I was listening to a recent Ted talk about creativity (you can find it here: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/351538855/the-source-of-creativity) and came to realize that creativity can be used to soften the edges of perfectionism.

In this talk, Sting is interviewed about his creative process.  When asked what creativity means to him, he stated that it means taking risks.  To risk what, exactly?  I think he meant to risk failure.  To risk being “good enough” for the sake of a final product that could be enormously innovative and creative.  Later on in the talk, they discuss how practice does not mean perfect, rather it means being more comfortable with not being perfect.  So how can you practice creativity in your life to not be perfect?  How can we embrace the wonderful, boundless, chaotic, messy realm of creativity to grow?

The problem with perfectionism is it is limiting.  It means never taking risks.  It means rigidly adhering to one arbitrary, unrealistic manner of approaching life.  It leaves no room for growth or improvement.  Nor does it leave any room for the very real parts of life that involve spontaneity (in and of itself a creative process), which is embedded in everything we do.  If you think about it, we are constantly asked to be spontaneous in our every day life, because we cannot predict anything.  In our daily lives, most of us must commute, have exchanges with people, and deal with all sorts of unknowns.  If we can be creative and adaptive with these unknowns, life has the possibility to be a much more joyful experience.

If we take time in our lives to dedicate ourselves to do something that can be highly creative, (such as music, visual arts, film, writing, blogging, cooking, gardening, dancing, playing with our kids, etc.) we give ourselves the opportunity to grow, to expand, to think of things differently and to discover our self-imposed limits.

What does creativity mean to you?