What does it mean to be a creative person? Steve Jobs said it’s “just connecting things,” and the more dots or experiences we have to connect, the more creative we are. John Cleese said “Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating.” Ray Bradbury said it’s “the art of muting the rational mind.” All of that makes sense to me and it’s just the tip of the iceberg – the subject of creativity is vast. Discussions and definitions abound throughout every discipline. While we have celebrated creative endeavors since the dawn of man, as a word, it did not come into being until a 17th century Polish poet, Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, spoke of the poet as “creating anew,” even “in the manner of God.” Thought of that way, everyone is creative. We all create anew every day in so many ways. Every time we do something a little differently, see things in a different way, have a realization, take a different path, we are creating anew.
When it comes to unraveling unhappiness, it is so helpful to appreciate just how creative we are and to honestly assess whether our creativity is serving or hindering our happiness. We could say that unhappiness is a creative act, in the sense that unhappiness doesn’t happen to us. We have to connect the dots in such a way that it comes out “I have to be unhappy because of this.” And when we are unhappy, it all makes so much sense. She did this and she shouldn’t have done that and I am pissed. Wouldn’t you be? See how I put that all together? Aren’t I brilliant? But unhappiness, while it seems so important and so profound, always seems kind of crazy and even silly, when we hear what we are really believing. In this case, “she should be different. She is making me feel pissed.” If we questioned this line of reasoning using The Option Method dialogue, we would probably end up with the belief, “If I wasn’t pissed, I wouldn’t do anything about it.” Really?
So while unhappiness is creative, it’s the kind of creativity that doesn’t serve our happiness in the most effective, efficient way. I’m not going to say it’s bad creativity, because there is no such thing as that. Even in our unhappiness, we are always doing the best we can given what we believe and the circumstances. But we can do so much better, by creating anew, in this case, breaking out of the same old way of thinking, taking a different path, seeing things differently – something we do every day in so many ways. We can take that statement, “If I was pissed, I wouldn’t do anything about it” and turn it on its head by stepping outside the old worn unhappiness path simply by asking “Why do I believe that? What if I didn’t?” Any question that allows us to step away from what doesn’t serve our happiness is a creative act that will miraculously transform your moment and your life.