Creativity—are you born with it, can it be learned, or is it a combination of both?
For the longest time I opted out of calling myself creative.
I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and spent most of my 20s as a science geek, in the lab, conducting research, chasing after my PhD. As far as I was concerned, creative minds belonged to artists, writers, musicians … ie, “fun and spontaneous” people. Nerds like me were labelled analytical, procedural, practical, plus any other “–al” you care to attach.
At the time, I didn’t fully understand or appreciate that success in graduate school required immense creativity. Publishing original work is all about generating new ideas and discovering unique systems. It requires great storytelling and building a body of work that makes you an expert in your chosen field. Now tell me that isn’t creative!
Today, I find myself in the workplace where management is eager to impress their clients with creative ideas and solutions. With this challenge comes the need to categorize employees as “creative” versus “noncreative.” So once again I ask myself, “Am I creative … enough?”
I get it, creative minds are sought after. They are considered the bread and butter of most companies. However, the need to label people as “creative” or “noncreative” is scandalous.
You see, it’s all about perception. If I don’t look or sound like the “creative type,” I can’t possibly be creative. But, here’s a provocative truth:
- Everyone is born creative.
God is a creative being. He created us in his image and likeness, depositing in us seeds of creativity, curiosity, imagination, perseverance, intelligence … just watch a kid play with a giant card box and you’ll see that. So the challenge is to keep these qualities alive and flourishing. This includes growing and exercising our creativity muscles—yes, we all have them!
Over the years, I’ve seen my creative ability grow and atrophy depending on the environment. So I plan to strengthen and condition my creativity muscles by being more playful at home, at work, and in my community. And to surround myself with folks who will nurture and sharpen my creative edge. Basically, I plan to follow my 2-year-old’s lead.
What does creativity mean to you?
True or False: We are all born creative.