What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You…More Creative?

Muscle Man (Or Woman)

We’re all familiar with the popular adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” or some variation of it. And there are many of us who can attest to its truth; if you survive an accident with a broken limb, when the limb heals, it’s stronger than it was before. If you survive any financial upset or emotional downturn, you come out wiser, more knowledgeable, and more thankful.

But what do these all of these formalities do to your creativity? They make you wiser and possibly more intelligent, but what about your imagination? Your cleverness? Your originality? What happens to them?

It’s time that someone stands up and admits it: what doesn’t kill you actually makes you more creative.

Think about the time in college when your old, broken-down, should-have-been-impounded-years-ago-but-you-really-needed-the-transportation-car finally gave out on you. You still needed to go to class, still needed to go to work, still needed to buy groceries, but now you didn’t have means to do any of the above.

Did you roll over and die? Did you throw your hands to the heavens and exclaim: “why ME, dear God, WHY?”.

Yes, you probably did all of the above, but after you dried your tears and put a stop to your temper tantrum, you wised up and found another means of transportation. You bought a bus pass. You rented a bike. You decided to just walk everywhere. Or maybe you pulled a couple of overtime shifts at your job and saved up enough to get your car fixed.

Case in point: you didn’t let that one little setback put a screeching halt to your life. Instead, you assessed your problem and came up with viable solutions, and you did it rather ingeniously. Granted, said setback was nerve-wracking, unnecessary, unforeseen, etc, etc, etc. But as Winston Churchill once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.”

How will I get out of this one? Who will help me? Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? are all questions we ask when “going through” our respective tests, trials, and tribulations.

And after the “going through” is over and we come out of the fight bruised, battered, scarred, wounded, but still alive and breathing, we discover something about ourselves.  We find out that we’re not just stronger and we’re not just more experienced, we’re more innovative. We’re better problem solvers. Our thinking is more resolute, sounder, firmer.

In short, we come out more creative. Now, when faced with any curve ball life wants to throw at us, we’ll be shocked at first, but still readier than ever before.

So remember that as you “go through” your respective test; as you sit and wonder how your bills will be paid this month, or how you’ll get your kids to school and to soccer practice by yourself, or how you’ll come up with tuition for this school year, or how you’ll survive the death of a loved one, or how you’ll recover from a glancing blow to your business, or how you’ll heal from a life-threatening sickness, or…how you’ll come through anything.

When it’s all said and done, you’ll be the creative genius on top.


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