Gaining mastery of a certain skill or task allows you to release your mind from thinking. You get to hit the auto-pilot button. When you get to ride out the storms on auto-pilot, you get to unleash the creativity that exists below the surface.
As an example we can all relate to, consider the task of shoe tying. Maybe you were so young that you do not even remember learning to tie your own shoes, but you can certainly see in your own children or in the children around you that basic shoe tying used to take all of your focused effort. Each of us once had to take our time, concentrate, start over and over again, to tie our shoelaces. Now, as adults, shoe tying is easy. We may do it several times a day without much notice. And, you may even think this is a terrible example of mastery vs. creativity because, c’mon, it’s shoe tying! However, we’ve mastered the basic skills of tying our shoelaces, and that allows us to even find creativity in that. Now, we add a double-knot, or we tuck the laces in, or we lace our shoes up different ways for reasons of appearance, efficiency, or even injury prevention. Some take their shoe tying creativity to even greater levels in designing new, better lacing options to keep shoes tied better or look more fashionable. Clamping devices are designed to make our shoelaces more secure, or accessories are added to our shoelaces so that we don’t have to go on a jog while holding our keys or people know our key identifying information in an emergency. This, my friends, is mastery unleashing creativity…even in something as seemingly basic as tying one’s shoes.
Consider, now, the countless tasks you have already mastered in your life, whether you’re 20-something or 80-something. Think of the ways you have naturally evolved that basic knowledge of how to do a certain task into the skill of doing it without thinking, and have moved beyond that skill to a level of creativity. Perhaps you are great at maximizing your efficiency of tasks so that the basic day-to-days don’t eat up most of your hours. Maybe you have seen a flaw or wished there was a fix for this problem or that frustration, and you actually came up with the solution, the re-design, the better model. Maybe you make the best pot of coffee every single time you brew because you’ve mastered it, you’ve balanced just the right ratios of coffee to water, you grind your own beans fresh, you blend a little of this region with a little of that, you use only distilled water and never tap, you do something that takes your coffee to the next level. You take your coffee beyond mastery, to creativity.
This concept–this truth–stretches across large and small things. You don’t have to cure cancer or paint the next timeless masterpiece to be creative. So, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as particularly right-brained, know that you are brimming with creativity which you uncover as necessity and focus evolve into mastery.
Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,