I believe that one of the most fundamental choices a human being can make relates to creativity. The choice is: do I wish to be a creative person or not? It would seem to be a no-brainer, but it’s interesting that at least half of people I talk to make the choice to Not be a creative person. This is done without a lot of thought, but sometimes it’s deliberate. Oh shame!
For a long time I’ve taken for granted that people would want to be creative, but now I’m getting that there are reasons why folks might go the other way. Here are those reasons:
- I don’t want the pressure of people looking to me for creative options or solutions
- I’m not artistic, so, how could I even pretend to be creative
- I’m not that brilliant, so, I’ll leave creativity to those extra smart people
- I think creative people are a bit narcissistic or stuck up — and that’s not me
- Most creative people I know are extroverted, and I’m really not, so, I can’t be creative
- My style is very modest, laid back, even conservative, and that’s not creative
Looking at these reasons, and there are others, they are mostly based on myths. The only one I could almost see as legit is number 1. Sometimes it can be tough to be seen as creative. The balance to that is when you do creative work, you are often admired and thought of as interesting. If you have self-belief, and know creative tools, you can deliver! Creative confidence is something you can build.
Let’s address some of those other reasons. First of all, creativity isn’t just self-expression and art — it’s primarily about ideas for problem solving. So if you can’t draw a stick figure — it doesn’t matter — you can still be highly creative. Creativity as problem solving is for everybody, because all normal human beings have to solve problems every day. Choosing creativity, fundamentally, means you wish to get better at problem solving. Being brilliant helps with problem solving, but average people can do a very good job, and, can improve with practice, tools, and techniques.
Creativity can manifest in many ways. It can take the form of a small improvement in a business process. You know, one of those tiny changes that simply makes a system more efficient. Trust me, you don’t have to be a performer, a poser, or an extrovert to come up with those valuable ideas. Modest, introverted, conservative (in the “reserved” sense) people are creative because they can have great ideas just like extroverted people. They can have huge, visionary ideas. Gandhi was a modest man who lead his countrymen to freedom. Creativity can be part of any type of personality.
So, have I put those reasons to bed? The benefits of choosing creativity, actively, are:
- Better problem solving
- More effectiveness in work and play
- A better self-image
- A more interesting life
Personally, I’d make the creative choice. How about you? If you make an active choice to be creative, you open the door to a different, richer, better life. Once you make the choice you’ll start thinking about how, and there are lots of good answers, some of which can be done immediately (like notebooking). Other tools or frameworks can take years, but oh, what a journey.