The virtue of Wisdom


“Creativity takes courage. ”

Henri Matisse

I love the strength of creativity for many reasons. One of my favourite reasons is how some people react to the mere mention of the word. ”Oh, no! Do not look at me. I am not creative.”


It always makes me wonder, at which point did we all stand in the creative queue and get our results? “Billy step forward. Yes, you are creative carry on. Next! Refilwe, also creative, go join Billy. Next! Ah, Susan. Not a creative bone in your body, go stand in that corner we will deal with you later. Xolisa come forward. I am sorry to say, you also have zero creativity. Join Susan, please. Next…”

NO!!!!!!!! That did not happen.


What probably did happen is somewhere in the school system you found you were not good at painting or did not have much interest in the history of art and BOOM, subconsciously you got the “I am not creative stamp” on your psyche. If you are the type to say, “I am not creative, but my spouse and my children are”, then I am glad you are reading my blog. I am here to set you free from your uncreative stigma.


Come closer, let we whisper this revolutionary secret into your ear. Being artistic and being creative is not the same thing. Mind blown. I know. I know. Actually, the definition of ‘artistic’ is also a little dubious but that is for another post another time. We are talking about creativity here and they are two separate subjects. I repeat, completely S.E.P.A.R.A.T.E. There you go, you have no more excuses. Done. Dusted. Have a nice day.


Alright, I think I have made my point. So, let us get down to business. What is creativity really? For something to be creative it needs to fulfil two prerequisites. First, it must be novel. In other words, it must be an original thought. So yes, that friend you admire, who steals everything off Pintrest, is not as creative as you thought. Talented maybe, but she is not fulfilling the first prerequisite. Secondly, the original thought must provide a positive purpose to the individual. In other words it must be useful in some way. Notice, how artistic attributes do not even feature?


That time you colour coded your desk to make finding documents easier, you were being creative. The time you turned an old picnic blanket into a second layer on your dog’s bed to help with his sore hips you were being creative. Any mom who has ever turned a random kitchen appliance into a game to entertain a toddler while she tries to rush through dinner preparations was being creative. In your life, I am sure you can find one instance of when you came up with a creative solution to a problem. Hence, you are creative.

Creativity is a strength which means everyone is capable of being creative. You just need to flex those creative muscles from time to time to remind yourself that you can. Like anything in life that is worthwhile, practice makes perfect.


I find that as South Africans, we often face exciting infrastructure challenges such as unexpected load shedding, water restrictions, and unplanned prohibition. We are all finding our own creative ways to overcome these obstacles. In a way, our government is promoting our creative potential. Too soon?


Okay, let me divert your attention to a new location. The Hundred Acre Wood. Those naïve little toys each have an opportunity to teach you about creativity. After all my research I believe the reason for this is that the writer, Milne, wanted to inspire post-war adults not to despair in their times of struggle. He wanted to promote the notion of creativity so that they may carry that approach into their own lives when they return from the woods. My favourite example of this is when Pooh and Christopher Robin use an umbrella to rescue Piglet from a flood (Milne, 2007). Christopher Robin names the boat The Brain of Pooh.  Pooh is exceptionally proud that his idea not only works but also garners such respect. It is a humorous situation but it does illustrate that definition of a strength which I keep harping on. The act of observing such a strength in action is uplifting and inspiring.


My parting words to you is to embrace the new knowledge that you are creative. Use this time of isolation and restrictions to find creative ways to survive. Take it obstacle for obstacle and celebrate the small victories, because they are the most important kind.

I abhor quoting politicians, especially presidents, but I think in this case former President Barack Obama was right; “YES WE CAN!” More importantly, “Yes, YOU can”!


The virtue of Wisdom


We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

Ever heard the expression “curiosity killed the cat”? Now if you have seen the shenanigans that cats get up to, this expression does not surprise me. The good news, however, is that they have nine lives so we do not need to spend too much time worrying about this. The great news is that if you are reading my blog, you are probably not a cat, so we are all good to go. Ah, in my previous post we learnt that you are also not a dog. See, we are already exploring new information and learning as we go.

What is all the hype?

Why is curiosity a strength? Any mother will tell you that curiosity is one of the main ways that young children learn. Like cats, it is also the thing that often gets them into trouble. Perhaps there is a cautionary tale in there somewhere, but I digress. Curiosity is a wonderful advocate for learning and expanding our minds. In the digital age that we live in, with Google on our phones, we have easy access to any questions we may be curious about. Sadly, many of us do not follow curiosity to its full potential.

Hello reality, Goodbye Curiosity

Albert Einstein once said, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”. Sadly, in my experience as a counsellor, I have found this notion to be true. Many traditional forms of education, with their draconian approach to teaching, kills a child’s natural instincts for curiosity. Then the high-pressure expectations and overwhelming responsibilities of adult life put the nail in curiosity’s coffin.

Save the CURIOSITY!!

How do we combat this onslaught? How do we jump-start curiosity again? After all, the virtue we are breaking down is wisdom and wisdom cannot be achieved without knowledge. Knowledge can not be obtained and nurtured without curiosity. It simply cannot. If you restrict your learning to that of school or that of university or college, you have a limited knowledge base to draw on. How does the information you use for work stimulate your imagination or drive your passions? Hence why hobbies are so beneficial because they broaden your interest scope. Hang on there, you do not have to take pottery classes just yet. Curiosity is another way to achieve the same intrinsic rewards and can be considerably more cost-effective.

So I have been tooting the laurels of curiosity, but what is it really? I am tempted to say, it is whatever you want it to be and then wish you happy trails. That would be seriously lazy writing, so let me try to explain curiosity without killing its magic myself. Ah the pressure. Here we go…

Seriously, what is it?

The official definition is the emotional excitement of exploring which is crucial to human survival and ultimately leads to wellbeing and intellectual solutions. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Liz, you said this was not going to get boring. Hold your horses, that is just the official definition. What curiosity really is, is exploring the unknown with enthusiasm. It is about getting lost and being happy about it. Unlike the love of learning, where you take a topic you are already interested in and deepening your understanding, curiosity is about the new and unknown.

Make the New your favourite thing

In Winnie the Pooh, Tigger is the best example of curiosity. If you know anything about Tigger, I am sure you have a hyperactive, care-free character in mind. This is true, but his carefree approach to life makes him more flexible and excitable about new things. In fact, in the face of new things, his response is always, “That is what Tiggers like best” (Milne, 2007). Alas, not everything turns out well for him in the end. That is curiosity for you. Not everything you try is going to be great, but it is going to be a learning experience. Also, failed experiments make for the best stories.

Failure to stop the launch

My husband and I were curious about the urban legend involving Mentos and coke. We were bored okay. There may or may not have been alcohol involved in this decision. Anyway, since we did not have coke, we thought Coke Zero is close enough. We dropped the first mentos in and nothing happened. So in our ‘wisdom’, we tossed in the whole tube.

It is impossible to explain the full extent of the explosion that occurred. We were drenched, but what is more, it took days to fully clean the kitchen. It took weeks to get rid of the ants that followed. Occasionally, you would find a random sticky section. Even in the lounge and hallway, your foot would just suddenly stick to the floor. Then you would remember, “ah, the coke experiment”.  

The ceiling was particularly challenging to clean. In the end, we had to repaint it … twice. First coat the paintbrush would stick to the roof. It is funny now because we moved out of that house and sticky floors are now the new owner’s problem – just kidding. We still laugh about it today, and will definitely not be repeating that experiment inside the house EVER again.

Go explore

COVID restrictions make exploring difficult, but not impossible. I urge you to take the road not travelled. Explore new foods, or try new hobbies if you want or even explore the internet – safely. Do not wait for new things to drop into your lap. Actively go out in search of the unknown. You never know what you might discover. You might even stumble onto the North Pole by accident as Winnie the Pooh did during one of his famous ‘expotitions’.

Have fun and Good-luck.