Hard, Not Complicated

You may have seen me using the hashtag #hardnotcomplicated in some recent tweets. That’s because my message for 2016 is that, like many important things in life, creativity is hard but it isn’t complicated.

Some people might find the distinction a bit confusing because frequently we use the words almost interchangeably. But a perfect example is this: lifting a heavy object is simple but it’s hard whereas understanding a written sentence like this is easy even though language is complicated.

There’re plenty of examples of hard things that’s aren’t complicated. Exercise and diet, for instance, are fairly simple things for most people, but they aren’t easy. Giving up smoking is simple but hard. But people are clever and being clever they often try to avoid hard work by coming up with complicated devices.

Often this works. The car is complicated but it makes travelling easier. The computer is complicated but it makes maths easier. But there are things which we can’t yet build a complicated tool for. Like creativity. That doesn’t stop us trying.

So you’ll find endless pages written about creativity and techniques to boost/unleash/harness is. But the truth of the matter is that creativity is a simple thing. It’s about awareness, presence, playfulness and courage. All these things are simple. And all these things are, to varying degrees hard for people to maintain.

My job is to help people do the simple things that let them move faster and with more purpose, see what others don’t see and make meaningful changes. After all, that’s what creativity really means.