Human, Musician

Conservation of Creativity

Every once in a while, we can get in a “creativity consumption” kick.  Binge watching a TV series, or getting engrossed in playing a particularly creative video game that tells a story with you as the hero.  It’s not all electronic, either; I know I can easily get sucked into a book series and then be trapped reading til 2 a.m. because I want to inject the whole story directly into my veins like a junkie jonesing for another fix.

At times like that, you’re oddly out of balance.  You’re taking and not giving back.

You fix the balance by adding creativity back to the world.  Making music. Writing a blog post. Crafting, whether it be with Legos, with yarn, with clay, or with that oversized cardboard box from your latest Amazon purchase. Even sitting and thinking can give birth to creative thoughts that restore the balance.

The balance is important because the creativity you consume fuels what you create. You get ideas. You see how things work (or fail). You imitate and improve. You admire and try to get better.

Likewise, the process of creation powers your appreciation for what you later consume. You didn’t really think about how hard it was to write that story until you tried to write your own. Or that watercolor. Or that preternatural soccer move. Or that guitar picking.

The best way to break the cognitive bias of the Dunning-Kruger effect is to develop enough ability to recognize your lack of ability, enough to demolish your illusory superiority and return to a state of childlike awe of those who really are experts.  And, like all children looking up to a role model, strive to be as good as them ‘when you grow up.’

And that means consuming more creative. And creating more for others to consume.

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