Calmness is underrated. We live in a fast-paced world, where we embrace movement, action, when we are always looking for the next step, the next project, whatever’s coming up. In business, we pretend we need to do so in order to be innovative, to make sure we are not outpaced by concurrence, that we keep up with the industry. In our personal life, we apply the same way of seeing things, looking for improvement, to develop our full potential, to become better human beings, in fear of being left alone, unloved?
For a while, it might work. This momentum keeps us going, and we feel on top of the wave. Eventually though, the more we move, the more we become anxious about inactivity. Being always on the go becomes a way for us to avoid emptiness, and the anxiety that comes with it. That frightening emptiness, where we can no longer rely on the outside, when we face our true selves.
That’s sad, and very unfortunate, since it deprives us from one of the most precious things we can count on these days: true creativity. Avoiding emptiness might be reassuring, but also takes away from us the possibility to reach in, to connect with who we are, in order to create something new, to reinvent ourselves and the world around us.
Create the space first
Creating space is one of the pre-conditions of creativity. We need the emptiness to acknowledge the present state to be able to imagine what the future one might be, to acknowledge our reality to move beyond and above the statu quo. In order to do so, we need to take a step back, and cultivate a calm state of mind. If we want to redesign the world, we have to find the right balance between immersion and solitude, between action and reflection.
I had the privilege within the Summer School on management of creativity I attended last week to meet with Andreu Carulla, an amazing designer. I was not only impressed by his work, but also by its attitude. Rooted, genuine, his company is the extension of his vision as a designer: inspired by nature, and driven by the soul.
And you know what is the first value on his enterprise’s manifesto? Calmness. Not innovation, not commitment, not customer service orientation. His work does consider all of that, so there’s no need to state it as company’s values. Along with care and honesty, calmness drives Andreu’s business. I believe this ability he has to remain calm and grounded in a serene environment he chose especially for that, in an area full of nature in the country side of Catalonia, is what makes his work award-winning.
The spark cannot unfortunately be shared
Of course, in order to be creative, we need diversity. We need to connect with people, to exchange thoughts, to share ideas. To get out there, to live, to experiment. But once we have acquired the knowledge we need, we have to let it sink for that special moment when the idea will show up. And when it does show up, we have to be prepared to listen, to catch it, which is a lot easier when we are present to ourselves, and often alone. We plant the seeds of creativity together, we feed each other’s plants water and sun, but when it comes to that special moment when we harvest them, we are often alone. Because that spark, the connection between two ideas, the bissociation, still comes within one’s person brain, being, and cannot yet be shared. And if we want everyone to benefit from the harvest, we have to be there at that exact moment when the fruit is perfectly ripe. We have to be ready for that moment, present in the instant. Timing is everything at that point. Too soon is no good, as is too late too.
Make it your life manifesto
The quest for creativity is very close to the quest for happiness. Therefore this is my own manifesto for the reconciliation of the mind and the body, in calmness, with consciousness. This is my way of telling you we need to get back to the concreteness of our reality, to materiality. There is no other way. We still need one another, since we need all together to nourish each other’s soil, but when it comes to that insight, we can only count on ourselves. It is only from our own unique roots, our soul, that we will be able to generate the fruits of creativity that will change the world for the better.