Where Does Creativity Come From?

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The million dollar question. The billion dollar answer.

Where does creativity come from? People are focused. People are creative by nature. Is it nature or is it nurture? Are there lighting bolts of inspiration that hit us out of the blue? Is creativity the same as going to work (meaning, it just happens when you show up to do it)? There are so many studies, so many business books, so many more questions on this, specific, topic. One thing we do know: When we see something creative, it typically sits with us. We remember it. We talk about it. We share it with others. We are all in this creative business. For the most part, we’re all trying to get our ideas (which, at their core, are creative) to be heard. The more people who read this, watch the video below, and share it, the better I feel. The more accomplished my work is. With that, we live in complex times. There are so many places to publish ideas, that creativity now lurks around every corner.

The act of creating something now lies in all of our hands.

So, where does great work come from? Do the real creative geniuses of our time just sit down, and it pours out. Clearly, it’s a struggle. And yes, the struggle is real. If you’ve ever done anything creative, you know this. As a writer, there are some days when the words flow effortlessly, and then moments when not a word makes any sense. It’s classic. It’s something that we all deal with. Many believe that we need the perfect situation for our creativity to flow. We need to not be disrupted or distracted or faced with problems for our best work to flow with muse.

What, if being disrupted or getting distracted actually was the source of better ideas? 

Well, here’s a thought: perhaps the challenges, disruptions and roadblocks actually make us more creative than ever. Our need to focus on solving these issues and little messes in our lives help us to solve not only those, specific, problems but unlock new (and much needed) layers of creativity. This what Tim Harford believes. Hartford is best known for his book (and popular Financial Times column), The Undercover Economist (he has a slew of other bestsellers too). In this TED talk (which has a heavy slant towards behavioural economics), he shares more than a few stories about how some of the most creative challenges were created when the artist was actually busy dealing with “other stuff,” and the magic that can come from it.

What do you think? Is being driven to distraction a strong creative fuel for you? Watch this