on bad days, I headed to my desk. By disappearing into writing, I had a refuge, and to my surprise the stories I had been having trouble finishing finished themselves. The cancer may have nailed me, but I really felt, as I sat writing under that apple tree, that I was nailing it back.
Researchers at Michigan State University just published a study drawing a strong line between creative arts and scientific acumen. The researchers found that, of 82 students who had graduated from science, technology, engineering and math programs at MSU's elite Honours College, 93 per cent had music training at some point in their lives.
One story that Shapiro shared was of the challenges facing Houston Airport, where luggage would be available within eight minutes but passengers were at the luggage carousel within one minute and disgruntled about having to wait. The answer: airport staff created a longer path to collect luggage which took eight minutes, so luggage and passengers arrived at the same time.
Creativity is the design of novel and useful products. Exploring the world through creative and innovative lenses results in solutions to challenges. Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing play is essential. It's what creativity goes with and cities need to be more playful to keep talented creative people: which is why Emily Smith started the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire.
The most common view of the human mind assumes that our normal way of thinking consists of concentrated focus upon immediate tasks at hand. But researchers have found that this is not the case. Daydreaming is now considered to be the normal state of our minds, with focus appearing as a break from the more common mind wandering.
Most of us grow up on the belief that we're either creative or not. The number of times I've had colleagues tell me that they "just don't think that way" is shockingly high. But in actuality, creativity is a learned skill. Most of us grow up on the belief that we're either creative or not. The number of times I've had colleagues tell me that they "just don't think that way" is shockingly high. But in actuality, creativity is a learned skill.
I was introduced to Minecraft by my son, who was nine at the time. I would ask him to stop watching Minecraft videos, which he seemed addicted to. When he started playing, I asked him to get off the computer and get outside. All parents do this, but few of us take the time to truly understand what it is our kids are really doing on that computer. Well my son, now 10, has taught me a huge lesson.
So many awful things have been happening recently around the world. But there are things that we, as individuals, can do to bring back inspiration and hope to the world in small ways. I recently read about a fellow Canadian blogger, Taslim Jaffer, who is doing her own "pay it forward" in a uniquely creative way with her Make-A-Wave Cards. Why not do our part and fill the world with a little bit of hope?