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A Masterclass in Creativity: Tapping the field of potential

Creativity

The video below has gone viral. The story has a beautiful arc filled with everything that is good, beautiful and true about our shared humanity. It’s also a masterclass in creativity and tapping the field of potential.

For those that have not seen it, it’s a story of a homeowner who, seemingly perturbed by the presence of a kid biking up and down his driveway, decides to take matters into his own hands.  The story unfolds as the homeowner finds a creative solution to deal with the kid and his daily driveway riding habit.

More then a feel-good moment, it’s a powerful story of we overcome resistance by transforming tension into creative expression. Here are a couple of important takeaways you can integrate into your life.

Life lesson 1: What you see is what you get and don’t get

When the homeowner set up the camera to monitor his home, we can assume that he wasn’t doing it to track kids riding around on their bikes. Likely, he was monitoring for potential intruders. He set up the camera with a specific view on what he intended to see. What he captured was something other than that original vision.

Every time we take an action with a view on what we intend to create there are countless other experiences manifesting in a broader field of potential. Some of the greatest companies of all time built their success on what they did not intend to create – YouTube, Slack and Instagram are some that come to mind. All companies that set out with a view on X that ultimately revealed Y. There are countless stories across the history of humankind of unexpected moments of brilliance. Many of the greatest human discoveries were because of unintended outcomes. Focus is a great thing, but not when it means resistance to the greater field of potential.

Focus is a great thing, but not when it means resistance to the greater field of potential.

A more narrow-minded person may have either disregarded the kid on the bike or intervened to put a stop to it. Had the homeowner only had intruders in his field of intention, he may have overlooked the opportunity to create a moment of magic. What one person sees as tension, another sees as opportunity. Magic arises through the mystery. Mystery fills the cracks of every moment if we’re open to it. Stay open to the things you are also not intending to create and learn to abide in the tension. Often that is where your greatest opportunity rests.

Life Lesson 2: Combining two unrelated things into one – The birth of creative expression

If you drew a hopscotch grid on an otherwise naked sidewalk, most people will hop along where they would otherwise have just walked single mindedly to their destination. I have the video to prove it.

Sidewalks are for walking. Thus, people walk on them. Driveways are for parking, which is why you’ll typically find cars plunked on them. Each has an extremely specific utility that can makes them one dimensional and boring. When the homeowner in the video transformed his driveway into a biking raceway, he was combining two seemingly unrelated things into one. What happens when you combine a chalk drawn racetrack with a driveway? You get endless amounts of fun.

Creativity and innovation are sometimes thought of as manifesting something from nothing, as in, you created something out of thin air. This has not been my experience, nor have I ever seen evidence of this. Creativity is born out of combining two seemingly unrelated experiences into something new. What do apples and verticality have to do with why you and I are not flung into space? Gravity. Newton articulated the theory of gravity by understanding the relationship between apples and things that move downward. Where others would have seen a rotten apple on the ground, he saw a whole new theory of the universe. Similarly, what happens when you combine a driveway with a chalk drawn race track? A whole new world of imaginative fun and community building.

Being open to what is not manifest is step one in the creative process. Step two is when you take what is not seen and combine it with what is seen to create something entirely new. In both cases, you must be willing to embrace the tension of what is known and what is unknown. Those are the hallmarks of tapping into a greater field of potential. It’s also the recipe for being the coolest adult kid on the block.

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Written by
Mark Stolow