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Can creativity be cultivated?

Two artists; one desires adulation and aspires to be a star, the other wishes to explore the depths of the art; one is a conformist, the other is free-spirited; one is street-smart while for the other, the heart rules the mind; one hankers after and gets commercial success, yet does not find peace, the other performs for the love of the art and thrives in self-contentment and happiness. That's Kaaviyathalaivan in a nutshell for you. While the movie impressed me with its well-executed plot, great performances and pleasant music, it led me to introspect about the one quality, among others, that differentiated the two protagonists- creativity.

Manodharma or creativity is the back-bone of any creative field. It's an art where you bring in a different nuance, twist or dimension to the same piece of work and present it like it were new. A good actor experiments with different genres and styles and pulls it off with equal aplomb. A great chef does not stick to the conventional ingredients and method of cooking; s(he) often brings something new to the table, literally. An experimental singer can sing the same raga or song each time with so many different shades to it that s(he) keeps the audience guessing and asking for more.

Talent in a particular arena may not necessarily guarantee a flair for creative experimentation. Some people are naturally inclined to adhere to rules and fear deviating therefrom. For them, art needs to conform to the convention and hence curb the free-hand which threatens to touch the uncharted land. Not surprisingly, creativity rarely thrives in such a restricted atmosphere. Can it be, then, cultivated?

Creativity seems to flow naturally and effortlessly for some because of the way they are. They are able to let go of impressions and do not get themselves typecast. They keep re-inventing and questioning their successful methods. When a teacher imparts knowledge to such students, they never absorb it at face value, instead challenge and compel the teacher to offer them more.

Creativity requires you to be courageous. Pearls never float on the surface; anyone in their pursuit needs to plunge into the depths and crevices of the ocean. That requires courage. The courage to fail. Courage to keep trying despite factors that might lead you to think that you could be wrong. Courage to go wrong and then accept it to re-dive with the right knowledge.

When this happens, either by nature or design, you open up to the universe to receive the boon of creativity, for you are not afraid of the outcome. You derive energy and motivation not from the applause of your audience but from the boundless freedom gained when the mind frees itself of the boundaries set by theory. You're willing to experiment even within the constraints and at the same time keep the window open to inspiration from beyond.


  1. i did not know that creativity is called 'manodharma' in Hindi! u r right, in an envr. where rules are must, the flower of creativity cannot blossom.

    1. Ankita, I don't think manodharma is a hindi's to describe improvisation in the music parlance..:-) Thanks for the read! :-)

    2. I mean it is made of two words that belong to Hindi vocab only - mano and Dharma

    3. @ Ankita, you might want to read this :-)

  2. I know someone who is free spirited and wants to go into the depth of the art he is passionate about. This was a good read!

  3. And u have a lot of creativity built in dear....

    1. Rohini, you're sweet to say that but I really don't think so :-)

  4. I agree that under the scrutiny the flower of creativity may not bloom. But we should not forget that most beautiful flowers are the one bloomed under melting sun and hardening soil.
    Good job.keep up. :)

    1. Hardwork is one thing, but improvising on a tried and tested method is another thing, no, Namrata?Both have their own fruits. It depends on the personal level of satisfaction.

  5. I don't think creativity can be cultivated, nor do I say you have to be born creative. My opinion is Creativity is inspired. Something or someone inspires you, sparks a new thought in you and as you let passion take over, it molds into something else.

    Kaaviyathalaivan is worth a watch huh? Was wondering whether to take a chance or not, I was getting mixed reviews.

    1. You're right and when the inspiration strikes you, you must be willing to take risk and experiment and allow yourself to embark on the road less traveled.
      I loved the movie. Worth a watch in my opinion, though, I there was some booing in our movie, I guess, it might not appeal to people who cannot take sensible stuff.

  6. Great post Uma. Creativity does have a lot to do with the kind of person that one is and needs courage. I have never thought of it this way. Really good thought process expressed beautifully.
    These days you are writing a lot of contemplative posts. Am enjoying them. Keep them coming!

    1. Hey Aarthy, I'm in some kind of introspective mood these days, so this is coming out in my writing too. I'm so glad you like them :-)

  7. Hey, this is a great read :)

  8. I think creativity can be cultivated, but some take to it naturally while others take a while to get the hang of it. But the sad fact is that there are many who have it in them, but is not aware of it.
    Now that is a waste of talent.


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