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  • Writer's pictureNaifa Zahir

Redefining Creativity: A Guide to Living A Better Life

As a young teenager growing up in the filth and smut of Male’, I found myself presented with a very valuable lesson; a lesson that I had never thought was possible to learn from a place such as this. In order to accept the hand I had been dealt, I was forced to look past the city’s apparent crudity, and instead look into the exquisite world of little things, of places and people, of moments. Suddenly, the narrow streets seemed abundant in richness and color; shadows of trees creating grandiose pictures on house walls, the funny smell of a particular lane, the dreaminess of an afternoon, all of these things were peering out at me, waiting to be seen, felt, and appreciated. Looking back, it feels that this gift was vital for the years to come.

Many of us think creativity is restrained to the arts and literature, in truth it is the art of interest in learning how to be fully alive, and everything in our life, from people to a sunset can point us to this open secret. Life itself is a form of art, and how we go about living it is a choice we must make for ourselves. It is not so much about the ‘what’ we do, it is about the ‘how’ we do it. And we will find that if we do something with interest, with curiosity and openness, then we can really surrender ourselves to it, and make it our own. This is both an external and internal process.

The first step in this process is to open our minds to our environment and society - the two main components that come together and shape our experience. In this, we come to face what appeals to us, and what doesn’t, beauty, and scum, it’s the first step of stimulation. Once we do this, we come to realize the delicate layers of what makes the world we live in. We come to realize that it isn’t so much about looking at a flower, it’s about how we look at the flower, and that’s purely up to us. It doesn’t quite come down to a matter of where or who, but how we choose it to be. This process itself is what I consider creativity, having your own interpretations of things, places and people, unique only to you.

Once we accept the multitudes of the world, we come to face ourselves, we dwell into our passions and desires unafraid. What makes us, us. We learn to channel it, into our lives. And in doing so we discover that these very things change, take new flavors, evolve into new shapes, just as the world outside. We then tumble into new expanses in our minds we never knew existed, we learn the skill of adapting. We find what does and doesn’t work for us and within us, whether it be a simple shift in our daily routine, our diet, or even our virtues. We then feel ourselves blossoming, coming apart and together in ways we never thought possible.  In this new world we find that we can chisel and create the very being our hearts desire to become.

The environment and society may at times seem like great constrictions to the process of creativity. But it is only momentary, once we abide what lies hidden within, and without, we come to enjoy the freedom to imagine. A lot of us are familiar with the anxiety of failure, and uncertainty, yet in this process of creation, it is of utmost importance to realize that mistakes are not mistakes, they are merely lessons, and that you can try again, until you’ve reached satisfaction, or move on. One person writes with his left hand, the other with his right, neither is wrong, as long as the writing goes on. With this realization, one can start reclaiming one’s perspective and actions for oneself.

Creativity then, becomes the pursuit of our own brand of contentment. A guideline to ask our own questions and search for our own answers; to know what it means to be alive. And I hope that we all find the courage to accept and appreciate the offerings of the world within and beyond.


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