I think we are born to imagine, born to dream. Before my kids ever learned to talk, they were climbing in boxes and trying to drive them away, dancing to music no one else could hear, and wanting me to pretend to be a monster. One of the coolest things about kids is that this propensity to imagine always ends in creation. Their unfettered thoughts and dreams lead to new things, tangible things.
We are wired to create.
And, for a while, this creation happens. Imaginary battles lead to the transformation of sticks into light sabers, trees into giants and the spray of mist whipped up by a spring breeze becomes an angel.
For some reason, though, we stop creating. Madeleine L’Engle, in her book “Walking on Water,” quotes a statistic that at the age of five, 90% of the population measures “high creativity.” By the age of seven, the figure has dropped to 10%. And the percentage of adults with high creativity is only 2%!
Most adults I know have lots of ideas. But when it actually comes to doing something about it? Not so much. Sure, they make stuff at work, they write proposals that bore them to tears, they join committees and attend meetings and put together memos. But the stuff they dream about, the stuff they want to create, gets trampled by the to-do list separating them from that next raise.
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I’ve personally come across hundreds of people with a book idea, but only a dozen or so who ever followed through and started writing. And of those who started, I only personally know a few who have ever finished.
I’m sure the same can be said of painters, entrepreneurs, photographers, builders, actors, preachers, professors…the list goes on. Everyone has a dream, an idea, a thought, but how many of us have followed through?
How many haven’t just imagined, but created?
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But I thought we just established the fact that we are, from a very early age, wired to create? What happens to an earthload of people who are wired to do something, have the inclination to do it, but, for whatever reason, never do it?
Feelings of entitlement.
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I’m not saying that the physical act of creation would alleviate all of the aforementioned things. But I do know some people who claim that their writing saved their life. I’ve seen folks, whose lives have been shattered by death or broken relationships, salvage the remains by creating art, or starting a business, or pulling together a charitable organization.
What would you create, if you let yourself return to a state of high-creativity?
How has creativity healed or freed you?