The Paradox Of Creativity


The Paradox Of Creativity. The Maverick, the creative, the rule breaker, the outlier. But also the structured thinker, the subject matter expert and an organiser. How can these contradictions live side by side?

Because they are not contradictions. Beginners can only do so many surprising, nice new things. To make real change in any field, you need to be deeply versed in that field. In short, you need to know all the rules before you can understand which ones to break.

It also helps if you are generally interested in other fields or subjects around you. That curiosity can lead subject matter experts to make unexpected additions to their field, resulting in creative solutions and growth. But if you don’t know your field in depth, this is nearly impossible to do.

Creative Mavericks very often like structure and routine. Far from ensuring stagnation and boredom, these thinkers use routine and structure to automate the activities or processes that they feel might be important but don’t require personal attention. In this way they free up mental energy and attention for the really important stuff: thinking up new connections and approaches for the problem at hand.

This is also why very creative people can come across as a bit odd, idiosyncratic or egotistical: they simply hold space for creative thinking at the cost of things that other people find more important.

Anyone can come up with a good idea or two. But to consistently generate new ideas and to think creatively, you need to have a certain level of control over your environment, your inputs and your interactions with people. Creative Mavericks know this instinctively and as a result, are often way more structured and organised than their wild ideas may lead you to think.

The principles of structure and organisation are slaved to a different leading light. Not simple repetition of the same thing, but removing simple repetition of irrelevant things through automation. In the space left over, the creative mind flowers into ideas, changes and adaptations that others simply never find the time to begin to think about.

Poke beneath the surface of a creative maverick and their wild idea, and you will often find a structured organisation that surprises you. It shouldn’t. That is how they can do what they do.

Of course, other creative thinkers CAN seem chaotic and you might have to mine deeper to find the structure … but you will find it. And this is the missing link for many people who want to be creative: they embrace the chaos, but forget the routine and the structure. 

Chaos needs to be channelled through a structure to result in positive change. Otherwise, all you get is chaos … this is the hidden secret of the maverick thinker!