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On Reading “The Element” – Part 2

December 10, 2009

On page 77, the author, Dr. Ken Robinson, writes about creativity:

“Being cretive is about making fresh connections so that we see things in new ways and from different perspectives.”

I’m reading this book because I want to find my Element. My purpose. My passion. Whatever you want to call it. I have the distinct sense that I have one, and also the distinct sense that I haven’t found it yet.

I feel like when I find it, it will resonate with me like I am a church bell, and someone just pulled my rope. I will vibrate with this joyous feeling, almost a sound, of rightness. I will have found my place in the universe.

Dr. Robinson is writing about creativity, and how people are differently creative they way they are differently intelligent, and people who don’t think they’re creative just haven’t found the right medium (Chapter 3, “Beyond Imagining”).

People say I’m creative. But then people say I’m intelligent. I don’t know what they mean when they say that. I know that I want to be creative. I want to be someone who “makes connections” and “sees things in new ways and from different perspectives.”

I want to be someone who has good ideas (imagination) and then acts on them (creativity). Thus far in my life, I’ve just had good ideas. And sometimes I think that all my good ideas have wandered off. Eventually, out of the blue, one will strike me, and I’m reminded that if I pay attention, I get struck more often.

It’s so easy to coast along in the daily humdrum of life. Get up. Drive to work. Work. Lunch. Work. Drive home. Think about doing something interesting but really just veg out in front of a screen. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is more to life than that.

My problem is, I have too many things I want to do. I have too many things I want to pursue, and I get overwhelmed and then I don’t choose.

What if I’ve already found my purpose, in among my musings, and I wasn’t paying attention? What if it’s sitting there, in a pile with all of the other things I’ve thought about pursuing but didn’t because they didn’t seem to quite fit?

My mom (who is brilliant and wonderful) suggested I try painting and see if I found any answers that way. I had fun doing it, but I think I’m trying to hard. I think I need to practice not trying so hard.

Dr. Robinson writes: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never produce anything original.” If there’s anything that my “education” has done negatively for me, it’s make me terrified to be wrong. I have a tendency toward that anyway, and my vaunted private education didn’t help. But knowing that… knowing that, I can work to overcome it. Because I want to produce something original. I want to be creative, and intelligent, and all of those other things that the people I admire are.

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