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Less is more…

Continuing on our Creativity & Spirituality series.

I’ve been at IKEA seven times in the last eight days. I’ve found it extremely conducive for my school work, writing, scheming & dreaming. It’s got an excellent $1 breakfast, bottomless coffee or drinks, and a LACK of an internet connection.

I absolutely love having the world at my fingertips, but when it comes to my personal creativity and spiritual formation, the abundance that is offered by the internet doesn’t really help me.

There, I’ve said it. I know my wife will use this against me the rest of my life now.

There’s an interesting poster on the wall at IKEA that describes how their designers always begin by fixing a set low price before designing anything. ie. check out this simple innovation.

They say this forces their designers and engineers to be inventive and creative.

Could it be that our creativity and spirituality have been stifled because we have too much?

Here’s a great video of someone painting with simply ketchup and fries.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • tony sheng April 25, 2007, 8:00 pm

    At Humana, Erwin said that the most creative people are those that have finite limits – whether it be limited time, budget, resources, etc.
    Kind of related to your idea that less is more and that too much choice doesn’t really help us be creative.
    Good thoughts and good post.
    And… I love the meatballs there.

  • jw4man April 25, 2007, 10:37 pm

    Lon,

    We do our Sunday messages as a creative team and the best series we ever did came as a part of walking through IKEA. That place has creativity flowing through it.

  • billclark April 26, 2007, 8:55 am

    I agree….as a matter of fact, I think God introduced scarcity in the garden when he said “you can’t eat from THIS tree”. Much of what follows is about how we respond when our limitless desires bump up against the constraint imposed by scarcity.

  • Joeie April 26, 2007, 4:58 pm

    Yeah! TOTALLY!

    Here’s from an earlier post I had put up before, cutted (is that a word?) and pasted:

    Boredom breeds creativity.

    Haha lemme explain.

    In this past year’s education classes, we talked about the difference between students now and students in the past (ie. when I was an elementary/high school student). Were we as whiny and demanding, with our petulant cries for creative and enthusiastic lessons when our teachers gave us an overhead note to copy down? There’s definitely a positive correlation between increasing technology, spoiled North American kids and the lack of focused attention students can offer teachers nowadays.

    With every kind of gaming system out there nowadays the attention span of children have decreased significantly. With the increase of special effects, technology, there’s a POW, a WOW and a BAM in almost every second of every movie, TV show or game that consistently bombards people everyday.

    And we wonder why it’s so hard for students to focus their attention onto an overhead of population distribution of Canada for 20 minutes (okay it does sound boring, but it’s not!)

    So this one girl in that education class a while ago mentioned how back in the day, when we had nothing to do, we would create things and make up things to do. And wow, is this ever a nostalgic topic!

    I mean – when I was younger, I played house, I made up storylines for my Barbies. Or my brother and I would wrestle and play WWF, or I would make up clubs with the kid my mom used to babysit and we would spend whole afternoons making name tags and club cards. Or even better, we used to have one of those old-school cassette players that also recorded things and we would make radio shows about absolutely nothing.

    You see, boredom breeds creativity. It allows us to have time to explore things we wouldn’t normally explore and gives us the opportunity to express them.

    We see our lives now; we’re busy, we’ve got plans, we’ve got a schedule – do we have much time to be bored? And when we do have that extra spare bit of time – we usually try to fill it up with other things to do.

    Boredom is seen as negative, when in fact, it allows us to dig deep into ourselves.

    (Sorry I always seem to comment so long!)

  • Lon April 27, 2007, 7:51 am

    Tony… you’re hilarious. my wife loves the hotdog deal and kids meal that they’ve got. At the Maker’s of Fire tour they showed a video from Cast Away and the tom hanks character being innovative with next to no resources it was an awesome connection.

    jw4man – every time i’m there with my wife, i’m rambling about how brilliant they are… with their setup, atmosphere, design, just brilliant!

    Bill… that is a really interesting insight. hrm.. the thought of God purposely limiting us to cultivate our creativity… amazing!

    Joeie… i love when anyone shares their thoughts or reflections here, you’re no exception! great stuff… i find though that sometimes the creativity that comes out of boredom, well at least for me, isn’t always the most constructive… i’m cool with fun and silly creativity, i’ve just done a lot of dumb things in my life out of boredom i guess. But you’re right, maybe we’re filling our schedules up too much to have a moment where we’re forced to be creative!

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