Creativity – Is there a limit?

The question about whether there is a limit to creativity divides opinion.

Maya Angelou said that you can’t use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have it. Although some of us readily agree, others believe that the mind and social influences can limit creativity. One thing that is sure is that there are no clear cut answers.

My experience leads me to be on the middle of the argument. For the longest, I believed that I was not creative and I had no imagination. My life changed when I introduced creativity into my life. Even the I believed all I could do was to take snapshots and document what’s around me. But my yearning to do more became bigger than just simply documenting. So I decided that I had to do the hard part of my journey. Learning to express myself.

What is creativity?

The ancient Greeks believed that inspiration came from the muses. They had no official terms for it and neither did the Romans. It was only until the Renaissance period that people truly started to express their sense of individuality and freedom.

But the first use of the word creativity to describe something made by an individual was made by the 17th Century Polish poet and theorist Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski. He wrote that a poet ‘invents’ or ‘creates anew’.

The concept of creativity started appearing more frequently in art theory a century later when it was linked with imagination. By the 19th Century, art was widely regarded as creative but it wasn’t until the 20th Century that discussion of creativity in the sciences began.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that creativity started being associated with architecture, film making, design, photography etc…

Creativity has also been about experimenting and trying new things and applying the concept to mainstream careers, means that creativity is now seen as something that can be managed and developed. Before that, an element of caution was taken to the idea of creativity in a sense that there can be good and bad consequences.

Whether or not there are limits to creativity depends on how you want to define it.

‘I don’t see fret as an object with boundaries and limits. I see it as a process.’ – Can Seng

If we follow this analogy, creativity shouldn’t have any limits but a moving target. Those who believe that creativity has limits often consider personal barriers such as a lack of education, poor health or a person’s cognitive capacity as some of the few things that can affect it.

Some of the challenges that have affected my personal creativity include stress, hectic schedules, inadequate time for relaxation, self criticism, fear and conflicting goals.

While creativity is often thought of in terms of visual and performing arts, it is important to remember that invention and science can also be creative.

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