Many people inspire me. These are people who shatter traditions and rather than pursuing well-trodden paths of their brothers and sisters, they create their own paths. They break assumptions, and societal expectations. To discover a meaningful existence beyond the ordinary. These are the creative types. And they bring out the best and the most beautiful in the world around us.
One of my friends, a former colleague of mine, is a very smart and talented professional. Plenty of people have hobbies such as reading, doing yoga and working on a pet project, but few people actively seek out new experiences and find a source of creative inspiration in these new adventures. It’s the beauty of discomfort – being in a new environment – that fires up creativity. Scrolling through this person’s Facebook posts puts me to shame. This person not just a traveler. This is someone who could sit down anywhere to paint her surroundings, while fully living and breathing the arts and culture around her. Much more than being a prolific traveler/artist, she spends her free time writing books just for the heck of having fun. It is not everyday that we meet a Da Vinci the second, but if we look around us, plenty of people, while definitely not in Da Vinci’s league, are contributing in their own ways to give back to the world. Through the stories they tell. The colors they splash on their paintings. The melody they compose. The media hype about pursuing one’s passion implies a one-way street where creativity is a commodity that can be bough and sold. The creator usually starts as a poor, starving artist and makes their way to the top. Of course, everyone loves a rags-to-riches story like that of JK Rowling. And those on the receiving end are often tempted to emulate the success of these great men and women. How many of us have stumbled upon Facebook ads selling services of James Patterson and Malcolm Gladwell to teach writing?
I don’t believe creativity is something that can be taught by a master storyteller or a New York Times’ best-selling author. Although I believe creativity is part genetic, the environment is also important. Sources of inspiration can be found everywhere. Maybe on your next journey in China. And having come back from China recently, I found myself with some new writing ideas from the stories I heard and the people I talked to. Moving away from your comfort zone can also help. Sometimes, just sitting down and picking up a pen and piece of paper can lead to the next story. It does not take a famed author or painter to bring out the best and most beautiful in this world. We are all part of something spectacular. Go explore the world around you. Takes notes while you are at it. It’s okay to say that your guilty pleasure is actively exploring the world around you.