Every night, when Arthur Fry sang at his Church Choir, he used little slips of paper to mark the pages of his hymnal. But when he opened his book, invariably the paper slips shifted around or simply fell out, frustrating him. One night in 1973, Fry remembered an invention of his colleague Spencer Silver. A research scientist, Silver had developed a unique adhesive that had yet to find a practical application. Being a scientist himself, Fry thought he could use this adhesive to create a sticky bookmark that would come off easily without damaging the page on which it was placed.
The next day, Fry requested a sample of the adhesive and started experimenting by coating only one edge of the paper slip so that the other edge would not be sticky. It worked. Soon, he started using these slips to write notes to his boss. In due course, his paper slips became what we now know as Post-it notes.
3M, the company for which Fry and Silver worked, named Post-it notes its Outstanding New Product. Today, Post-it has become one of 3M’s most successful office products. Post-it was a result of “a solution looking for a problem.” And it was creativity that bridged the gap.
If you have grown up believing that creativity was restricted to creative people, this issue will bust that myth. You will also learn that creativity is not a luxury enjoyed by a gifted few. It’s a vital element of everyone’s happiness. Without creativity, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Everyone is creative. The difference lies in expression. And as you saw from the Post-it example, opportunities for creative expression can crop up anywhere—what is needed is an open mind and a willingness to experiment. The beauty of creativity is that its benefits don’t depend on the success or failure but on the attempt. In other words, happiness lies in the pursuit of creativity, not in achieving a certain goal.
This month, Carrie and Alton Barron, authors of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness, combine their vast experience with the latest research in psychology, to help you uncover an aspect that you probably didn’t know existed. They suggest ways to be creative in your everyday life, using your hands, your body, your mind and your heart. Creativity, they say, is a primal need, and is necessary for our wellbeing. The cover story is sure to get you back in touch with your innate creativity. And if doubt arises, recall the words of the great Vincent van Gogh, who said, “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
In this issue, we too have indulged in a creative pursuit. As you will notice, we have made significant changes to our layout and design. The changes have been introduced to improve the readability of the content. We would love to hear from you about our new look.