Does adversity enhance creativity?

This question has been troubling me for quite sometime now, and I’ve been putting off writing this post for as long as I can remember.
That’s because I’ve failed to arrive at a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer to the question.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “adversity” as “a difficult or unpleasant situation”. By it’s nature, the definition is open-ended and can mean a lot of things – a financial crunch, an academic failure, loss of a loved one, a heartbreak, a long winding illness, to name but a few.

However, there also arises a situation wherein an individual is unperturbed by all the above mentioned happenings.
But, that same individual loses sleep over a trivial problem.

So for my convenience, I choose to define “adversity” as “anything that affects the human mind negatively, thereby triggering a thought-chain”.

And yes, a thought-chain is always good for creativity.

The worst tragedy that can befall an artist is the death of those voices in his head that tear him apart, so much so, that unless he picks up the pen, the brush, and creates magic, he can’t find solace.

A tranquil mind is an artist’s worst nightmare.

So, from that point of view, adversity is good. It gives you a lot to think about. Thinking is good for the creative ones.

But, adversity can’t make you a better artist; it can’t teach you to sing, or paint, or write, if you don’t already know.

It can’t teach you grammar, language, structure.

And, just as I try to arrive at a resounding “YES” as an answer to the question, there arises that one darn good arguement that pushes me back to square one.

The arguement is – “Adversity also has the nasty reputation of having created the worst criminals of the world”.

The persecuted have often become the persecutors. To plug their internal void, and to silence the monster inside, some have picked up guns, swords, and daggers.

Can we really rule that out?

Can we still say that “Adversity enhances creativity”?


8 comments on “Does adversity enhance creativity?

  1. Mitali Das says:

    Awesome! Felt like reading a book. You have got so much in you. The way you write, the way you express your emotions, feelngs, thoughts, is just incredible. Lage raho …. That’s the only thing i can say.

  2. Thanks Mitali!
    You’re very generous in appreciation. Your visit to the blog is such a pleasant surprise. You’ve made my day! πŸ˜€

  3. Gilraen says:

    I think there is no resounding no or yes. It strongly depends on the deposition of person. My personal creativity is killed in adversity and many people with me need a sort of flow to get the creative juices going. Adversity pushes me back into a shell not wanting to come out, not wanting to show myself, which in effect creativity does.
    You can see it in my blog quite easily – I write less

    • Interesting. Most of the time, adversity spurs me on to write. For me it is a way of fighting back. But that’s the thing about creativity – there’s are no definite laws.
      Thank you for your time πŸ™‚

  4. Couldn’t have agreed with you more Subh! More often than not I too write when I am all alone feeling utterly depressed, desperate or disturbed but then it may not be the case with all. There are also posts written with the sole purpose getting the readers to laugh their lungs out. I doubt if adversity had spurred them to write.

    Agreed – There is no definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ your question. It depends on the individual.

Let me know what you are thinking. . .

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