You Are What You (Cr)eat(e)

I’m a firm believer that we are — as the title suggests — what we create. Creators put a little piece of themselves into each of their creations. These are their horcruxes, the little bits and pieces of themselves artists share for people all over the world to find. And in the process, the creations gives back by giving something new to their creator to fill the space they leave behind. This can be new knowledge, inspiration, or influences; it becomes a part of the artist as long as they are open to accepting what is given to them. Creating is a fulfilling affair, a process of growing and learning.

I should clarify: if you create what you may deem a “failure,” that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means that you rejects that creation because it isn’t the best reflection of what you are. We can still learn from failure and grow knowing what we are not. Failure isn’t the absence of success — it’s an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and try again.

I write this because this post, too, reflects who I am. I am a creator. I have crafted many creations in my 21 years; some were successes and some were failures. Those made me who I am and this post what it is. Both my work and I are a product of everything I have come across and consumed in my life.

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Austin Kleon, author and artist

As Austin Kleon puts it: “You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.” With today’s technology, this seems more possible than ever. After all, we can access almost anything anytime. You can surround yourself with the creative minds you befriend online or consume digital content until you’re full of inspiration. So shouldn’t we all be expressing ourselves as creatives when there’s such an endless flow of influence at our fingertips?

Unfortunately for us as individuals and as a society, our education system has developed this globally uniform habit of discouraging creativity. Sir Ken Robinson asks a valid question: Do schools kill creativity? While science, math, and languages are no doubt important, must they be promoted at the expense of the arts? I would say this is unfair to students. After all, arts are an extension of ourselves. Why does education not value learning about our sense of self as much as it values learning about the whole world?We tend to forget that the whole world is filled with individuals. It isn’t just us on one side and everything else on the other. The world is multifaceted; it is our job to connect with as many of those sides as we can.

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Sir Ken Robinson, author and educator

This form of education has caused many of us to become disconnected from ourselves and others. Robinson describes professors as being heads full of life with bodies used only for transportation, living only in their heads. They are disconnected from themselves, internalized. They don’t connect themselves to their own self or to what is out of their heads. Unlike Kleon, they don’t use their hands. This is why art suffers under our current education system: “Art that only comes from the head isn’t any good.”

Connection is the key to creation. It’s the key to finding yourself and whatever inspires you. If you shut yourself off to something from the start, what will you learn? Connecting to others and the things we surround ourselves with makes discoveries unlimited.

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Amanda Palmer, musician 

Just look at Amanda Palmer — she connected with others and was able to become a game changer in the music industry. She gave a little bit of herself by connecting to her fans and even strangers on the street and was able to receive their respect and generosity in return. She has learned that through her creation and connection, she could grow and make great change.

Kleon describes creativity as an equation: 1+1=3. In other words, we are the sum of our parts and more. If we are taught as students to value creativity, we would learn to leave more than what we were given just as Palmer has. We should be educated in a way that improves the whole and the individual; and in order to do that, we must get connected.

 

 

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