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Mary H. Ruth : Creativity, Cooperation and Capitalism

Creativity, Cooperation and Capitalism

By Mary H. Ruth

Artists take creativity to its natural conclusions; they push it to the very limits. But creativity at a less intense level is part of all of our daily lives, and is an important tool in everyday business. In the same way, some athletes are bound for sports stardom, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should not develop our physical agilities. Creativity, however, is not as well developed amongst the general populace as sports are. So its uses in business are relatively new.

Developing creative muscle is a long-term endeavor, and adopting a creative lifestyle results in a continuous flow of discovery over years and years. It is something learned with much practice and never entirely mastered. Nonetheless, the precepts of creativity are supremely simple, and can be relayed teacher to student in a short time. It's up to the student then, to assimilate the concepts over time.

One of the fundamental premises of the creative life is compassion. To achieve creative states, you have to have a willingness (even a yearning) to connect. This may involve connecting with Self as much as connecting with Others; but either way, creative urges arise from the need to bridge a gap, to make a connection. This is what is meant here by compassion: the impulse to make a connection.

Anyone who studies marketing trends and current business success strategies knows that making connections is your best bet for big sales. Ease in communications and our daily intercourse with people the world over via the Internet mean that connections are so plentiful we need special tools to handle them. We've devised mail folders, social networking, site subscriptions, feeds, even a moment-to-moment blather board (Twitter) to organize our connections. The Internet enforces an unofficial code of ethics around these connections, insisting they be characterized by 'giving' first before 'taking.'

But when you really think about it, the Internet and all these social marketing toys are distractions from the real thing. The real thing is who you are and what is the product/service you offer; and what are vital connections between all that and other people? The real thing is studying hard into who you want to serve and how you want to serve them. The real thing is perfecting your product/service so that it speaks for itself.

As a business person, you have something to sell; you're definitely interested in connecting with others. You use your creative abilities to define yourself and your product in ways you think will help or delight your connections. You learn to think compassionately in terms of the Other.

The underlying spirit of this understanding of business is one of cooperation. It seems a contradiction in terms, but we are manifesting a kind of cooperative capitalism in business nowadays. Competition served us well in the past, but when the playing field is global, such strategies become self-defeating. It's still imperative to strive for excellence, to be the very best you can be; but the path to these goals lies through giving and cooperation, rather than through hoarding and competition. This is an evolutionary advance for commerce.

It also heats up the need for developing creative understanding; practicing and making a lifestyle of creative habits; and opening to creative connections wherever they may appear. In working creatively, you are perpetually improvising the dance between you and your connections, making the bridges stronger and more numerous with each of your compassionate exchanges. •

© 2008 Mary H. Ruth. All rights reserved.

Mary H. RuthMary H. Ruth owns and operates Virtual Writing & Communications Solutions, offering writing and administrative support for businesses and professionals. More »