This week we’ve been celebrating the birthday of Aldo Leopold, a fascinating naturalist and father of wildlife ecology. Here in the Badger State, we take immense pride in him. Leopold is described as a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer and outdoor enthusiast, and he made detailed phenological records throughout his life. If alive today, he would be 130 years old.
Leopold’s birthday is perfect timing for our discussion of creativity and what exactly it is. I say this because we commonly correlate being creative with being artistic, yet the two are actually quite different. Yes, Leopold was artistic in his illustrations and words of nature, but his true creativity was in his thinking. According to his daughter Nina, “he was always looking at the world around him and trying to understand how the plants, and the animals, and the birds all fit together. He was trying to understand how the land system worked.”
So what is creativity?
Miriam-Webster defines creativity as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.
BusinessDictionary defines it as a mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside the box, which results in innovative or different approaches to a particular task.
Simply put, creativity is a curiosity to look beyond what everyone else is doing. It’s a boldness to do what hasn’t yet been done. In our appreciation of nature, we can recognize work of the Ultimate Creator.
Everyone is creative
Creativity is a gift we’re all given at birth. As children, we’re blessed with uninhibited imaginations and an ability to see the world with open eyes. Unfortunately, as we age, our thinking becomes more restricted. We begin to consider creativity as a measurable skill, something we either have or don’t have, like playing basketball or the piano.
In truth, creativity is a mindset. And—just what we all want to hear—much like a muscle, the more we exercise it, the more developed it becomes.
What do you think?
To do this week!
I bet you weren’t expecting an assignment! Well, here’s one anyway. If we want our creativity to flourish, we need to work it, work it, work it!
In honor of Aldo Leopold, spend some time outdoors. Observe everything around you and think about how the parts of nature work together as a whole. Is there a detail you’ve never noticed before? Let’s each talk about our surroundings and compare.
Also, comment on your opinion of creativity. What is creativity to you? Do you feel you’re creative? Why, or why not?