The Creative Cause

By Boitumelo Mazibuko

Taking the creative route as a career is one of the most fulfilling paths to take. You are privileged to learn and unlearn what mainstream presents as a way of doing things. Being a creative often provokes lateral thinking and allows for a multidisciplinary learning instead of a linear way of learning. The result of that kind of solution-finding or finding innovations where linear thinking can’t take you, is rewarding. This is one method that is gradually being introduced to school curriculum through STEAM education – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics. There is much value in allowing the creative sector to permeate the rigid walls of linear thinking. It gives people a different route or method in which they can express their thoughts or ideas, in which previously many would fail to because of the limitations.

With that said, why is it that many that have the creative skills still find it hard to “make it”?
As with every career, there needs to be an understanding of the ‘business structure’, which is a slightly contradictory to what I have mentioned above. One needs to understand how to use their skills, who to target, what gap in the market should they fill, who to affiliate with and who are your support structures. So without the application of this knowledge many settle for whatever comes their way. With critical thinking and a strategic goal, one can harness the raw ideas and natural resources they possess to make themselves valuable and in demand to fill a gap in the market.

So here are 6 ways to help to start the ball rolling toward success as a creative. Some of you may have heard these a thousand times but they just need to be said again for the people at the back 😉

1. Collaborations
“Creativity is collaboration. Drawing the power of the people around is underrated. It’s impossible to always have the answers yourself, but knowing how to bring out the best in others can serve your creativity in invaluable ways. That means empowerment, opening doors where you can, creating spaces where others can thrive. No matter where you are on your journey, you’re always in a position to teach someone else, and you’re always in a position to learn from another.” – Amy Jephta

“Collaborate as much as you can, you allow yourself to grow. It opens you to other worlds.” – Noncedo Gxekwa
(quotes taken from: What does it take to make it as a creative?)

Collaborations have proved to help many learn about new things that in isolation would be impossible. By working with others you’re able to find strengths in yourself and by working with others, they can bring in ideas and abilities you fall short off. This often teaches you a new skill in which you will use and pass on to others in future collaborations…as a result we create a network of shared skills and knowledge.

2. Affiliation
One other thing to keep in mind when journeying to a successful creative career is the people we hang around. People can influence us in many subtle ways so it is important for you to find people who can help you tap into your potential and people who help you commit to your goal. These are people who are already on the path to success and have found ways to discipline themselves. They also have valuable experience that you can learn from. This could also mean moving to a town or city because at times we are limited by what we have always encountered on a daily basis. But of course it may not come to this extreme but rather a conscious decision to change certain habits, routines and the company we keep can challenge the way our minds work.

3. Failure
By trying to avoid failure, you deprive yourself of valuable experience and knowledge. When we fail it often brings up a huge conflict we have in ourselves because we often compare our progress with others. We all have a different race that we’re running and once you understand that, failure will only serve as a routine stop to check whether you’re still on the right path or maybe you’ve taken a detour. It helps to see why previous ways of doing things did not work and finding a new or different solution.

4. Don’t stop learning
This goes hand in hand with taking an initiative. There are countless opportunities in the form of workshops or mentorship programmes in the art sector that can help you further your knowledge. These programmes help with learning about the business side of creativity and which gap you can fill.

5. Find a creative space
One thing that slows down progress or brings it to a complete stop is being discouraged by the idea of not having the resources. Besides being innovative and using the resources you have to create something, there other resources one can’t afford, in this case there are places in which you can plug into. The Coloured Cube is one such place in which you can get access to machinery, Wi-Fi, creative collaborations with others and workshops on various skill sets. Places like this help you stay productive and also give you the opportunity to find people with similar interests or even finding a potential partnership/collaboration for your next project.

6. Be true to your goal
The major thing that can stop you from succeeding is not being true to what your heart desires as a creative. Many find themselves working in certain places for the sake of having a job and three or four months down the line they realise that they’d rather be doing something they want to do. Understandably, there are various circumstances that hinder us from living out our passions but if there’s enough fire burning for that goal, there will always be a way or you’ll have to make that way for yourself…even if that means sacrificing weekends. Once you tap into that passion you find yourself better prepared for opportunities.
Another thing that stands that is also aligned with not being true to yourself, is trying to conform to what you think the industry wants you to be in order to be recognised. If you don’t find passion in photography, don’t waste your time trying to impress others when you can excel in what you’re really gifted in. That is not to say you cannot learn other skills, but rather excell in your calling.

There is a lot that stands in our way on the path to success: family backgrounds, financial situations, not knowing what to do with your life etc. However, when you engage with yourself in ideas and environments that can lead you to your passion, nothing can stand in your way.

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