No Matter What You Believe – You Are Creative!

What is shocking to me is how many people don't think of themselves as being creative.  Whenever I give a speech, I ask the audience if they consider themselves as creative.  On average, about 1/3 raise their hands which means 2/3 of the audience self classify themselves as non-creative. I have a completely different opinion. You are creative!

yes - you are creative no matter what anyone else says

For example, you say at least one sentence each day that has never been spoken before.   This unique sentence is the result of the creative process of translating an idea/thought to actual words.

Everyday creativity manifests itself in what we may consider as everyday tasks:

  • Cleaning the house:  In my case, it takes me forever when I'm trying to clean the house before my wife gets home.  In her case, she can get it done 10x faster.  Why?  She has creatively optimized the process (what to do first, what to use, etc) of cleaning the house.
  • Fixing the plumbing:  When it comes to building something such as fixing a plumbing problem, my everyday creativity shines.  The ability to conceive, design, collect the parts and then build the final solution is a result of the creative process.
  • Parenting:  Finding ways to motivate one of the kids to do something they don't want to do is creativity at its best!
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Why do people have such a hard time considering themselves as being creative when they do it every day?  First, they don't recognize every day tasks as being the result of creativity and second, they consider creativity as a gift of God or something in the DNA.  For those of you who believe this, I've found proof that creativity is not a gift.    Dr. Dean Simonton, from the University of California – Davis, has research that shows that between 22% and 36% of the credit for creative ability is explained by natural endowment (DNA, etc).  The rest (between 64% and 78%) is explained by:

  • Practice – Creativity is a skill that you can lean.  Once you learn it, you need to practice it like any other skill.  To become proficient, you need practice everyday.
  • Encouragement – Just as we all need encouragement to lose weight or go to the gym, we all need encouragement to stick with it.  One way is to find others who are like-minded such as innovation groups on such sites as LinkedIn.
  • Access to resources – As with any skill, you need access to the best resources such as books, podcasts, workshops and mentors.
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So now you know that the majority of your creative ability isn't some special gift.  Don't set back and let others be creative.  Take the initiative and build up your own ability to be creative in everything you do. Remember – you are creative!

How many ways have you been creative today?

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5 thoughts on “No Matter What You Believe – You Are Creative!

  1. The problem isn’t so much that people don’t believe themselves to be creative but that they don’t understand creativity. The word has been hijacked by the artistic community to cover the process of painting, writing, composing etc.

    Everyone else is involved in innovation, problem solving, engineering, programming or some other euphemism for the process of “using of the imagination or original ideas in order to create something”.

    Until we reclaim the word from the artistic community the majority will suffer under the illusion that creativity is for the gifted few, instead of the process that we use to cope with everyday life.

  2. Your article has prompted me to consider wasys in which I can act effectively as a “creativity mentor” in my day to day life. Good post.

  3. Thank you for your great post! This is one of my pet peeves. I’m amazed at how often this idea is perpetuated.

    For example, this evening I was reading an interview with Bobbi Brown where she was explaining what she looks for when interviewing employees. She said: “If it’s the right person, I can barely speak and they understand what I’m saying. But if it’s not the right person, they have trouble understanding, because creative people are not like other people. Any other creative C.E.O. will understand what I’m talking about.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/business/24corner.html

    And the perceived gulf widens, because the unwritten message is: There are creative people, and then there’s everyone else. If you don’t already fit into the cliched definition of a creative person, then there’s nothing you can do.

    I’m a firm believer that everyone has creativity, and their creativity is as unique as their personality. The trick is befriending your own creativity and finding environments and circumstances which nurture that creativity. I treat my creativity like an actual person, a friend I can interact with and learn about.

    With that in mind, I started a blog to help other people get to know their creativity. http://www.creativitysworkshop.wordpress.com

    Thanks again for your post. It’s great to read someone else speaking passionately on the subject. 🙂

  4. Have come across this a little late, but really pleased to see so much discussion of the idea that everyone is creative. At Creative Creatures, we agree! and believe the real question is not ‘are you creative?’ but ‘HOW are you creative?’
    We have identified five fundamental creative behavioural building blocks: the Stimulator, the Spotter, the Sculptor, the Selector, and the Supporter. A mix of these establishes your preferred creative style or Creative ID and, with this knowledge, you can be clearer about the role you play in any process requiring creative input.
    We love feedback, so please let us know what you think!