Watch any child and you’ll see a creative person. You only have to watch them teaching themselves to crawl or how to get up onto the kitchen counter to grab a cookie to know that they can surprise you with their creative genius.
Ask any child whether they are an artist, a builder, or whatever – and they will say yes. If you ask a grownup who doesn’t do it as a job, they’ll say no – even though they have years more experience than a toddler. At some point we start to see our skills as being on an absolute scale, compared to the best in the world. We’ll say ‘I’m not as creative as…’ and then decide that if we aren’t the most creative, we aren’t creative at all. We’ve seen how this works for talent, beauty, intelligence, strength, and just about everything else. Comparisons don’t help us here.
Even if you aren’t in a creative job, or have creative hobbies, or have a creative personality – you’re still an innovator, a creative thinker. Your perspective, your unique character, gives you a completely different angle from other people. You have your unique voice, your own story, and this gives you the ability to bring something that others might not see.
Here’s a brainstorming tip. Never ever edit yourself as you go. Get as much down on paper as you can, even if it’s nonsense. You can do this with people or by yourself, but the key is to accept every idea you have, even ‘bananas’. Ideas spark other ideas, but self-editing as you go vastly reduces the amount and quality of your ideas.
You are full of ideas. Use them! Even if they suck, they’ll open you up to other ideas. If you’re with other people and someone else is ‘more creative’ than you, and you say your half-baked idea instead of holding it in, maybe between you you’ll bounce your idea around until something great pops out.
Another way to see it is that everyone can either create or destroy. You can either build something in the world, or you pull down what other people build. Which do you want to do? If you feel like you can’t build, that’s what makes you turn into a destroyer instead. But it’s also to do with your attitude. If you know that you want good things for people, even if you’re not feeling creative, you at least know that you are on the side that wants to make good things. This can help you stop criticising other people’s work and start to contribute.
Being creative isn’t all about painting or art. It can be problem solving, teaching, raising kids, computers, science. Especially science! Labelling some school subjects as ‘creative arts’ makes it sound like science – which is really coming up with innovative ways to discover how the universe works – is not creative!
So. Creativity is not all about art. It’s more about whether you are someone who has ideas and wants to make something. And I think that somewhere inside us, we all have something.