Courage in Creativity

Alyssa Kelle - Designer


They say we ought to learn from experience, that history repeats itself. These aren’t new concepts – philosophers have been tossing these ideas around since the 18th century – and yet, it’s easy to fall into familiar patterns. We’re creatures of comfort, too often loyal to the devil we know and unwilling to take risks.

Inspiration can be found anywhere; in a sunset’s reflection, in a walk around the neighbourhood, in ideas obtained through first and second-hand experience. It’s there whether we choose to see it or not, quietly hinting at new perspectives and suggesting a fresh approach. It’s like your weird friend inspiration is across the playground with their hand in the air shouting “pick me, pick me!” and you instead fall victim to the safe-bet; the popular kid, the jock, the cheerleader.

Emmanuel Kant, 18th century philosopher, speaks of the Enlightenment as one’s emergence from self-imposed nonage – the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. He suggests the cause for this nonage lies not in one’s lack of understanding, but in a lack of courage – courage to run with a new idea, to challenge the status-quo, to question.

As a creative person, I like to think I remain open to inspiration – but the truth is, I’m just as likely as the next person to fall into the trap of conformity. I see the ads, the websites, the products and materials of the day and so much of me just wants to fit-in. Over two hundred years have past since Kant originally dared us to know, and keeping our heads in the sand still remains a distinct part of our nature.

18th century concepts of freedom refer to freedom of thought. Today, it seems we’re more concerned with the freedom to be comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not willing to refuse the comfort of my ergonomic office-chair – but I do consciously challenge myself to think outside the proverbial box. Sometimes this is easier said than done – in many ways, it’s work. There is courage in creativity.

At Reality Engine, this is our daily challenge – to resist the obvious or cliché without over-thinking, to find new solutions to old problems. We work together because no one person can do it alone – new ideas are achieved through our collective experience, just as Kant suggests.

Our strength as a collective is defined not only by our strengths as individuals, but by our shared courage and willingness to break away from the mold. We toss ideas around, critique one another, and push for excellence at every turn not because it’s easy, but because we believe our clients deserve the very best.

More than I value the end product, the portfolio piece, or the pay-cheque, I value the process; the opportunity to work on a team who dares to know, who chooses inspiration. As a member of this team and on a personal level, my quest for inspiration remains an intrinsic force – constantly urging me to pull my head from the sand, to look around and ask: okay but, what else?

Don’t say it Kant be done ;)