Thursday, March 21, 2013

Creativity is a Life Skill
Creativity is a double-edged sword. I have been a creative soul my entire life. Marching to the beat of a different drummer got me into trouble at school and in the workplace. Teachers interpreted my inquisitiveness as rebellion and bosses thought my desire to explore alternatives as insubordination.
In life we get so many mixed messages about the importance of creativity. In the corporate world, bosses and consultants told us to "think outside the box" and "challenge the status quo". They also claimed to have an "open door policy". Well good luck with that. Anyone who dared take them at their word was quickly admonished, told to "follow the chain of command" and at worst, fired. Tell me what I want to hear, was more like it.
I didn't know at the time that my creativity was getting in the way. It wasn't until a very enlightened boss (rare, I know) sent me on a marketing executive course at Queens University that I finally understood why.
Before the course, we were required to take the Herrmann Brain Dominance Test. It is an instrument used to measure your preferred thinking style. There are four modes of thinking style: Analytical; Sequential; Interpersonal and Imaginative.
While I scored high in the first three, the fourth, imaginative thinking, was literally off the chart. At the start of the class we were asked to gather with the others who scored in our dominant class of thinking style. No surprise that the imaginative thinking group was the smallest.
Creativity is difficult in a world that is based on following schedules, obeying rules and staying within social norms. Thankfully creativity can still co-exist with routine and be nurtured, and appropriately applied.
I find sewing, fashion sewing in particular, to be a fulfilling creative pursuit. Even if I am following a pattern, I am choosing the fabric, the buttons, the embellishments. The analytical and sequential thinking is required to put it together. But the creativity is envisioning the finished product and adding the personal touches.
Creative pursuits have sustained me and nurtured my soul. It has allowed me to finally be doing exactly what I want to do. And I feel a wonderful connection to all the other creative people I meet because of sewing. Creativity is not a hobby. It's a life skill.