The lives of prehistoric peoples was mired with obstacles, hindrances, and life threatening situations. An environment full of hostilities and challenges requires the ability and skill to detect, analyze, think, and execute the optimal solution to overcome this challenge. Thus, spears with stone or bone points were used to fight off predators and invaders.
In the remote corner of the Libyan desert rests a piece of history that showcases the resilience and ingenuity of humans. The Cave of Beasts holds an array of paintings that bring to life the colourful scenery on view at the time; lions, water buffalo, gazelles, giraffes, and a vast selection of human depictions with an ominous looking giant golden human-like creature.
The 8,000 year old rock art, and many others like it, beg to ask the question, why? Humans, like all other creatures, have sensory inputs that allow them to decipher the environment around them into tangible information. Only humans have the ability to come up with such a multitude of various solutions that embody a different mode of thinking. For example, if two humans are faced with the same challenge or opportunity they will most likely choose two different approaches whereas two chimps have the same instinctive, impulsive, tried-and-true, approach. Humans have become the most prolific creature due to their cognitive superiority and ability to look at ideas or scenarios presented and actively look for a different solution. Creativity is the mother of all innovation and humans are a testament to the traits required to stay at the to.
The online dictionary defines creativity as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.” The embodiment and act of creativity is best seen in infants who approach everything with curiosity and are continually observed doing something unusual and new.
For children being creative provides opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving. Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children’s uniqueness and diversity. It encourages them to express themselves openly and without judgment. For whatever reason, be it societal or individual, we lose or suppress our creativity as we mature into adulthood.
A certain basic faculty of creativity is inherent to all humans but those who engage their cognitive muscles in mental exercises are capable of increasing their creative capabilities.
Obstacles and challenges throughout life are inevitable. However, when we make creativity a habit, we continue to learn new, resourceful ways of solving problems in our artwork, and in life. A striking experiment done by George Land perfectly encapsulates the belief that creativity is inherent as well as learned. George Land conducted a research study in 1968 in which he tested the creativity of children in the age group 3 to 5.
This was the same test he conducted to select scientists and innovative engineers for NASA. He tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. The results were shocking
While the creativity in 5 year olds was 98%, it went down to 30% when they reached the age of 10. And it was just 12% when they were tested as 15 year olders. When the same test was given to a quarter million adults, their creativity was registered at 2%
Creativity is one of the most important characteristics of being human. It is one of the main traits that make us successful as individuals and as a species. Don’t be afraid to imagine or try new ideas, for they could really drive you, and our species, into the future. Nurture and hone your creative thinking!
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