As I’ve mentioned before, your creativity is highly influenced by your environment. The way that you see the world is through the lens of your experiences, both past and present. All that you’ve been through and all that you know shapes your perception of what it takes to be different.
So when it comes to being different, to adding your own uniqueness to the world, it dramatically helps to bring together others who are interested in doing the same thing.
There are classic examples of great thinkers, innovators, artists, and other creatives who were only able to do what they are known for because of the company they kept.
From the discussions between Plato and Aristotle, to the letters of J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, to the joint efforts of the impressive actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, collaboration and discourse led to improvement and inspiration.
Some of the biggest movements in history stand out not for individual accomplishments, but for the way that individual innovators drew from each other to create their own individual works that reflected what they as a community faced. Looking at times like the European Renaissance during the 14th through 17th centuries, to the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century, to what I would call the “Technology Renaissance”, occurring as we speak, it’s through relationships, the sharing of ideas, and building of bonds that these were possible.
It’s no coincidence that historical and modern-day figures of those eras were all present during the same time period, making waves. It’s actually through the discussions, the arguments, and the observations they made that they were able to build off of each other and create something novel.
If you’re looking to become more creative, work with others who are doing the same. They don’t have to be at your level. They can be just starting out if you’re a veteran, or vice versa. One of the great things about creativity is that it doesn’t really have a hierarchy. You can be just as creative today as you were 10 years ago. There’s always something to learn from others, and always something to gain from trying new things together.
I try to spend time surrounded by creative people whenever I can. It’s an amazing feeling to be with those who are also interested in creating something new and just see their approach to not only the creative process, but their entire lives. I always come away with something new. It could just be the way I think about my ideas or it could be entirely fresh ideas built on the topics we discussed.
If spending time with creative people is not something you regularly do, I would strongly suggest that you make that a priority. Creativity is a multiplier; you will see massive changes in the way you approach your work and the way you approach your life.