It's always wise to allow ourselves to be and not just do. I was thinking about that this morning, as I was having breakfast and just preparing for the day ahead.
We know that much of our creativity occurs when we are free of stress and anxiety. When we are relaxed. When we give ourselves space between the encounters and the interactions with people and things. And when we allow ourselves to just be still, to stop, to slow down, that's when we see and hear ideas that otherwise go unnoticed.
Photo: Courtesy of Renwick Brutus
My artist friends understand the importance of having time to relax, think and truly be inspired. They know that's when greatness happens. Creatives know this to be true. Yet, do many of us often find ourselves booking too much in our schedules. Sure, that helps with business being good, but you also need to be mindful of how much you allow yourself to say "yes" to new projects or ventures. Because right now, you may need enough space to be creative and pursue other priorities.
Whether you call yourself a 'creative' or not, you need to find balance between creativity and structure. I say that "tongue in cheek" because it's that tug of war between the creative mind and the process orientation that we know helps, we know produces results. But we also know it isn't the only way to produce results. It's a matter of learning to manage that tension.
A few nights ago, I saw a documentary entitled "Paper and Glue," about a French artist, JR, that spans his life over the past twenty years. Way back, he had found a camera, fell in love with it, and became obsessed with taking photographs. He didn't have a plan. He didn't have a structured goal for where he was going with his art. He was just intent on being open, curious and creative.
In time, he had taken so many photographs that he wasn't sure what he would do with them all. So he decided he would start pasting them up in different places. The theme that evolved was that of him taking portraits of people in their environments, their communities, and in their neighborhoods, and then blowing them up to bigger than life size and gluing them in all kinds of places. With the help of friends, he made his canvass buildings of different types and sizes, existing and built walls, and sidewalks and courtyards everywhere he could find a way to use them.
He has displayed a Mexican border child on a big wall that was constructed with the use of scaffolding. He has pasted photographs of inmates across a prison courtyard floor. In the course of time he has brought great visibility to their cause. And because of the awareness he has generated for them through his art, many of these inmates have been released from prison. He has even captured images of people in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. By showcasing them and putting the spotlight on their conditions, JR has garnered the attention of millions of people and mobilized the support of influencers who are working to extricate the subjects of his art from abject poverty and undue restriction. His work has become a social and political medium for effecting positive change. He has become internationally renowned for this particular medium and speaks eloquently about the power of art as a source or cause of change.
I find there is an important yet delicate balance between structure and creativity; structure that is provided by goals, plans and time blocking, and the free wheeling, creative approach that encourages just being and seeing what comes from personal expression. In my experience, creative time is incredibly valuable and should be cherished and sought out. Because it invites much more ingenuity and creativity than structure alone ever will.
Renwick Brutus‘ career has spanned roles as research economist, investment advisor, entrepreneur and consultant. He has been recognized for outstanding achievement in sales and business leadership. Today, Renwick applies his unique blend of business strategy and interpersonal skills to help individuals prosper and companies grow.. He owns multiple companies and is in great demand to consult with business leaders. Contact him by email and LinkedIn .