You Are More Creative Than You Think

It’s a hot summer afternoon and I’m sitting in my booth watching festival-goers stroll by and browse all the offerings. Paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photographs. Some ladies come in and start taking a closer look at my work. We start conversing and I explain the process of my work and why I do what I do. It’s lovely. And then one of the ladies sighs and states with conviction….

“I’m not creative...I wish I was…”

It’s been said many other ways…”I can’t even draw a stick figure.” “Wow, that’s amazing. I could never do that…” “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.”

The general idea behind these statements is that some people are creative and others are not. I would like to disagree. Really disagree with a whole bunch of passion. This is simply not true in my book.

First, let’s look at what it actually means to be creative:

"Being creative means solving a problem in a new way. It means changing your perspective. Being creative means taking risks and ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking with routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different." (Quoted from Tanner Christensen March 5, 2010)

When defined in this manner, creativity is not just limited to those that can paint, mold, sing, play, or build. It includes all manner of problem solving which means that engineers, mathematicians, scientists, teachers, statisticians, lawyers, doctors, mothers, fathers, grandparents, caregivers….anyone who has ever had a problem to solve can be creative. There might be varying levels of creativity and those of us who constantly practice using creativity in their work will find it more readily, but we are innately and naturally creative. We were designed to be creative.

So, please stop saying you aren’t creative. You just might not realize it yet.

Your creativity might be more subtle. Your creativity might not be expressed in a product or an object, but your inner creativity is alive and well and it helps you navigate this life and all the punches it throws at you. It is through our imagination and creativity that mankind has been able to solve so many problems and move forward in technology, science, industry, humanitarian efforts, medicine, and government. If you are a mom or dad, you know that just keeping your children alive takes an immense amount of creativity!

Why is it important that you stop saying you’re not creative?

  1. It creates walls. When the premise is followed that some people are creative and some are not, all of a sudden there is a divide, a wall. There are different reasons why walls are put in place: sometimes it is because someone doesn’t feel worthy to join the "other" group or doesn’t understand the "other" group. I think we have enough things that we can divide over, but creativity doesn’t have to be one of them. Instead of it being a point of division, how about we look at it as a common quality that we all share.

2. It causes other people to disown their creativity. As any parent knows, children listen to everything you say. When I first encountered this with my boys, I was shocked at what they had retained from a conversation I was having with my husband in the car while they were supposed to be oblivious. If you think about it, even as adults, we are constantly listening, eavesdropping, soaking in words. When you state that you are not creative, be it in public or in private, ears of other creatives are listening (young, old and in between). They question their own right to call themselves creative. They consider how they measure up to the standard of creativity you are presenting. This disowning of creativity can cause tender hearts to waffle or it may simply reaffirm past beliefs regarding someone’s un-creativity.

How very, very sad and unnecessary.

What if, we embraced our creativity in all its forms.

What if instead of using creativity as a line of separation, we draw a circle around everyone in the room and share how we are using our creativity in bring beauty into the world.

What if, next time you are in an artist’s booth or at a gallery opening and you are talking with an artist, you say, “Your creativity is so beautiful and I appreciate it. It brings out the creativity in me. I love that we are all creative in our own way.”

My guess is that those around you who thought they might be creative but weren’t sure will feel bolstered and encouraged to grow in their creativity and those that were certain that they weren’t creative might pause and reconsider their belief.

And me, I will embrace you and thank you for owning the God-given gift of creativity and then I will probably ply you with questions about how you use your gift on a regular basis because I want to grow from your creativity just as much as you want to grow from mine.

What do you think? Is it possible that we are all creative? Share your comments!

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