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”!


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