7.6 billion human beings live on this planet. 7.6 billion people. Which, theoretically, means there are 7.6 billion unique individuals with distinctive ways of thinking, right?
We’d like to assume so, though, sadly - that’s not the truth. If we study the history of our species, we will come to notice that this era has the most uncreative human beings ever to have lived on earth. Yes, it’s true that the 21st Century is the “Age of Information”.
But, can information alone be of any use to us if we cannot use it to produce something creative? Something new, that benefits all of humanity? Let’s try to dig a little deeper into why humans are becoming more uncreative day by day and what we need to know to snap out of this hamster wheel.
You Are Your Own Standard: We’re Called Individuals For A Reason
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” – Albert Einstein
Let’s face it - we judge. We’re judging each other all the time. Yes, it is true that globalization has done wonders for humanity. But, it is also true that it has universalized certain traits that everyone is expected to objectively follow. Embracing one’s own individuality has become damn near sinister in the post-modern world.
The thing is, we fail to understand that each and every one of us has a unique background, a different story to tell, and a unique purpose in life. Not everyone is supposed to go to school, then go to college, then get a mediocre job, get married, pay bills, and die. Somehow, our society has - through its soft power, made this routine and cycle of life an expectation. And, as we’re programmed to follow the herd, we adhere to that expectation.
For instance, if a kid wants to learn music and become a rockstar, the only way he could practice music is on his own time because math, chemistry, and history are primary subjects that have been implied as a priority. Not only that, but the kid is also likely to face judgment about how XYZ family’s kids are so much better than him because they concentrate on their studies and not on “extracurricular activities”.
This is how we grow up and this is how we bring up our children; consciously or subconsciously. Truth is, we’ve never been fully equipped to live with an open mind, free and with the confidence to chase our dreams. Not only that, but we also don’t have the capabilities as a culture to be resourceful enough to make what we want to happen – happen. Which is where the fear and settlement kicks in. Now – there’s no love lost. You see – it’s because of this fear, lack of experience, and education that we become protective of ourselves and our children.
We are moving at a very fast pace. And, the problem is, many of us don’t really know if we're moving in a direction. We follow the masses. There’s one surefire way to know that you’re moving in the right direction… and that is, to know your purpose; and trust it.
What are you meant to do? What fires you up inside? If you don’t decide for yourself, trust and believe someone else will! If you’re someone who is indecisive and really lacks confidence, that may sound like the convenient option – but it only leads to one road – identity crisis.
As Albert Einstein said, if we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid. Similarly, you think about the fact that we are wildly unique beings with a purpose of our own, it sounds silly to not only compare ourselves to others but beat ourselves up for not aligning with someone else’s unique destiny, or even worst – following the trend!
If they can do it, so can you – But do you REALLY WANT to?
One would assume that all of us have our own dreams. But sadly, we just have one. The American Dream - and the people that are uninterested in this glamorous trail; we alienate them. We call them names. We induce a sense of FOMO in them. Until they become one of us. We, as a society, share a collective consciousness, which runs on the idea that every one of us constantly tries to replicate each other’s dreams, ambitions, and ideas so that we do not get left behind.
We assume that whatever the masses do, is right because everyone is doing it without question, so we follow and become apart of the herd. Eyes wide shut. We’re, naturally, so insecure because of society and the masses, yet we do not recognize that it is the masses that are insecure.
What we fail to understand is that life is not some sort of a race that we have to win.
Each of us has our own part to play in this universe; and we find it from within. There is no competition – there is no race. To live is to know yourself, to know what you’re capable of, to know what you’re passionate about, and to embrace yourself and YOUR goals. To experience. To grow!
We get so busy trying to follow the trends of society that somewhere along the line, we forget the dreams we used to have as children; or even now. We forget who we are. We sacrifice our purpose and lives for a group of people that have no clue what they want or what they’re doing.
It’s like a never-ending bandwagon effect that the whole world is following.
Be amazing individually or be average collectively
All of us can be amazing differently. But we tend to stay average collectively. Just imagine, 7.6 billion people embracing their own distinctive traits and ideas; what kind of a world would that be? Much better than the one we’re currently living in, that’s for sure.
The wild part is that the domino effect of this toxic trend of staying average collectively tends to overshadow the whole world. We set uniform goals and standards for all of us; then we turn around and practically shame each other for not being different. And, for the ones who are different – meet the conspiracy theorist, the extremist, the irresponsible artist, the weirdo, or my favorite, the rebel.
Now – don’t get me wrong, the world has made great strides on many accounts, but there’s a reason we, individually, or even collectively, still feel buckled down. And it’s because we’ve taken big strides on the outside, but not so much on the inside. We’ve been programmed to only comprehend and react to what we SEE – not what we feel internally.
This is why it’s so hard to MOVE. We’re cramped in an open space…
Imagine birds of different breeds crowed in a cage with its door open. Each of them interested to snatch the worms from one another; each of them impressed by the one with the most worms – but none of them dares to fly out of the cage and experience freedom. If they fly out, they might be able to find better food, better shelter, and a better life. They’d be able to fly – do what they’re meant to do, go where they want to go without the social, political drama. But instead they’d stay inside the cage all their lives. Just like us. Living our lives like we have been given scripts to follow.
Innovation Vs. Creation
More often than not, we confuse ourselves between innovation and creation. There is a difference between being ‘innovative’ and being ‘creative’. Joining in and multiplying ideas which already exist, build creative ideas. They are just a better mix of something that’s already been done.
Now, you must be wondering about people like Steve Jobs in the area of Business Innovation? Steve Jobs was obviously incredibly creative and an innovator in his own way. He produced great products for the consumers. However, what he produced was a mixture of previously formed ideas. Not completely out of the box, so to say.
Innovative ideas on the other hand, are essentially built from scratch; they are intrinsically original and unique. Let’s take an example of Bill Gates VS Steve Jobs.
Bill Gates invented the first operating system for the computer. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, used his creativity to build Gates’ already built operating system to a smarter version and called it the ‘Mac’. What Bill Gates made was purely a unique invention, something that the world witnessed for the first time. Steve Jobs used his creativity to make something that was expected one way or the other in the near future. Same deal with smartphones.
So while we’re creative in our own ways and try to work on pre-existing ideas to create new things, most of us are afraid of thinking out of the box and innovating something from scratch. It intimidates us to think about how people would react to our ideas. And so we find comfort in working along the same lines as our peers have. This not only results in slowing down our rate of progress but also rusts our thought processes.
It’s time to be YOU – niquE
So the question is – How to be “creative”? How to be YOU-nique?
It’s simple. Don’t just follow the trends, be better than that. Create. Think. Think distinctively based upon your own spiral of creative thoughts. Create something from scratch. Build something that no one has ever wildly imagined of witnessing. Jean-Paul Sartre gave birth to Existentialism, Nicola Tesla gave birth to Alternating Current in Science, Metallica gave birth to Heavy Metal music genre, Albert Camus gave birth to Absurdist Philosophy, Georges Braque gave birth to Cubism in the realm of art.
What makes YOU any lesser creative than all of these people? We are all artists because we are all unique; and we're here for a unique purpose. We all have the power to be the leader of our life.
To be great.
When are you going to ditch the herd and embrace your individuality?
To live and think outside the box? To be you?