We’re about to enter into the territory of a personal beef of mine — that is, the idea that creativity is somehow owned by a few gifted people. This myth is absolutely untrue. Creativity, along with curiosity, is the genetic and spiritual inheritance of every human being.
We’ve come to associate creativity with artistic talent. While these are certainly related, they are not one and the same. Artistic talent is the ability to communicate in original ways, using words, visual and/or 3-dimensional images, or music. Creativity, on the other hand, is the ability to innovate — to do things in new ways. It is the ability do something that is original, to produce, bring into being, or otherwise fashion something new. It is the ability to “think outside the box,” to look at something in a new way and then respond to that perception appropriately.
Even if you think you are the single-most uncreative, dull person on the plant, you are, every day, expressing creativity at some level. The trick is to recognize your creative strengths and to gain confidence in them.
Here are a couple of examples: a mother of two toddlers is at her wit’s end because of their hyperactive behaviors. Nothing “by the book” seems to work. Driven by desperation, she invents a new game that keeps them occupied for an hour, giving her a much-needed respite; a company that is seeking to create a new product keeps experiencing product failures during rigorous testing, and no one seems to know why. An engineer on the project has a gut feeling about the problem and follows his instincts to design a workaround. It’s successful, and the company moves forward with the project.
Everyday problems engender everyday creativity.
Each and every one of us carries a fire of creativity within us. How does yours express itself? What have you done lately to make your life or job, or the life of your family, easier? What do you just love to do? Paying attention to these things will help you identify your creative passions.
Next up … How to nurture and develop your natural creativity.