Knowledge For The Modern Millennial

Month: March 2019

Thoughts on Creativity and Travel: My visit to Heroes Square, Owerri, Imo state.

Looking for a way to improve your Creativity?

Then Travel. Explore. And visit places you’ve never been before.

My short experience will definitely convince you on how traveling can boost your creativity.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

The above statement was made by Mark Twain and after my visit to Heroes Square in Owerri, Imo state Nigeria, I totally agree with him.

So here’s my story:

A WALK WITH THE HEROES.

Recently, I visited the Heroes Square in Owerri and despite the controversy and backlash it received on its launch, it’s a sight to behold.

The Heroes Square (also called Heroes Park) consist of statues erected by the Okorocha administration to commemorate the good works they have done for their countries and the African continent as a whole.

At first glance, the statues seem daunting, but the sculptor really created masterpieces that will be admired for years to come:

My favourite is that of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. His statue is resplendent, complete in his military uniform. Even his famous beard is finely sculpted.

The statue of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe assumes the posture of an aristocratic plea. Probably asking for the Nigerian dream he tried to build and why it has been abandoned.

Sir Tafawa Balewa is depicted in a scholarly look, with a book in his left hand. There’s also our past President Olusegun Obasanjo, raising his fist to the air.

Visiting Heroes park gave me a mental break from my current activities and created distance from the workload for the week. I felt refreshed while viewing the statues and admiring the creative work imbued by the sculptor.

My walk with the heroes continues with Jacob Zuma whose statue attracted a lot of controversy still stands in the Heroes Square, Owerri. He is dressed in suit with a forlorn look on his face.

I also loved the salutation pose adopted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female to be elected President in Africa.

Other statues included; Nana Akufo-Addo and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, ( I love Kwame’s walking stick), Chief Sam Mbakwe and Dr. Akanu Ibiam.

Like the statues representing different African countries, my mind also opened to new ideas, forming connections with previous problems bothering my work and writing.

Indeed, creativity can come from new and exciting experiences. It is not just changing locations and gaining new knowledge, but it was also the planning, laughter and weird poses with friends that made it an amazing experience.

So, Dear Creative, where can you travel to expand your mind and improve your creativity?
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If you plan on visiting Owerri, make sure you visit the place.

N.B: All photos in this post were taken by Zamai Banje (that’s me of course).

Please feel free to share. But with my permission and name attached.

Ways to Increase your creativity during your leisure.

Have you wondered if you can have fun and be creative at the same time?

Is it possible to work and play simultaneously?

Yes, it’s possible. You can still improve your creativity during your leisure.

That is what this article is for.

Because some days, creativity is simply letting those ideas loose. One way or another. Sometimes, it’s channelling your genius into a productive process. Or a way of expressing yourself and your way of thinking.

In this post, you will see some activities. Please remember, we have different learning styles; this also applies to creative patterns.

From Tanner Christensen’s book, The Creativity Challenge, creativity can be triggered either in a convergent (combining ideas), divergent (finding relationships between ideas) or emergent (when the idea suddenly drops in your head) way.

The possibilities are endless.

Find the one that suits you. The activity that channels and boosts your optimism. Just find the creative hobby that defines you the most.

Here are a few activities you can do in your free time to boost your creativity:

N.B: This article discusses these activities from a point of creativity and the love of learning and curiousity.

#1: Writing.

This is my personal favourite. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, but it certainly works a lot. For everyone who has tried it.

You can write non-fiction or fiction. It does not matter. The most important thing is the process.

Love the process. The ink spilling on paper. The words forming in your head. The ideas and thoughts you try to scribble and organise from your head.

For example, you already know the art of writing in a journal. It clears the head. This act allows to pen your thoughts, ideas, reflect on today and prepare for a better tomorrow.

Or is it writing poetry? Writing short spontaneous poems forces you to think and find creative solutions with a confined set of rules.

Ever tried writing a story or from another person’s perspective? This promotes divergent thinking and tends to increase your powers of observation on a daily basis.

This is what writing will do to you. At least it has done this for me. And so much more.

2. PHOTOGRAPHY

A picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, photography can be an alternative creative task to writing.

Often attuned for the extroverts – the travellers and explorers, the thing I love about photography is the different elements involved before the final image comes out.

The timing. The weather condition. The angle. The subject. The setting. The retouches. Everything depends on you.

All it takes is a keen eye, an imaginative mind and a curious heart.

Smartphones have also smoothen the transition of photography; they have made capturing daily moments effortless and every moment is special.

Do you know photography enhances convergent thinking? The way we combine these factors to produce something wonderful. Or something funny and quirky.

Other outlets involve:

#3: Painting/Drawing

This creative hobby is good for those who think in pictures and have a strong sense of imagination. Aesthetic thinking is definitely increased when doing this activity.

#4: Dancing

I’m not a good dancer, ( I dance though. In my bathroom), but I know dancing brings joy and energy which in turn boosts creative thinking.

#5: Singing/Playing instruments

I almost forgot singing. As a lover of music, hearing tunes and melodies is always magical. And creating magic – even a little bit can strengthen your innovative process.

PLEASE NOTE: The creative activities are endless. As mentioned earlier, perform the activity that gives you joy. Because true Creativity is personal. It’s working on your art and craft with all you’ve got.

So that’s it.

Whether it’s writing a thousand words or taking a photo. Just do you. Do what defines you. Because the goal is to create.

And if possible, create magic and miracles. Then apply the same passion and creative pattern to your work and art.

So dear Creative, what will you do henceforth to develop your creative patterns?

What every creative can learn from the Greatest Showman movie.

Well, if you have not watched or heard about the Greatest Showman movie, you are probably on another planet.

Loved by both young and old, the movie (produced by Twentieth century Fox) became an instant hit because of its blend of choreography, emotions displayed by the actors, wonderful storyline and entertaining musicals.

Asides that, it was my favourite movie of 2018.

However, I watched it again from a creative perspective and discovered mind-blowing lessons you and I can apply while adopting creativity in our respective niche.

So here are seven lessons every creative can learn from watching the movie:

(P.S: Even if you haven’t watched the movie, I would advise you read this post and rush afterwards to watch the movie.)

1. Have a breathtaking introduction

I heard recently you have only ten seconds to engage an audience in your creative work or you lose their interest forever. The Greatest Showman movie was not afraid to play a powerful opening scene (which was similar to the ending).

Always be free. Feel free to hit your best shot at the beginning. Make your audience crave for your work the instant it is launched. Leave them curious right from the start.

Once you do this, you have got them hooked till the end. That’s what happens whenever I watch this amazing movie.

2. You only go far as your imagination

The protagonist, P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman) had a poor upbringing, yet he married a lady from a wealthy family and became “the greatest showman.” This was because of his strong sense of imagination. P.T. Barnum never stopped imagining and it consistently paid off throughout the movie.

Another character, Jenny Lind (played by Rebecca Ferguson) also dropped a powerful quote:

“A man’s station is determined by his imagination.”

As a creative, you must keep imagining. Keep seeking new ways of creating your work. Keep finding fresh angles to accomplish your craft.

If you practice this, you will be an unstoppable force.

3. It is possible to sell dreams

This was definitely the most emotional lesson I picked from the movie. P.T. Barnum sold his dreams of presenting the ‘exotic and magical’ to hundreds of his countrymen and he got paid for it.

Hence, no matter how weird your dreams are, there will always be a way. Your dreams can surely be monetized and sold to the world.

4. Marketing (Advertising) sure helps

Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” – P.T Barnum.

Well, Marketing (especially offline) has not been on the strong side for me. But as time goes on, I have discovered it is needed for your ideology to reach the world.

Advertising is needed for your creative genie to gain more traction and flourish.

P.T. Barnum was not only the greatest in his showmanship business; he also showed it in his dealings with people. His conversation with Philip Carlyle (played by Zac Efron) was a brilliant illustration.

So learn to sway people into your thinking. Always show the immense benefits of dealing with you.

5. Your ‘BIG IDEA’ has already appeared to YOU

Barnum’s idea of a circus for the extraordinary came in his early days when a hunchback fed him an apple. This was his own ‘BIG IDEA’.

If you are over twenty, your big idea has already manifested in one form or another. It could be in form of a paperwork, abstract thoughts, news headline, comments from family, friends or well-wishers, seeing a painting in an antique shop, or waiting for a train to arrive.

Search deeper. Meditate and have flashbacks on your most creative days in past experiences. You will surely get a glimpse of the big idea.

My own ideology of chasing creativity was reflecting on my childhood days when I retold folktale stories (I will surely share some of these stories later on)

6. Things will go wrong when you start pleasing everybody

“I don’t know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is pleasing everybody.”

The above statement (attributed to Winston Churchill) is profound and was shown in the movie.

P.T. Barnum almost lost everything because of his desire to please the Herald reporter, Charity’s parents and the society’s elites. Philip wanted to please his own parents and almost lost the love of his life (played by Zendaya).

The advice here can be taken verbatim from the movie:

“You don’t need everyone to love you. Just a few good people.”

7. Have a purpose that exceeds the money

This is definitely the greatest lesson from the Greatest Showman.
When the money is coming, always have a sense of purpose. Have a set of core values to guide your decisions and relationships. Focus on what is important.

What saved Phil and Barnum was the core values they imbibed in others. For Phil, it was his friendship, love and adoration for fulfilling work that saved his share of his business.

And as for Phineas Theodore (P.T) Barnum, it was his creativity, sense of imagination and family love that finally made him a happy man.

So dear creative, which lesson from the movie will you apply to your craft?