Be creative like a child..

‘Be creative like a child” – I have heard people say this at least a dozen times (and the variations too: let’s think like a child, let’s be playful etc etc) during various sessions. This is a popular approach to overcome the logical barrier while Ideating (i.e. when you try to come up with new ideas, the logical mind says ‘shut up, that’s a stupid thing to say’. Children don’t’ seem to suffer from this, because probably they haven’t learnt enough). The moment the facilitator says “C’mon guys, be like a child’, there is definitely a change in the environment. And you see some interesting and sometimes foolish-looking ideas do come up.

But I have always felt that such sessions lacked something; probably some liveliness… Though the ‘children’ symbol seems to help, it was sort of forced and artificial. And I believe this is the reason we do not get quality ideas many times.

A simple incident yesterday showed me what the problem was. You could behave like a child externally, but can you adopt that peace, love and simplicity too? They bring the grace, beauty and creativity to children spontaneously.

Here is the story:

Yesterday, when I was going out, my little daughter wanted me to get her a chocolate, her favorite one.

 When I was back home (of course with the chocolate), she was playing with her friend in the living room. The moment I entered, she ran up to me demanding the chocolate. But because the other girl was not supposed to eat chocolates, I didn’t want to give it. I told her – see I cannot give you the chocolate now. When you have finished playing and your friend goes back, you can have it. Not now. I proceeded to my room for freshening up, ignoring her protests.

I could distinctly hear the two girls talking. Though I couldn’t well hear, I could sense that my daughter was trying to persuade her friend to leave, which she was not willing to. There was silence after a while.

I had just begun to shave; my daughter appeared at the door, and stood leaning on the doorframe. I gave her a questioning look.

She tells: “I know a secret” (trying hard to make it sound interesting)

I smile.

 “But I will tell you only if you give me the chocolate

I give her another smile.

 Few moments pass. She says almost in a whispering tone : “ The secret is about you

She should have been looking at me intently trying to sense if I am ready for the deal.

 I looked at her and gave a ‘don’t try these tricks with me’ grin.

Few more moments pass.

She says: “The secret has something good about you…

At this point, I burst out laughing (If I had not, she might have kept building on the story further to lure me). I gave her the chocolate and had to convince her friend to settle for a candy.

The beauty of the incident touched me deeply and made me feel so light. The creativity was so spantaneous and had a grace and profound simplicity. There was no technique, process, gimmik, frills, just pure creativity. 

This is what was going wrong in ‘becoming creative like a child’. What we do not adopt is the beauty that lies within – the peace, the simplicity, love and purity. In this world, we are just concerned about the ends, not means.

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2 thoughts on “Be creative like a child..

  1. steve

    Hi Sajeev

    I have an 8 month old daughter so nothing quite as obviously creative (or is that manipulative)yet. Children are very much about process but I often find it is the Ends (get chocolate)that provides the fuel. The process is borne of it.

    I have been working for 20 years as an actor and have been involved in many exercises that tap into the inner (or outer) child.
    Improvisational work (unscripted) can only succeed if the actor works with what is happening in front of them. The minute someone focuses on the Ends the improvisational quality of the work collapses and becomes contrived and awkward.

    These are life lessons and refer back to my own Blogs.

    If you want to understand play, creativity and freedom observe children. If you want to participate in it stop observing yourself.

    I can’t wait until Ava (my daughter) begins to explore the world she’s in. Right now I am getting cheeky ‘lets play Dad’ looks and I know there’s truck loads to come.

    Steve

    Reply
  2. Prakash

    Sajeev, interesting post. Well, you have already answered why we say “be creative like a child”, albeit the fact that after a particular age you can never be like a child. When I say someone “Be like a child”, I certainly do expect him/her to adopt “the beauty that lies within”, simplicity, love, purity, and after all, ability to see things differently. While we can say these are the God given quality of a child, there are scientific facts available why they are the way they are.

    Read this article to get some details of such study: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/opinion/16gopnik.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=Alison%20Gopnik+Baby&st=cse

    Reply

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