I have heard many people say “I wish I was more creative” or “I can’t do X. I’m just not creative like that.”
There seems to be an assumption out there that in order to be a creative person you have to be gifted in the creative arts, and if you were not born with this natural affinity, then you may as well just give up because you will never be creative.
I do not agree with this assessment at all. You are amazingly creative.
To think of creativity in such linear terms goes against the entire concept of creativity. Creativity, in fact, takes many forms because everyone is creative in their own way.
Scientists create new theories. Entrepreneurs create new systems for their businesses. Teachers create alternative ways of reaching their students. Creativity manifests itself in each person through the things they are most interested in or do most often. I think you, and most people on earth, are quite creative and there are ways you can harness that creativity to enhance your life.
The Definition of Creativity
Dictionary.com defines creativity as “the ability to transcend ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations.”
Creativity is not just artistic affinity. It is literally to CREATE something new, or to rethink an already established creation in an alternative way.
How often do we do this in our every day lives? Have you tried out a new recipe lately? Put a new outfit together out of clothes that you already had? Rearranged a room in your house? Tried to explain to your 5-year-old why blood is red instead of green? (No? Just me on that one?)
Each of these activities is a different manifestation of creativity. Anytime you engage your mind to come up with a fresh way of doing things, even if it is only new to you and not the rest of the world, you are practicing creativity. And the great thing is, the more often you do it, the better at it you will become.
And that is important because…
Even “Creative” People have to work at it
It’s true that some people grow up thinking outside of the box more easily than others. It’s also true there have been rare instances of individuals who pick up a paintbrush for the first time and create a beautiful artwork, or people who sit in front of a piano for the first time and seem to find a melody almost immediately. But these people are incredibly rare.
The most talented creatives work at their craft every single day. This means, even those who start out vaguely gifted in a given area, have to work on it regularly to become truly talented.
Malcolm Gladwell says in his book “Outliers”, that it takes 10,000 hours for anyone to master a craft.
Even Beethoven, who was lauded for writing symphonies early in his life, was so good because he put in the necessary work early, during his childhood years. Those who make a living from their creative pursuits have to put in the work to stay competitive in their field.
What does that mean for you? It means you can also be artistically creative if you are willing to work at it.
It also means that even if you don’t wish to be a master artist, you can improve your creative affinity simply by seeking out opportunities to be creative. The truth is, you are just as creative as the masters once were when they had put in the same number of hours as you have now.
You are as creative as you are willing to become.
Living Creatively can have a profound impact on your life
Working your creative mind is like working a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
And when you strengthen your creativity in one area of your life, it enhances your creative abilities in other areas as well. People who take the time to work on their creative abilities find it easier to problem solve and find solutions to issues at work and at home.
People who actively use their creative juices on a regular basis not only experience a sense of accomplishment from their work but also report feeling happier overall.
Studies have shown that regular creative practice can positively affect the production of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. It has even been proven to decrease amounts of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, in the body.
Living your best creative life not only makes you a happier person, it actually enhances your physical health.
Not only is every person creative in their own way, but everyone can also build that creativity into “talent.” And not only is this possible, but it is actually good for you!
So the next time you find yourself sparked by some small creative impulse, ignore the little voice telling you that you aren’t creative, and instead follow that impulse. Not only will you discover more about yourself, but you may just find that you are a happier person because of it.