Everyday Creativity - Look at the Ordinary and See the Extraordinary

Mar 29


RJ Sullivan

RJ Sullivan

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Creativity in business and life is not a magical and mysterious force.  Creativity is simply the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary.  It's a force in all of us and we can all learn to harness it.


There is something magical and mysterious about the word creativity. It's a word that is bantered around mainly when referencing artists,Everyday Creativity - Look at the Ordinary and See the Extraordinary Articles musicians or writers. But, in Dewitt Jones's view creativity isn't magic and it isn't limited to the traditionally creative. Creativity is something that all of us have and it's something that can be harnessed in all of our lives. In Mr. Jones' training program Everyday Creativity, he focuses on 9 main points about how we all can find creativity in our personal and business lives.

Creativity is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary.

"What is creativity? Having spent my life in one creative endeavor after another, I can tell you it's not something magical or mystical. It's something very simple. To me, it's just a moment - a moment where we look at the ordinary, but we see the extraordinary. It happens all the time in my photography." - Dewitt Jones.

Creativity is often thought of as something that is larger than life - something that is out of our grasp. Dewitt Jones challenges this notion. He believes that creativity is an attitude and we all have control of our attitudes and therefore control of our creativity. As long as we have the willingness to explore our world outside of our comfort zone and with a renewed since of purpose, we will find creativity.

Every Act can be a Creative one.

"I think many of us were raised thinking that we couldn't be creative. When I was growing up, creativity was always related to art, and art to painting and sculpture. If you weren't an artist, forget it, you weren't creative. But, if creativity is just falling in love with the world, then everything I do can be a creative act." - Dewitt Jones

We aren't all artists and we all don't express ourselves in artist ways, but we all can be creative. Creativity isn't something beyond our normal lives. It isn't something that is pulled out when we need an extraordinary act. Creativity is available and used in our everyday lives. We find creativity as parents when we find new ways to effectively raise our children. When we are at work, we find news ways to get our assignments done. Creativity is there at every moment and within the grasp of every person. As Dewitt says, we just need to fall in love with the world and what we are doing.

Creativity is a Matter of Perspective

"Creativity is a matter of perspective. As a photographer, the first thing I have to decide is 'What lens do I have on my camera?' In other words, what perspective can I take on this problem to help me find the extraordinary in the ordinary view?" - Dewitt Jones

When we look at a task or a problem, we have a tendency to look at it in the same way. Just like a photographer changing a lens on his camera, we need to change our lens to see things from a different perspective. Look at the task and decide what areas need deserve the most attention. Maybe we need to look at the big picture for a while more than the details. Or maybe even put ourselves in another person's shoes. Write down all the different aspects of your task and examine them one by one.

There's More Than One Right Answer

"There's more than one right answer. It seems so simple, but it is the key to creativity. There are a thousand ways to come at a problem to find creative solutions. I know that clearly from my photography, but sometimes it is so hard to bring over into the rest of my life." - Dewitt Jones

Many times we gravitate to order and rules and expect life to have a definable path. But life rarely works that way. There are a thousand different ways to approach a situation and many of them are good ways. When we find the first right answer we need to be careful to look further. In the Everyday Creativity program, Dewitt shows the example of getting a great picture of his daughter, but not giving up with that one great photo. He continues to look and eventually takes a brilliant photo. Always, look for a different angle and never settle for the first right answer.

Reframe Problems into Opportunities

"When you come at the world with a sense of abundance rather than scarcity, you get more and more comfortable reframing problems into opportunities, finding new angles, coming at the same elements from a totally different direction, and being confident that the next right answer will be there." - Dewitt Jones

We are used to the traditional thought that every situation involves a winner and a loser, but in fact the world is full of possibility and there is room for many winners. We have a tendency to look at the world as one of scarcity but when we open up our minds and see that every problem is an opportunity and that the world is full of opportunities our attitude changes and we begin to see all of the possibilities.

Don't be Afraid to Make Mistakes

"If I were afraid of mistakes, this is the kind of photograph [the first picture of his daughter] that would cause me to put my cameras in the closet and never take them out again. But I don't even think about it. I'm just looking for the next right answer. Do you know that the average Geographic article is shot in 400 rolls of film? That's over 14,000 images to get 30! I'm not worried about making a few mistakes. " - Dewitt Jones

If we worry about making mistakes, then we will get nowhere. As Thomas Edison famously said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work." Every single successful person has failed more times than they have been successful.

Break the Pattern

"When we're not afraid to make mistakes and when we believe there's more than one right answer, that's when we begin to break the patterns in our lives." - Dewitt Jones

By definition, we have to break a pattern to be creative. If we are doing something different then we are breaking patterns. It's human nature to become bound by conventions, but if we are to find our creativity we need to move forward and jump off into the great unknown. It's the only way.

Train your Technique

"We have to train our technique. That's critical, because vision without technique is blind. In photography, I want my technique honed to a razor's edge, so that when there is a decisive moment, I'm not worrying about what film is in my camera. I'm there, ready to capture that extraordinary view. "

Unless we have trained ourselves and honed our techniques, then we are blind to opportunities. No matter how open our minds are to possibilities, if we don't have a skill then we don't have the tools to take advantage of them. Fine-tune your craft and then when opportunity meets preparation - you will be ready.

You have to Really Care

"When the people I photograph know that they are as important to me as my pictures, they open like flowers. And I find that the light that really illuminates my pictures is not the light from the outside - it's the light from within."

If you really care about what you do and the people you work with everything becomes easier. A light will open up in your heart and the heart of the people you work with. Rarely do we accomplish anything alone. Just using others to accomplish your tasks is wrong and in the long run it isn't very effective either. Have passion and everything will come together.

We all have the ability to be creative. It's not just a mysterious talent owned by artists, photographers, musicians and actors. Every day in every part of our lives it's there. We just need to change our attitude and look for the possibilities. Dewitt Jones says it best, "Believe it and then you will see it."

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