The Struggles of Being Creative in a Society That Shuns Them

I included this video as it is one of my favourite examples of creative thinking. Somewhere, someone decided to ignore the data and figures, choosing to create something with heart that has lasted for decades… 

I’m a firm believer in creativity and the importance it plays in society. It has helped us connect with people across oceans, create great works of art, take steps closer towards human equality (something we are still incredibly far away from) and help great individuals make a larger impact on the world. However, it is not always an accepted or highly valued skill, one that is often swept under the rug during the scrutiny of people’s achievements to help quantify their success. Today, I wanted to discuss what it means to me as well as some of the everyday challenges of creativity.

A Personal Perspective

I’ve never thought of myself as a traditionally intelligent person, I was a fairly average student at school and university was a similar story. The truth is, education never really inspired me to work hard, I was told I had to learn a certain way, be good at certain styles of examination and think within the confines of a traditional academic system. I struggled to work with this and was soon being told that, despite the effort I put in, my work wasn’t good enough as it didn’t follow the methods that had been strictly laid out by teachers, government curriculum or lecturers.

Admittedly I’d made mistakes to compound this problem. I gave up subjects that I excelled in (like Music etc.) to focus on more “academically respected” topics with the aim of having a more employable CV. What I actually did was sacrifice subjects I loved for ones that were simply not ones I enjoyed studying.

It wasn’t until I left university and started working in marketing that I found the joy I derived from being creative with my work. I wanted to build something new, attempt to think differently and create change rather than simply follow the trend. However, I also began to realise that the general academic and working population don’t understand creativity and, as such, they tend to dismiss it as a whimsical afterthought that doesn’t compare to “real work”.

Your Work is Rarely Valued

The main problem with creative work is that it is typically difficult to quantify. How can you assign a number to a new idea or give monetary value to an entirely new perspective?  For the people of this world who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, this is a baffling concept that will often leave them unimpressed and your work undervalued.

Furthermore, many people will respond with:

“Well of course, anyone could have had that idea!”

Yes, you say that NOW but beforehand it was a complete unknown. The fact that you play the formulation of it off as child’s play shows how little you respect it.

The creative process is entirely indescribable and, as such, rarely valuable to others. Do not be discouraged, there will be those who try and degrade your work but that does not make it any less valuable.

People Don’t Understand Why You Don’t Follow Their Method

People tend to love what they are accustomed to, I am just as guilty of this as anyone else, the familiarity of routine and the known quantity is comforting. However, one person’s routine is not necessarily the best one to follow for you and it can often be a thrill to discover your own way of mastering a difficult task or overcoming challenges. Breaking the mould is what has brought society forward so you should not be afraid of finding your own methods in life.

Having said that, people can often see this as confusing, puzzling or downright insulting, perceiving it as disrespectful towards their own process. It can lead to misunderstandings, confusion over the quality of work and sometimes a cynicism towards work ethic.

The unknown can be difficult but for those who are willing to brave it, the rewards more than make up for the risk. Crave out your own path and create an adventure of your own.

Thanks for checking out the post and make sure to let me know if you have any questions or feedback, you can also leave your own thoughts on creativity. What’s inspired you to build something, do you have a particular project you’re proud of or is there a skill that you feel really helps as a creative release?

You can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.

Adam Walker - The Male Stylist