Creativity Is Needed Now More Than Ever

Creativity isn’t just for the good times, it's also for the challenges we face getting through the bad times
July 15, 2020 Updated: July 15, 2020

In a world that’s problem-free and satisfaction guaranteed, you don’t need to be creative.

In a world where desires are fulfilled and goals are achieved without effort, you don’t need to be creative.

In a world where our dreams are instantaneously realized by merely wishing things into existence, you don’t need to be creative.

In a world where you can throw a party, make art, laugh with friends, or simply get through a day without having to negotiate a single element that’s unpredictable, unwanted, or uncooperative, you don’t need to be creative.

We don’t live in any of those worlds.

We live in a world where time and space often feel like stubborn gatekeepers separating us from the things we want and need.

We live in a world where our goals are constantly challenged by the realities of inertia and inconvenience.

We live in a world where success and satisfaction depend on imagination and innovation.

We live in a world that requires creativity.

Creativity brings us pleasure, but it’s made necessary by the things that delay, decrease, or deny our pleasure.

When we feel disappointed with the world, that is not a reason to give up on creativity. That is a reminder of why we need it.

People ask me “Why should I strive to live creatively when things are going bad?”

Because that’s really the main reason for being creative. Challenges are not an argument against being creative. Challenges are the reason why we need to get creative in the first place.

If things were naturally going your way, what use would there be for creativity? If your desires could be fulfilled without tradeoffs and opportunity costs, why would you ever need to be creative? No single work of art or act of good has ever arisen from a completely effortless state devoid of the need to deal with some form of resistance or difficulty.

Creativity isn’t just about playing theater games or putting paint on your face. It’s about having goals, encountering obstacles, and bearing the burden of having to come up with counter-intuitive strategies for getting around those obstacles.

It doesn’t take any creativity to lie back and passively hope good things will happen on their own. We need creativity precisely for those moments when the way forward seems unclear or impossible.

Creativity isn’t just for the good times. It’s for the challenges that get in our way when we’re busy trying to enjoy or pursue the good times.

Creativity may serve the purpose of having fun, but it’s made necessary by the fact that having fun can’t be done without the ability to innovate and improvise around the unwelcome and unexpected.

If we’re having more problems than ever before, then I can’t think of a better time to be creative.

At least that’s the way I see it.

T.K. Coleman is the director of entrepreneurial education at the Foundation for Economic Education and co-founder and education director of Praxis. This article was originally published on FEE.org