Creativity as a muscle

CreativeMuscle_LargeDavid Micklem often talks about creativity as a muscle, as something we need to exercise and flex on a regular basis. The more you do it, the stronger your creative muscle gets.

According to a study conducted at Harvard, creativity is one third genetic but two-thirds a learned skill. The researchers argue we need to practice, experiment and ultimately gain confidence in our capacity to create.

Creativity as a muscle has led the rest of the team to ponder on the notion as it’s a rich metaphor in which to explore creativity in the 33kEA project:

  • Contracting and expanding – more or less creativity at different times, depending on context and need.
  • Demands a flow of oxygenated blood – life-giving force; flow.
  • Needs stretching as you get older(!)
  • Only works in tandem with rigid structure of bone etc. (so creativity needing a rigid structure to connect with / work off?)
  • All about movement…
  • Comprised of many fibres (parts) working in tandem…
  • Can be strained if over-used (!)
  • Everybody has it
  • Practice is the key to improvement
  • Know when to take a well-timed break
  • Limber up and do gentle exercises to stretch and warm up
  • If we don’t build muscle-mass, our muscles atrophy

Through 33,000 Everyday Artists, we hope to communicate (and embed) the message that creativity needs to be developed and nurtured regularly, just like how we build muscle through an exercise programme.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

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