Setting your eye on a delightfully captivating blog post in the early hours of the morning is such a high! Almost like a rush of caffeine! And when that piece is arguing for more creation vs consumption (of content, not food), it is a sure shot way to lead me to my blog in the morning. I do feel like emulating persons who motivate me to unleash my (perceived) creative potential.
So here I am at my desk with steaming coffee in a red mug, humming ‘Pappa rappa pa ra ra’ (to the tune set in the Nescafe commercials). It is true, creating anything gives one such a feeling of contenment vis-a-vis checking out friends’ updates on Facebook, while they have been partying away to glory as you slept peacefully. This takes me back to a class I had a couple of months ago on what is termed ‘Cognitive Surplus’ in business parlance.
A concept referred to in a book of the same name by Clay Shirky, it persuades us that humans are naturally creative by nature; unlocking our creative juices is good for us mentally and physically. Not only does the act of creation personally benefit us enormously, many of the most successful businesses of today owe their entire existence to our inherent love of sharing knowledge. Think Wikipedia. Think Linux. Think of the hundreds of other open source projects where coders ( sometimes called incorrigible geeks) from across the world give up their free time to contribute to projects that do not offer any monetary rewards.
So what explains this uncharacteristic act of generosity? Aren’t we humans supposed to be selfish creatures? Shirky attributes these unlikely exceptions in human behavior to the need to derive meaning out of life. Jobs these days rarely require us to do tasks that wholly engage us; therefore the need many of us feel to move out of the mundane to a world where we can make a difference. Writing an article on Wikipedia or creating a new mobile app adds more to our life; we see tangible results that reaffirm confidence in our own abilities.
Out of the myriad options that exist, I love two creative pursuits the most: writing and singing. Strangely though, it took me a while to realize that I liked to write. Till I was a high school student, I had no option but to give in to writing- school essays, papers and of course examinations. After schooling, I entered a rebellious phase where I refused to write a single word. Then after I started working, realization dawned that I missed having an outlet for my emotions. Inertia though made me put off writing for ages. Finally, it was a friend who suggested that I take to blogging since I’m such a happy person with happy emotions after writing anything- be it a 1000 word term paper, an MBA application essay or just about my emotions.
My other favorite creative pursuit is something that I have always been aware of. I love Indian classical and Bollywood music. I usually take time off to record my voice on my laptop and publish it on soundcloud. Here is a sample:
But do my favorite creative passions let the cat out of the bag? That I’m a closet narcissist?