My Path to Creativity

No one knows where creativity comes from. In this world of outsource everything, the one thing that can set us apart is a creative idea.

I have been subjecting myself to learning something new every few years. Woodworking, particularly hand-tool woodworking has my attention lately. No machines. It is quite challenging. There are motor skills, hand-eye coordinations, etc. that I have to learn from scratch. It is keeping me in the top left corner of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's challenge v/s skill chart.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

I started at apathy and worry before I picked up my first tool. From then on, I have stayed perpetually in the anxiety zone. This probably describes why I am having a challenging time to start woodworking after my break.

A challenging new hobby is uncomfortable. The thought of it is exciting but the practice is hard:
I have to hold the handplane with my calloused hands
I must plane with the right pressure forward and aft of the plane
I have to do it while reading the grain correctly
I have to know when to stop
I have to hold the chisel perfectly perpendicular while hitting the mallet square on the butt
I can not turn to any machine to do this for me.

It is this adversity that gives rise to creativity. Moreover, I get a handmade coffee table out of it.

A challenging education program will have similar effects that a challenging hobby has but I often fear that an education program digs me deeper into the box that I am trying to think outside of. This is specific to my line of work where more experience comes from doing rather than reading.

There is nothing prescribed that helps grow our creativity once a university degree is acquired and once we get comfortable in our careers. Continued education and MBA degrees add more tools to the toolbox, but I doubt they make us more creative.

Creativity is the use of tools, not just acquiring a larger toolbox.