The Importance of Creativity and Self-Awareness

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend one hour with Cristina Riesen, ambivert, deep thinker, brain nourisher and the founder of We Are Play Lab (link), who delivered one TEDxTalk in Zurich in 2016 and one in Lausanne in 2019 (link).

“I could have never imagined that I would do another TED talk like that. I had the opportunity to put myself out in this world and share some of the things I care about. Creativity can help us with new economic models and propel the development of deeper consciousness and awareness. It can enable us to reach a new level of development and give opportunity to things we could have never imagined. I truly believe that in our lifetime we will see a major shift in a way we look at the world. We will understand and take into consideration the interconnection and will lead to new ways of organising ourselves. We know everything is interconnected, if you isolate yourself, you can not survive.”

Today Cristina is mainly invested and interested in the design of future education: “It enhances creativity, because you have to figure out how to deliver it to people in a way that conveys action. Exploring creativity and soul searching is not something that we design in our learning journey today. It’s no wonder that people do not feel whole afterwards. We have created this fairytale of eternally happy, productive growing, with job, status, etc. It is a very thin layer of ice. Some people can walk on it through life, for others it breaks and this is when we go through a transformation.

If you deny yourself creativity, you become underdeveloped. You start to create a narrative in your life that will be pleasing to the world around you, but you will feel broken inside. You will go around wondering why am I so broken and depressed? Realising that all the “right steps” (university, diploma etc.) did not give you the expected course of life. 

When you go through this, you lose the point of references that you built around you. It can be very painful as our whole self-identity is torn apart, but these are incredibly deep learning experiences, allowing another essence of you to emerge. Diving into our subconscious is like revisiting, shedding light and cleaning up the dark cellar in your house. No one can do this work for you, it’s about the willpower to put yourself in front of the mirror and be brutally honest. 

The more we work on ourselves the more it radiates, it goes to ancient wisdom of knowing yourself and being the change you want to see. You realize that you are what you aspire to be, it gives you power of being the creator of your own life. There are things that you won’t be able to control, but it’s not about control it’s about flowing with life. You have the opportunity to decide how to react to what is happening to us and this is the game changer. 

We are somehow taught to believe that creativity is a magical gift, which is wrong, we are hardwired as extraordinary human beings and have it in us, we can train it like a muscle. It does not come under pressure, one cannot plan these “Aha” moments. It just takes a certain type of childlike openness, without mental barriers, to let that energy come up, go beyond your mind, into a full body experience. We are creators, who can use that power to alleviate pain and suffering around us and this can only happen if we are truly open to the creative flow.

Sarah Ebling

          Sarah Ebling holds a professorship in Accessibility Studies at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and is a senior researcher at the University of Zurich. Her research focuses on natural language processing in the context of disabilities and special needs, specifically, sign language technology and automatic text simplification. Her groups’ contributions involve artificial intelligence techniques with a strong emphasis on user involvement. She is involved in various international and national projects and leads a large-scale Swiss innovation initiative entitled „Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies“ (2022-2026;