Is there a link between creativity and gratitude?
The more I read about creativity, the more I believe that creativity springs most successfully from a happy place. And happy places are built when we feel that our lives are enough. There is a wise old saying “Who is rich? Those who rejoice in their own lot”. There is no end to what each of us does not have, but if we focus on that which we desire to acquire, ‘enough’ will be forever out of reach, leaving us empty and sad.
Itzhak Perlman, the story goes, who was crippled from polio, once gave a concert using only 3 strings of his violin. After making the long trek across the stage to his seat, he began to play and almost immediately broke a string on his violin, leaving him with 3 strings to perform his first solo as well as the rest of the symphony. Rather than stopping to repair the string, he signaled the conductor to continue and he played his solo, creatively rearranging the music as he needed to keep the song together. He finished the symphony with his usual passion and artistry and sat quietly for a moment as the audience looked on, somewhat stunned by his spontaneous display of ingenuity and talent. Then as a whole they jumped to their feet, clapping and cheering wildly. Perlman raised his bow to signal for quiet. “You know,” he said, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much beautiful music you can still make with what you have left.” He was grateful for the 3 strings he had left and using his creativity and ingenuity performed above and beyond.
I’m not going to cite statistics for you, although they are certainly out there….that’s up to the happiness experts and all the brilliant psych-minds of the world. But if you agree that you are more creative when you are happy, and that you are more happy when you feel your life is enough, I have a suggestion.
Say thank you more. Find your gratitude and share it.
One easy way to accomplish this is to write thank you notes. Buy yourself some nice stationery and write a thank you note to someone every week. Or make a phone call. Or send a tweet. It requires you to creatively look at your life, remembering the smallest details and where they originated or who helped you to create them. Your gratitude can spring from a personal or professional connection, either will do the trick in this case since what I’m talking about is your happiness as a person, not necessarily as a business person.
I’m starting here by thanking a few people for their inspiration:
- to my friend Lani, for inspiring me to make my own almond milk
- to my sis in law Christine for inspiring me to replace the plastic containers in my life with glass
- to my friend Joan for encouraging me to drink more tea
These are simple things I know, but it is often the tiniest occurrences that give us pause and allow us to see the world differently. I’m sure that these 3 people have no idea that what they do has inspired me to do something differently. And by thanking them, not only does my own gratitude encourage me to look at my life positively, maybe it will make them smile too.
When I am grateful, I am happy. And when I am happy I am a much better designer. Now I’ve got to get back to drawing….I have an adorable little condo on the boards right now that needs a facelift.
Happy 4th of July! I’ll be back next week,