From time to time I write about creativity, and invariably it creates an energetic discussion. Are we born creative? Is it learned? Is it a gene? Maria Popova of Brain Pickings (one of my favorite sites) recently revealed in an interview what I think is a wonderful definition of creativity – both practical creativity and moral creativity. Take a look and let me know what you think:
The ability to connect the seemingly unconnected and meld existing knowledge into new insight about some element of how the world works. That’s practical creativity. Then there’s moral creativity: To apply that skill towards some kind of wisdom on how the world ought to work.
– Maria Popova
Essentially for Popova, creativity isn’t just coming up with new insights, it’s also the ability to make connections. And this is something most of us need to hear: You may not be a Michelangelo, Steve Jobs, or Ernest Hemingway. You may not have unique insight that no one else has ever considered. But if you have the ability to “connect the dots” – to make unusual associations from existing information that reveals new ideas and insights – then you are absolutely creative.
And when it comes to moral creativity, in her words: “To apply that skill towards some kind of wisdom on how the world ought to work” – well, that might be the best application of creativity, period.
How do you stack up? Do you often make connections that others haven’t considered?