“How many of you think you’re creative?” Five people out of 22 raised their hands.
“How many of you regularly figure out how to apply existing materials or information in a new way to answer a question or find a solution?” Everyone raised their hands.
The above is a snippet from a presentation I gave to a group of professional women last week. But it could be from any number of conversations I’ve had over the years.
Why You Say You Aren’t Creative
As child you were naturally inventive and creative: daydreaming, telling stories and playing. This is how kids learn, how they explore. Every child is creative.
But at some point in time you got the message, you’re not creative. “You don’t draw well.” “Don’t be silly.” “Daydreaming is a waste of time.” You believed it. And you carry that belief with you as an adult.
A Different Definition of Creativity
Creativity is often seen as a purview of the “big C” creative people painters, dancers, musicians. And yes that is true. But is creativity only the domain of ” big C” folks? No.
Creativity is the ability to combine the novel and the useful in a particular context. I love that definition (it’s from Rex Jung and other big thinkers about creativity).
Why Creativity Is Vital for Success
Creativity is vital for all of us, you, me, your brother, to continue to live and work successfully. You have to imagine and invent what you want for yourself, your career and your personal life.
If you’ve opened the fridge on a Thursday night and made dinner out of yogurt, tomatoes, chicken breasts and grapes, voilà, you’ve been creative.
Drafted a persuasive argument for how a project can move forward by using current resources? That’s creative.
As an adult it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you are not imaginative or creative.
Or that you don’t have the time to be.
Or that being imaginative is unprofessional.
The truth is it just takes a little prompting to start using your creativity.
3 Thoughts to Jump Start Your Creativity
- Imagine you at your best as a person, what would think? What would you do? What would you say? (Example: I’d feel comfortable in my skin. Confident that I‘m leader who nurtures the unexpected and promising people.)
- Imagine what would happen as a result of being your best as a person and the life you’d lead. (Example: To be sparked by surprising pops of insight. I’d be “fed” by the opportunities and interactions I have in life.)
- Imagine how your personal and professional priorities, wants and needs can come together. (Example: I could put my social skills and creativity to use by becoming informal ambassador for the company.)