(Approx 2 min read)
“I would never ever do something as crazy as skydiving. I can’t do something so absurd. Do I look insane to you? You’re mad!”
I’d never do anything as extreme as that I thought. But guess who looks forward to skydiving now? I can see the seeds that led a shut-in neet who only ever lived for gaming like myself to enjoy and seek after the more adventurous lifestyle. It started simple… a bicycle with training wheels for balance, removing the training wheels, then in-line skates, sand boarding and finally the Disney rollercoaster known as ‘Screaming’. All of these newfound experiences shattered a fear harboured and ignited a curiosity for more. This is our topic for today.
Far too often we limit ourselves because of mindsets often reinforced by our speech. The words “I can’t” are more powerful than we give them credit for. I advise against using them and instead adopting the phrase “I do not want“. “Why?” you ask? Well…
‘From the depths of the heart the mouth speaks‘. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ To get us speaking right, we need to be feeding right information into our minds.
To get us out of our comfort zone in terms of speech, which is the first step towards achieving what we are aiming for, we need to diversify the sources of information we take in. Am I using too many words? I feel like it. So what do we need in one word? Exposure.
How did you know that you liked your favourite meal? You tasted it, right? Therefore would it be crazy to say that without tasting that particular meal, it wouldn’t be your favourite? I assume you say that’s a logical conclusion… but that doesn’t change the fact that you were always going to enjoy that meal – all that was missing was your experience of it. In other words, the things we enjoy more than anything are out there, they exist. They are perpetually waiting for us to encounter them, experience them, live them and enjoy them. But you can’t enjoy something you don’t encounter. You can’t do something you don’t know or never hear about. Want to get out of your comfort zone of thinking and in doing so speaking? Start by expanding the content you feed your brain.
Thank God for the internet.
Thank God for you.
Let’s meet again tomorrow.
photo cred: www.sclance.com
To wrap up the Creativity: Exposure mini-series I would like to throw in a simple suggestion. If you’ve been watching American television or British television or Bollywood films all your life – to expand your creative thinking I suggest consuming products from different parts of the world than what you’re accustomed to.
We’ve already talked about the benefit of watching shows from different genres, now we will look at watching films steeped in different cultures. There was a stage in my life where shows like ‘Passions’ and ‘The Bold And The Beautiful’ were a staple. Those soaps and the mostly American and British books I read formed the bedrock of romance in my mind. It was no surprise then that my stories would mirror the themes that were the hallmark of those two cultures (which are more similar than most). Enter Bollywood – and there was a substantial shift. Now it wasn’t mainly about deception or conniving or charming your way into someone’s life but there was all this colour and impressing through talent (mainly musical) that I hadn’t encountered. Relationships were no longer founded just on power and money and beauty but on far much more. Furthermore in the ideas bandied about during the draft stages of my writing there was the introduction of a class barrier and finding love in arranged marriages… or the pursuit of forbidden love – concepts that were rare in Western media but commonplace in the Bollywood movies I watched. Did I mention the use of music to drive home whatever emotions the director wanted the viewer to feel? That was the time my writing rhythm underwent a revolution. Then came the Korean drama era where there was far more emphasis on the spoken word and the way they were delivered than in any other form of television I had seen up to that point. Lastly came the anime phase and there was another complete 180 degree shift with creative humour not only based on crude innuendos or the use of vulgar language (apparently they don’t specialise in Japanese) but the introduction of jokes based on the culture and tradition of the time.
My mind was learning the art of contortion, performing complex acrobatics to cater for all of these different ways to tell the same story… all because it wasn’t limited to watching films from a localised geography. Yours shouldn’t be either.
This concludes our Creativity: Exposure mini-series. I will talk about The Importance Of A Creative Ending and give an example in another double post to cap off the Creativity series tomorrow.
photo cred: Alexey Y Petrov
I have edited the first part of the Exposure mini-series as I believe it was not as clear as I wanted it to be. It is now so have do have a look at it at:
You probably already know this but I’ll say it anyway. One way to remarkable boost your creativity is to travel. Experiencing a different culture, drastically different weather, a diversity in people, language and viewing different geographical landscapes will expand your mind in a way very few things can.
Travelling allows you to have a full-on dose of new.
If you’ve never been to a place before, every interaction you have with the people and things in that region is a learning experience as opposed to the automatic response to the more repetitive, maddening monotony of local sameness.
Travel isn’t just limited to crossing borders. There is an immense growth spurt in creativity that can occur just by visiting a new coffee shop or checking out a new part of town you haven’t been to yet; or going to the outskirts of your district and participating in paintball or skirting the mountainous region you wanted to visit but found baseless reasons to put off doing so. The exposure you seek to stretch the self-imposed limits of one’s imagination can be done by making a conscious decision to visit, try, taste and experience something new. Where better to do so than a region where everything around you is new?
I certainly wouldn’t have been able to have the diversity that I achieve in my posts and in the 16 short stories in my collection were it not for my travels – beyond borders and also just beyond my neighbourhood.
I am a little annoyed as I have my posts planned 3 days in advance and yet I somehow missed posting on Friday night. The good news is I will double post tomorrow to make up for it as we begin and conclude a 3-part miniseries called ‘Creativity: Exposure’.
So… Creativity is a function of our minds. As we continue to stretch our mental muscles there is inevitably going to be a wall ahead of us. This is because our minds can only create with the information they take in. We don’t create new information – not truly, we manipulate existing information and change it into something new. This means that the intake of information is necessary for creativity to keep being vibrant and fresh.
What if I read the same type of information all the time? Does that not limit the creativity of what I produce? I recall a time when all I would read ‘Romance’ novels and all I would produce would have romantic connotations. To broaden the scope of ones ideas it is therefore necessary to read widely, touching on all genres and reading books from different eras. See how you grow in terms of imagination when you do just that.
Books are crystallised sources of information that may have been compiled over a lifetime. That’s why we have all these books. The more you read the more “lives” you live in this one that you’re given.
Books are simply exposure in the form of pages.
I never used to like novels. I started reading out of a sense of competition. Someone in my class in 7th grade bragged to me about how they had filled their entire library slip and laughed at how I only had three books ticked off of mine. I was so annoyed I secretly vowed to read more and fill more slips that he ever would. That’s when I discovered the amazement of other people’s creativity. That ushered in the many trips to the hundreds of worlds I have visited while seated on a bench or lying in my bed. That’s how I ended up reading over 350+ novels in my time at St. George’s College… My tip to you? Read for that exposure and watch your creativity blossom.