Every day, we humans test ourselves.
We do so to find out true potential, to push ourselves to our very limits, to understand just what we are actually capable of.
A few people get to test themselves on the world stage. They are Olympians with world records. Or they are hot dog eating champions. Or they are people who just have some kind of unusual or novel skill. Sometimes, we see what a human can do even when great limitations are placed on their bodies or minds. And we find inspiration in these things because they speak to the human spirit, wanting to climb ever higher.
But all of those things, whether winning a gold Olympic medal, or eating fifty hot dogs, are difficult.
There are plenty of things we humans have vast potential for that are not difficult. They do not require skill or practice. They come to us naturally, as if by instinct from the womb.
The problem is that a good deal of these instinctual talents are not all that great. They represent the bottom of human life. If we are to live good, virtuous, creative, worthy lives, then we will spend a lifetime learning to suppress these instincts for greatness.
Take this observation from Aldous Huxley:
It is true. My capacity to be unthankful, unobservant and unthoughtful of the miraculous circumstances of my life is a soaring testimony of that fact.
But creative people are people who see first. We cannot be truly creative if we cannot see and appreciate the world around us, the people around us, and understand the sheer wonderment of it all. We cannot be people who ignore, who shut out, who do not look or listen until it is taken from us.
Today, creativity starts by suppressing our natural instincts.