Everyone is creative.
Oh sure, you may think you’re not creative, especially if you don’t classify yourself as some kind of artist … but you are, in your own way.
My wife and I will argue about this from time to time.
She thinks that because she’s not a writer, or not “crafty,” that she isn’t creative. I always call phooey on this.
You’ve never seen someone come up with solutions on the spot for immediate efficiency improvements like she can.
And in her professional realm of accounting, her creativity shines through too. As a consultant, she is constantly dealing with unique circumstances for unique companies, and applying the fundamentals she knows to help these companies achieve desired solutions in new ways. There is all kinds of creative thought required for that kind of work — not just to generate the idea or strategy, but also for how to execute on it.
That is creativity, whether she’ll admit it or not. 😉
It’s different than my kind of creativity (coming up with the word primility, and the idea behind it, for example), and it’s different from, say, the creativity of Picasso and Beethoven … but it’s creativity nonetheless.
It might be useful to take a quick moment to define creativity.
Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:
Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work or a painting).
Ideas are creative. Theories are creative. Compositions and jokes are creative. So are physical objects.
Clearly it’s not the output that defines whether creativity occurred. It’s this phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.
When I’m racing around like a madman cooking in the kitchen, and Heather describes a way that I can achieve the end result I’m going for in a much quicker, cleaner, and all-around more efficient way: that is creativity.
I don’t need to be able to hang it on my wall, or listen to it through headphones, for it to be creative.
Okay … so what?
Who cares whether someone thinks they are creative or not?
You should. We all should.
Creativity is what drives our world forward — in small, nearly invisible ways throughout every day that affect only a single person … and also in big, bold ways that can change the world.
Which is why, if we’re committed to living better, to being better, and to making choices that serve a higher purpose, we should be intentional about encouraging the creativity of everyone around us; most importantly, ourselves.
There is no greater impediment to creative thought than the false belief that we are not creative.
We just need to understand that we each express our creativity differently. In fact, more than just understanding this reality, we should embrace it.
And we should accept the inherent responsibility we all have to encourage each other’s creativity, whether that be through kindness, patience, and an enthusiasm of interest … or whether it be more proactive and involved, as it might be in a work group, a team, or even a relationship.
Here’s a question to ponder …
Who are your creative partners in crime?
He had me from the subhead:
Everyone has the capacity to be more creative.
But sometimes it helps to have a creative partner in crime to believe in our creativity, to complement our creativity, to even drive our creativity.
And this is the primility of creativity.
We must have pride in the creative contributions we can make to our own little world and to the massive world at large — even if the way we express our creativity doesn’t match up with whatever romantic or idealized notion of creativity we may have. We need to realize the folly of thinking that creativity is only expressed through the arts.
And we need to stop buying into the myth that creativity is a function of whatever some “muse” whispers into our ear while we stare out a window. This is the most vain, conceited idea of creativity there is! Oh how special we must think we are. Creative ideas don’t just happen; they are borne out of the imagination we develop from our experiences, and the subconscious mental synthesis of everything our senses take in.
This is why the pride we have in our creativity must be balanced by a level of humility that allows us to understand the work and effort involved in exposing ourselves to the ideas and experiences that will drive our own creativity. This humility will also help us realize that sometimes, oftentimes, we’re not at our creative best when we’re on our own.
Heather drives my creative thinking to new heights. She knows how to encourage me, how to listen, and what questions to ask, even if she doesn’t know that she’s consciously doing it. I hope I do the same for her.
She is one of my most cherished creative partners in crime.
Who are yours?
And what decision can you make right now that will either help you be more creative yourself, or help you encourage creativity in someone else?
It’s an important decision. It has the potential to introduce new creativity into the world, which will push your world, our world, just a little bit further beyond where it is right now.
That’s how things become better — for you, me, and everyone else.
Be better now.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Lauren Finkel