Art, Mindfulness, Travel

Cultural Connectivity Fosters Creativity

Perhaps there is no better time than the present to explore our creative potential. Creativity can minimize lethargy and helps one find sustaining experiences and innovation.  The challenge at hand reveals creativity to be an attribute that some feel plentiful amounts of and others feel depleted levels of inadequacy.


How can one express our creative spirit? Research alleges that building close connections with a person from another culture, through friendship or romance, can enhance an individual’s creativity and innovation.  Experiencing this creativity, can optimize one’s health; thereby discovering greater meaning and purpose.  Numerous studies support these findings.  One study involved 2,000 foreign nationals, who had worked seven years in the United States on J-1 visas and then returned to their home country.  These professionals who kept in regular contact with friends made in America, after returning to their home country, tended to be more innovative and entrepreneurial.  The study found that it was the depth of the relationships that provided this innovation.  Connections cannot be superficial but must be at a deep level of cultural interaction for transformation to take place.  Another beautiful example is revealed in a musical collective called the “Silk Road Ensemble.”  Created in 1998 by the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, this group consists of a diverse community of 59 musicians’ from across the Silk Road region combined with western musicians.  The best way to get a feel for the palpable inspiration and deep connection this music ensemble creates is to view the 2016 documentary “The Music of Strangers”.  These musical virtuosos were strangers from varying countries and traditions. After traveling the world together and melding various instruments of the world in sync, a deep bond and combustible creativity ensued.

Creativity comes down to connecting dots.  When we enter a close relationship with someone from a different culture, we have opportunities to collect more dots to the ones we already possess.  Not only do we collect more dots, we find ways to connect the dots. This experience of learning deeply about others who are different opens our life box.  My own experience reflects lessons obtained in dating a Persian gentleman, who I can now thank for increasing my creativity quotient. I have always considered creativity to be a strong trait. I now see that the experience of opening my world view, by understanding the customs and etiquettes of my boyfriend’s culture, helped foster my creativity.  There is a principle in ecology called “The Edge Effect”.  This defines a point in which two ecosystems meet such as the forest and the savannah. There is potential through colonization for new life forms to be created when biospheres meet.  Each one of us can take this trepidatious and opportunity-filled challenge to step over the edge and connect deeply with someone who is different than us and innately experience a more inspired world.