We love to define creativity as an act of developing an idea that is new and useful. This definition puts pressure on the enterprising mind to find something that nobody has ever thought about before. And this complicates things. How can one think up something that nobody else has ever thought about before? If creativity is about possessing original ideas, how do I avoid copying others? You must avoid these lines of thought. Some of your best ideas will be something others have already thought about. You will copy the works of others that have gone before you. The new ideas you want are contained in the old ideas. You have to make old things appear new again.
Nothing is new in the sense that the Universe has been around for a very long time. You can be having an experience for the first time, and so, it feels new to you. However, others have experienced this before. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (ESV) says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after”. You will fare better in your quest to steer your world towards a better future, if you learn to study the past. New associations can be discovered when you approach the old things with a sense of humility and candour.
Creativity might amount to rehashing old ideas. Creativity is not about coming up with something new, it is about solving problems. The goal is not to impress the gullible with superior knowledge. Your goal is to solve problems and create value. What makes your ideas appear new are the specifics of your own situation. Imitation is not the act of copying others. Imitation is when you copy from others, without any regard for your own unique situation. The first cryptocurrency was invented in 2009 AD. It applied the existing idea of cryptography. Cryptography is an ancient idea that has been around since 1900 BC. Focus on your mission. Think in terms of problem solving. And you will find new uses for old ideas. This is the real way to approach creativity.