The subject of creativity suddenly found some fascination for me when i read an excerpt from David Burkus book “Myths of Creativity”. It really set off questions in mind. One of the many being “what is the factor that makes some people creative and some people doomed to a dry spell of mental listlessness.” I don’t pretend to have all my answers yet but something triggered, one of the many epiphanies i hope to experience in my search for answers.
I found that MOTIVATION though not everything is so critical to creativity. I don’t intend to pretend an advanced knowledge of psychology but a keenly self-aware individual can relate from personal history, the link between his creative spates and the moments when there were an abundant presence of intrinsic motivation. While much has been said in favour of the importance of creativity in today’s 21st century workplace, most organizations have not paid enough attention to the importance of motivation in matching talents and task. Even the educational system has not helped much in this regard.
The essence of what I’m trying to do here is to make a case for those who think they have lost their creative juices. I want them to consider if they are functioning in the space of their intrinsic motivation. Let us clarify – are you in a job that fuels your desire for expression or does it merely earn you a living? As a student, are you studying a course for which you have a natural passion or you are merely cramming for the grades, like i did? Your answers determine among other things why we haven’t seen the best of you yet, why you haven’t produced quality work that will wow us.
Excellence is hard enough a task and a habit if you find yourself consistently doing something without intrinsic motivation. I’m not excusing laziness because quality and creative effort does demand a great deal of effort. I only intend to clarify that hard work is less burdensome when there is intrinsic motivation. It should be made clear that not all task will call forth our intrinsic motivation, i only advocate we ensure most task do. Observing this rule is the beginning of creative effort and a half-won battle against inertia.
By mere grit, you can excel at any task, a course or anything whatsoever but considerable energy than necessary is expended and it is often joyless. I will seek to provide more insight in other posts how to find and release your intrinsic motivation. I believe when we get into that state of flow that intrinsic motivation sponsors, we will often find our creative self delivering outstanding results that will energize us. Research for a project is easier, a student’s study time becomes less of a chore, staffs are engaged and organizations experience a turn-around.
The bottom line remains – when we are motivated, we are creative.