In an earlier article posted in February I have described how “CorporateTheatre” understands and addresses ‘Creativity’. The “CorporateTheatre” experience defines creativity as a committed, competent, and free response to the need of the moment, and not as ‘trying to be different’. When one deliberately focuses on trying to be different, it often blocks creativity and innovation.
As described in the earlier article, the primary platform needed to be creative, is to experience oneself and the world around us, including other people, as ‘processes’ and not as ‘products’. As ‘products’ this is the way I am, and this is the way I will be. I fit within specified labels. As a ‘process’, that is the way I was, this is the way I currently am, and what I will be tomorrow depends on my experience of tomorrow. I am in a state of constant adaptation and response to the moment as perceived with freedom from patterns, and with clear objectivity.
In this sense, given the freedom we are all creative. That is our true nature. And when people are free to express themselves without fear of rejection or ridicule (without self-consciousness), there is innovation. Creativity is the perspective and innovation, the tangible expression of this natural creativity.
I recently came across two striking examples of natural creativity as different from a forced effort to be different and original.
A couple of weeks ago I stayed in a new, high profile, 5-star hotel. The designs and the colour schemes were eye catching. Everything looked different and it was obvious that a lot of effort had been put in to make the ambience unusual. The furniture in the plush, spacious lobby were like sculptures and looked very inviting. However, when I sat on them, they were extremely uncomfortable. I was escorted to my room by a well attired concierge staff. Large room, soft lighting, thick lush carpet, spacious washroom with exotic fittings. And a commode which looked like a cube stuck into the wall. Absolutely square. Looked fascinatingly different. However, when I began to use them, they were painfully dysfunctional. There was no way of taking a shower without the water flowing into the rest of the washroom from the shower cubicle. The commode was so very uncomfortable that I dreaded having to use it. When I discussed this with the management, they agreed that there had been many complaints about the washroom design.
Obviously, the designer had been compelled by the desperate need to be different and ended up by being dysfunctional.
In contrast, I recently discovered a very humble product that exemplifies creativity at its best. A simple ‘Homelite’ matchbox. One night, the power went off at home, and the house was plunged in darkness. We had forgotten to turn the emergency lamp on and I went in search of the matchbox. I knew roughly where it was usually kept and I headed in that direction. As I neared the spot, I saw something glowing in darkness. To my surprise and delight, the glow came from the radium coating on the matchbox. The name ‘Homelite’ on the matchbox label had been coated with radium. What a simple creative solution for a very pertinent need.
This same attitude can also empower personal and professional relationships. Often, when we meet a person, we see not just the person and also a lot of what we have seen and experienced about that person before. We see a labelled product. Creative perception would mean that we do not use these labels. True, a person may have made a mistake, and bungled up a project or an assignment earlier. It is also possible that the person may have learned from the mistake and changed his or her attitude and skill. If we can approach the person without the labels of the past and from a fresh perspective, then there is creativity in the relationship and new and often positive possibilities open up for us as well as the other.
A creative perspective can help us experience the wisdom contained in the deeply meaningful Zen statement,
“You never step in the same river twice”.
As you step in and step out, the river flows on, and you cannot step into the same water again. We, and everything around us is in a state of flow, very much like the river. If we understand this flow, every moment is a new adventure and there is no monotony in life or in relationships.