From infancy to adulthood, play is an activity that we all engage in. Indeed, the game of charm that the adult induces in social relations is not so different from the game that the child uses to distract himself.
To distract themselves from what, by the way? Winnicott explains that it is to overcome the pain of having to wait for the return of his mother or father in case of absence that the young child plays. Through play, therefore, he finds a substitute for comfort, and this substitute is embodied in a quality that can be useful at any age: creativity.
Modern definitions of creativity in psychology are numerous and not always consistent with each other. The reason for this deontological vagueness is rooted in the difficulty of assessing this quality.
What do we really mean by creativity? Do we measure the capacity to bring an original solution to a problem? Is it necessary to associate an artistic or aesthetic dimension with creativity? Can we not be a creative mathematician?
Whatever the case, the numerous attributions of this term necessarily make us think that each of us reaches creativity by a path that is unique to him, often unique and in this sense etymologically original.
This is why we will plead here in favor of a work aiming at liberating creativity. Indeed, if it is unique to each person, then it is also a possibility for each person to reveal himself or herself. And in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is often difficult to find the space necessary to invent and reinvent oneself… It so happens that a window has recently opened up for us! Confinement can be the source of many anxieties, but if we look at it from a creative point of view, it is an unprecedented opportunity to give free rein to our creative capacity!
Today is the perfect time to consider taking creative action. Let’s agree, however, on the paradigm in which we envision our action; it’s about finding an alternative to boredom.
In times of confinement, it is likely that many people who are accustomed to distracting themselves in every way will suddenly find themselves swimming in a sense of helplessness, when it is just a different way of being in the world.
If the absence of distraction in the social sense were truly opposed to the constitution of any balance in life, many ascetics in this world would have given up their quest.
Not being able to go out is therefore not a contradiction to the possibility of creating, perhaps even the opposite. When was the last time you found time to be bored? Did you have enough space to be deprived of reacting, like when you decide to go out for a drink to compensate for the stress of the week?
Having to be content with the here and now, whatever it is, with no possibility of escape. To be brought into such a beneficial state of concentration, caught up in seeing each small moment of pleasure as an unalterable replenishment, to the point of entering into an almost meditative movement, is to begin to make the space cluttered with tribulations that our mind usually forms, an alcove in the fertile bosom of creativity.
Enduring the boredom of confinement becomes much more acceptable when we accept it. We now have the necessary space to give free rein to our creativity; it remains for us to think about its use.
A little metaphorical exercise:
When a person experiences a difficult event, it causes suffering. In order to survive this suffering, two allies are needed: time, to begin with, which is the unbeatable ally of difficult remissions, and resilience, an act of transcendence that allows one to do something with the pain… Something useful or something beautiful, something positive in short, whose characteristic is to get into movement.
It is the same with the capacity to create in the productive slowdown. Rather than thinking of confinement as a threat to action, let’s think of confinement as a possibility of transcending action: from now on you are obliged to adapt your habits to the context, and this is what makes you creative.
- NOTHING IS LOST, EVERYTHING IS TRANSFORMED: life has decided that you will no longer go out to do sports or work. Either way, you’ll bring the sport and the work to you. Not respecting your habits can be disconcerting, even demotivating, and can make you feel guilty by awakening your perfectionism. Don’t cling too rigidly to your sports or work routine, a little change is an excellent training that can lead you to discover new routines and new methods that you might want to keep. Let’s stay curious.
- YOUR COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS THANK YOU: have you ever heard of executive functions, a very fashionable theme in neuroscience? These are high-level mental abilities, one of whose properties is the ability to be flexible, i.e. to adapt one’s behavior to changing situations. Greater flexibility is about approaching life constructively by turning failures into successes (resilience) and developing intellectual agility so as to be more versatile (multitasking). See containment as an opportunity to challenge yourself.
- CALM DOWN AFTER THE STORM: and not before the storm! Taking this time to do activities you had completely forgotten existed (drawing, writing, meditating, playing sports, cooking, playing with your children, spending time with your family, discovering cinematographic, literary, artistic works, resting and reflecting…) can allow you to acquire a level of concentration that will make you much more productive in the future. Who said that when faced with a standstill, you can’t get moving?
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Churchill
Bibliography: Play and Reality, chapter 3, Winnicott.