讚揚創意

By Jim Mathis

人類與其他受造物的重大差別之一是我們的創意。聖經說上帝按祂自己的形像造我們,從一開始祂就想要我們像祂一樣有創意。

最近我與一位藝術家(畫家)朋友談到一個人與一個團隊所創作的藝術有何異同。我這位畫家朋友大多是獨自工作,就如同我身為攝影師也獨自工作。當其他人參與我的一個企劃,他們通常是被攝影的對象。他們只是攝影過程的一部份,但創意主要是透過我的眼睛、頭腦和心去創作影像。相機是工具,就如同畫筆或雕刻家的鑿子,都是創作藝術品的工具。

我看我其他的工作──擔任音樂家──就是「團隊工作」。有些音樂家喜歡獨自工作,如作曲或獨奏、獨唱,我則認為音樂最好是團隊合作。這個團隊可以小到二重奏或二重唱,例如約翰藍儂與保羅馬卡尼,或者也可大到一個交響樂團。

這同樣的原則也適用於工商界。一位執行長或公司主管有時必須獨自工作,作出只有他/她自己才能作的決定。業務主管常常要獨自旅行去拜訪可能的買主,希望能說服他們購買自己的產品或服務。在這種時候,他們運用個人的創意去決定如何做最能達成目標。

然而,大部份時間以一個團隊在商場工作是最好的。例如,形成未來的策略、為一個新的做法制定特別的計畫、為一個部門或公司整體評估其表現,綜合不同的觀點通常帶來較好的結果。

不論這團隊的規模如何,當你了解整體比個體的總合還大,「奇妙的事」就會發生。換言之,你們可以達成你自己一人無法達成的事。在運動界我們常常看到這種事情。當一個團隊的每個人都合作得很好,結果就比某一個人的好表現有更大的效果。

我參加的音樂團體「天藍樂團」成立於幾年前,因為我們想要以音樂的型式呈現藝術。當我們表演時,聽眾會看到四位音樂家傾聽彼此的聲音,回應彼此所唱或演奏的聲音,並加上音樂的對話,希望合起來的聲音是悅耳的。我們並非爵士樂團,但爵士樂基本就是如此。

大多數的時間我們都呈現出開心的笑臉,因為我們創造出以前從未聽過的音樂──而且可能以後再也不會聽到。

聖經常常談到團隊工作的寶貴價值。舊約傳道書4章9-12節指出:「兩個人總比一個人好,因為二人勞碌同得美好的果效。若是跌倒,這人可以扶起他的同伴;若是孤身跌倒,沒有別人扶起他來,這人就有禍了…有人攻勝孤身一人,若有二人便能敵擋他;三股合成的繩子不容易折斷。

箴言27章17節也說:「鐵磨鐵,磨出刃來;朋友相感也是如此。」我們每個人都有獨特的才幹與能力,但若要表現得最好,我們需要彼此。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他還寫了一本書「一般民眾的高度攝影表現」,那是一本有關數位攝影的書。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

思想 / 討論題目
你的工作是否需要創意?請舉一些例子。 在你的經驗中,什麼樣的工作自己做最有效果?什麼工作則是以團隊合作(不論只有兩個人或一群人)最成功? 你是否曾在事情達成後回顧時才了解,如作者所言,「整體比個體的總合還大」? 依你之見,不論在工商界、運動、社區活動或例如音樂的藝術,以創意的觀點看,什麼是團隊合作的最大利益?若你想參考有關此主題的其他聖經經文,請查看以下經節:
出埃及記4章10-17節;民數記13章1-31節;馬太福音10章1-16節;馬可福音6章7節;哥林多前書1章1節;哥林多後書1章1節;帖撒羅尼迦後書1章1節

PRAISING THE VIRTUES OF CREATIVITY

By Jim Mathis

One of the major differences between humans and other creatures is our creativity. The Bible says God made us in His own image; from the beginning He intended for us to be creative, as He is.

Recently I was talking with an artist friend──a painter──about art created by an individual versus art created by a team. As a painter, my friend primarily works alone, as do I in my work as a photographer. When other people are involved in a project, they are usually photographic subjects. They are very much part of the process, but the creativity is primarily using my eyes, head and heart to create photographs. The camera is a tool, just as a paintbrush or a sculpture’s chisel are tools, for creating the artwork.

I view my other profession──as a musician──primarily as a “team sport.” Some musicians like to work alone as composers or solo performers, but for me, music is best done by a team. The team can be small like a duo – John Lennon and Paul McCartney, for example – or can be large like a symphony orchestra.

The same principle applies in the business world. A CEO or company executive at times must work alone, making decisions that he or she alone can make. Sales executives often travel alone to meet with prospective clients, hoping to persuade them to purchase products or services they represent. At such times, they utilize personal creativity to determine what they think can best achieve their objectives.

Much of the time, however, a team approach in business is best. For instance, in formulating strategies for the future, developing specific plans for a new initiative, or evaluating overall performance for a department or the company overall, drawing from different perspectives often leads to better results.

Whatever the size of the team, the “magic” happens when you realize that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, you achieve something together that you could not have accomplished by yourself. We often see this same reality in the world of sports. When members of a team play well together, the results can be much greater than what you would expect from each one individually.

The musical group of which I am a member, Sky Blue, was formed years ago because we wanted to make art in the form of music. When we perform, our audience will see four artists listening to each other, responding to what the others are singing and playing, and adding to the musical conversation in a way that is, hopefully, pleasing to the ear. We are not a jazz band, but that is basically what jazz music is.

Most of the time, we come away with big smiles on our faces because we have produced something that was never heard before──and probably won’t be heard again in exactly that same way.

The Bible often speaks to the value of teamwork. In the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 it points out, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Proverbs 27:17 also states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We each have unique talents and abilities, but to perform at our best, we need each other.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How would you say that creativity is involved in the work that you do? Give some examples. From your experience, what tasks can you accomplish most effectively on your own, and which are usually most successful when you are working as part of a team, whether that involves just one other person or a group of people? Have you been in situations where, in looking back at what had been achieved, you realized – as Jim Mathis stated – “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”? Explain your answer. In your opinion, whether it be in a business environment, sporting activities, community projects, or artistic pursuits such as music, what are the greatest benefits of teamwork, in terms of creativity?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Exodus 4:10-17, Numbers 13:1-31; Matthew 10:1-16; Mark 6:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1

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