Inspiration for Creativity Springs from the Effort to Look for the Magical in the Mundane | 21 Dec 2023

“Look Deep into Nature, and Then You Will Understand Everything Better.”

- Albert Einstein

Creativity, an elusive driving force behind innovation, artistic expression, and the advancement of humanity, frequently originates in the unlikeliest of sources. It entails the endeavor to peer beyond the commonplace and unearth the extraordinary concealed within the everyday facets of existence. 

To understand the idea of finding magic in everyday life, it's important to first recognize what we mean by the word "mundane." The mundane refers to the ordinary, the everyday things we often don't pay much attention to in our daily lives. It includes our daily routines, common objects, and regular experiences. These seemingly unremarkable aspects of life provide a limitless canvas for creativity and self-expression when viewed with an imaginative perspective.

Artists often find inspiration in the ordinary. For example, Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer created masterful paintings like "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "The Milkmaid" that celebrated everyday life. These works turned the mundane into art by revealing the extraordinary in simple daily activities and human expressions.

Similarly, poets like William Wordsworth found profound beauty in the natural world and ordinary experiences. His poems often celebrated the tranquility of rural life and the emotional richness found in ordinary encounters. Wordsworth's famous poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" reflects his ability to find the magical in the mundane, as he describes the beauty of a field of daffodils:

"Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance."

While art finds its inspiration in the external world, science, too, draws from the mundane. Scientific discovery often begins with the observation of ordinary phenomena. For instance, Sir Isaac Newton's exploration of gravity began with the simple observation of an apple falling from a tree. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity was rooted in the mundane experience of riding a train and wondering about the consequences of its motion.

These iconic moments in scientific history illustrate how the pursuit of understanding often starts with the recognition of the extraordinary within the everyday. Scientists, like artists, are explorers of the mundane, seeking to unveil the hidden laws and mysteries of the universe by looking beyond the surface of ordinary occurrences.

Creativity indeed extends beyond the realms of arts and sciences, proving to be a valuable asset in problem-solving across various domains. In fact, the ability to find the magic in the mundane can be a catalyst for innovative solutions to practical challenges. When faced with a problem, individuals and organizations that embrace creative thinking often discover ingenious ways to overcome obstacles.

Consider the example of the SpaceX's innovative approach to rocket recovery showcases creativity in problem-solving. They turned the mundane idea of reusing rocket components into a groundbreaking practice, drastically reducing the cost of space travel. 

Many companies are creatively addressing environmental concerns through mundane objects like packaging. Innovations in sustainable packaging, such as biodegradable materials and minimalistic designs, are aimed at reducing waste and environmental impact. 

The education sector has witnessed a surge in creativity in recent years, especially with the rise of e-learning platforms. Creative approaches to digital education, such as gamification and interactive content, have transformed the mundane process of learning into engaging and effective experiences.

Innovation in the business world also relies on the ability to find the magic in the mundane. Companies that thrive often do so by identifying unmet needs or overlooked opportunities in everyday life. Uber, for example, transformed the mundane act of hailing a taxi into a convenient and efficient experience by leveraging smartphone technology.

Beyond practicality and problem-solving, the mundane holds a special place in the realm of emotions and human connection. The simple acts of daily life, the way we greet a loved one, the comfort of a warm cup of tea, the nostalgia of a childhood toy are the elements that often resonate deeply with people. They are universal experiences that form the foundation of our emotional lives.

Authors, filmmakers, and storytellers understand the power of these everyday experiences to evoke strong emotions in their audiences. In literature, authors like J.K. Rowling took the mundane world of a young boy attending school and infused it with magic in the "Harry Potter" series. Through this blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary, she created a world that resonated with readers of all ages.

In Indian cinema, directors like Satyajit Ray have displayed a remarkable talent for capturing the magic within the mundane. Satyajit Ray, renowned for his work in Bengali cinema, crafted films such as "Pather Panchali" and "Apu Trilogy" that predominantly revolve around the lives of everyday individuals. Within these seemingly ordinary narratives, Ray weaves tales that resonate with profound depth and meaning,

Munshi Premchand, the celebrated Indian writer known for drawing inspiration from the mundane, adeptly wove the ordinary aspects of rural Indian life into his literary masterpieces. His stories and novels often depicted the struggles, hopes, and aspirations of common people in a simple yet profound manner.

Finding the magic in the mundane is not solely about recognizing existing beauty or meaning; it also involves the transformative power of perspective. When we actively seek the extraordinary in the ordinary, we are engaging in a mental exercise that alters our perception of the world.

This shift in perspective can have a profound impact on our lives. It encourages mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment and appreciating the richness of each experience. Mindfulness allows us to break free from the cycle of routine and automatic behavior, opening the door to new insights and discoveries.

Moreover, seeking the magic in the mundane fosters a sense of gratitude. When we take the time to appreciate the simple joys and blessings that surround us, we develop a deeper appreciation for life itself. Gratitude has been linked to improved mental well-being, increased resilience, and enhanced relationships, all of which contribute to a more fulfilling life.

In the journey of life, it is easy to become accustomed to the routines and habits that define our daily existence. However, the magic of creativity lies in our ability to break free from the mundane, to see the world with freshness. 

“Inspiration Exists, But It Has To Find You Working”

- Pablo Picasso