Some people think that there are two kinds of people in the world (Hint: there are never only two kinds of people in the world). Those with creative ability, and those without. We talk about it as kids, and say things like she “can draw” or he “can’t dance”. But this is a mistake! It’s simply that our natural human instincts to create have not been fostered and supported. Maybe they have been squashed out of us by strict parents who are afraid of us turning out to be unlike them. Or perhaps everyone needs their creativity to be nurtured, and it’s the rare exception that it is? In this post, I clear all of this right up.
The importance of creativity
We’ve all heard the stories of artists with talent that is so immense it propels them to fame and fortune. We know that for a fact that artists are the ones who make the most money, right?? They are the ones who have the most respect, right?? Well, not exactly. Creativity is not just about art. It’s about business, it’s about politics, it’s about solving problems. It’s about teaching your children. Almost every amazing achievement of human beings comes from creativity.
Why is this misunderstood? We are so quick to idolize these artists, and so quick to judge those who don’t have the “creative spark”. But what if this is all a lie? What if being creative has little to no correlation to being arty? What if the reason we idolize these “creative geniuses” is because we don’t understand how creativity actually works? And what if we are all creatives?
What is creativity?
If asked, most people will tell you that creativity is the ability to create something that never existed before. It is the ability to make something new, and the ability to express something in a way that no one has ever expressed it before.
This is a common definition, but it is not accurate. Creativity is also the ability to put two old things together into a new way that creates something meaningful.
The stereotypical creative
Most people (if asked) would describe a creative person as:
- A good artist,
- Someone who can sing,
- Someone who does well in non-analytical school subjects,
- Someone who is rebellious,
- Someone who likes to express themselves with piercings or tattoos,
- Someone who can’t do math or science
- Someone who is a “free spirit”,
- Someone who is “individual”.
- Someone who is “fun”.
These are common traits that people associate with being creative. Of course, the stereotype is wrong. Of course, there is the occasional person who does not exhibit any of these traits, and still is very creative, but they are usually looked down upon for it. They’re expected to be a straight-up-and-down boring type. It’s unfair to constrain people like this, by pressing them into the shape that we expect them to be.
The stereotypical non-creative type
Left brain thinkers. Analysts. Scientists.
- Someone who likes to use logic,
- Someone who can do math,
- Someone who is good at writing essays,
- Someone who can’t sing,
- Someone who is level-headed,
- Someone who doesn’t like to express themselves,
- Someone who is boring,
- Someone who is “safe”
- Someone who is “normal”.
These are common traits that people associate with being non-creative. Of course, it’s also unfair to constrain people like this, by pressing them into the shape that we expect them to be, and these people deserve respect just as much as the others!
Busting the myths
So if these traits are so common, and so embedded in our society, how can we show the world that they are simply untrue? Well, we can stop buying into these myths, and stop making people feel bad for being different. We can stop saying things like “you’re so creative! I wish I could be like you!” based on their appearance, or “you’re so smart! I wish I could be like you!” based on what they are studying alone (they might be really struggling to live up to expectations!) We don’t need to hold ourselves back, or cast someone else down, in order to show our admiration for someone. We can just say “I admire you for your confidence, or ability to understand people, or your willingness to follow your own path” or whatever it is that we truly admire about them. We can also start to celebrate the traits that we think are good in our society. For example, we can make a lot of art, even if no-one expects us to, or likes it. Doesn’t matter! Print it out, and display it. We can make our own music, and share it with the world. We can do well in school, and be proud of it, because that is part of creativity too. We can express ourselves by getting a piercing or a tattoo, and not let ourselves be judged. We can be “individual” by reading a book about a topic that nobody else is interested in. We can learn to do math and science, and become excited about it. We can be “fun” by being goofy, and silly. We can do whatever we want, as long as we don’t hurt anyone in the process.
Discover your own creativity
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s that you should Carpe Diem, and acknowledge your own latent (or flowing) creativity, and accept that it is a huge part of being human, whether you’re an artist or a scientist. Allow creativity to enter your life and nourish it. It’s what being human is all about. Thanks for reading.