All Hail The City Slickers
I was reading the August 2007 issue of Psychology Today (yes, I go for therapy in all forms) and came across an interesting article on creativity - mainly that where you live (in the city or country) can affect your level of this important trait. Now, before you start packing, or gloating, please read on.
The article explains the two schools of thought on this issue - the "flatworlders" and "creative class" - and offers arguments for both. Flatworlders are of the opinion that the world is now "flat", that information technology erases distance and brings the tools of innovation equally to everyone. It doesn't matter where you live, in urban or rural areas, they say. The creative classers say that this is not so and that, by living in the city, the intellectual and creative juices can't help but flow. There are naturally more options for interaction, collaboration, and feedback by living in the city. By simply getting out and about in the city, one comes in contact with different cultures, situations, and interactions that assist in the creative effort.
On the other hand, with the advent of telecommuting, texting, video-conferencing, and the like, it doesn't really matter where you live - on the farm or in suburbia - we all have access to the same information.
Now, being a city person myself, I know that there are plenty of opportunities for seeing and interacting. The problem, at least for me, lies in the part of actually making it happen. I can be as isolated in a coffee house full of people as I would be on a secluded farm in Ohio. I have to take advantage of what the environment offers, no matter where I am.
I do believe that there is some merit to the city-living notion, at least in terms of garnering creativity and inspiration. But, what does one do when they're stuck in suburbia or down on the farm? Well, the article offers some hints on "Networking from Nowhere" as well:
* take advantage of instant message talk - sounds like a simple and logical idea, and it can provide some "conversation" between large distances
* pick up the phone - as we all know, using the phone versus email for communicating can be a lot more productive and give more insight on what is actually being said (voice inflexion, etc.)
* get out and go where the people are - no matter where you live, there always is a place where the groups are (and I'm not talking about support groups)
* change your routine - instead of doing the same thing everyday and taking the same route to and from work or school, change it up, go somewhere different
I also think it's good to always have a sketchbook with me at all times, whether I'm in the city or not. I know that I have to write things down or doodle as I get that creative spark or the next "big idea" in my head.
So, city-slickers or country-bumpkins, we can make the most of where we live and get the most creative energy out of our environment. It can also be said that there are some of us who aren't the least bit creative at all, no matter where we live.