There are two kinds of people in the world. People who are creative and people who believe the lie that they’re not. The idea that some select chosen few are creative while the everyone else is left to languish is a complete myth. Everyone has the capacity to be creative. Unfortunately for many people their creative efforts were stifled at a young age. Even more unfortunate is when it is never recovered.
In truth it is never really lost, just neglected; abandoned for the belief that it never existed to begin with. Creativity, like a muscle, will atrophy when underused. One’s creative faculties must be exercised. Luckily they can never atrophy into extinction. The flames of passionate creativity can always be rekindled. However this process does require work, sometimes difficult work. Just like the necessity for physical therapy to recover capacity in muscle functioning. Severely malnourished creativity may need to undergo some intense therapy.
The false beliefs of inability, skepticism and doubt must be extricated. To be creative is a choice. It is a purposeful and conscious shift in mindset. Here’s how:
First accept that you are creative. Creativity is part of our divine endowment as humans. You have the capacity like everyone else. Believing this may require redefining your self image. The way to change your beliefs about being creative is to stop telling yourself that you’re not. Abolish the negative internal dialogue that tells you can’t or that you aren’t. You can create! You are creative!
Second, develop skills. Know that your ability to be creative has nothing to do with drawing skills. Those who are creative are not so because they draw, but rather those who draw do so because they love the creative process. Although drawing skills are not prerequisite, skills and expertise of any kind are imperative to enhancing creative capacity. Or rather the ability to develop skills. Happily, if you can do it once you can absolutely repeat the process with a new set of skills. Skill, the ability to do something well, is one of the raw materials of creativity. For example, in order to create music, one must first learn (and perhaps even master- to some extent) the fundamentals of music. Even a musical prodigy like Mozart wasn’t a prodigy because he was some how magically able to create music ex nihilo, with no prior knowledge, study or experimentation. Rather, he was a prodigy because he had mastered the necessary skills at an early age.
Third, learn to make connections. This is related to the idea of having vision, or the ability to see or make seen things otherwise obscure. Unlike developing skills which is primarily a physical activity, the ability to make connections is a mental capacity. It to must be exercised. In their book, Creative Confidence, the Kelley brothers, Tom and David, talk about developing empathy as a way to tap into our creative resources. They argue that the ability to relate, and connect with others is another vital resource of creativity. Jacob Bronowski in his essay The Creative Mind talks about creativity as the ability to find hidden likenesses between two seemingly unrelated things. He describes this process as a way of recognizing and identifying parallels similar to the way poetic metaphors juxtapose subject matter to create a harmony of idea. He further describes the unique connection that happens between creator (or artist) and observer when the observer rediscovers for himself that which the creator has presented.
Fourth, produce. Make production a greater passion than consumption. Put your skills and your ability to make connections to use. Produce something, anything. It doesn’t even have to be a physical thing. Production is where creativity begins to reap the rewards that enrich life. And as Bronowski points out, meaning is enhanced when not only the creator benefits from the process and the product, but the consumer does too. Art, music, poetry, literature, a delicious meal, a relationship, all must first be created, then enjoyed.
Once you stop believing the lie that you are not creative. (especially if you believed it for lack of drawing skills) you are empowered to use your creative abilities to enrich your life. Chances are you already have skills. You can make connections. You can produce. You are creative, even if you can’t draw.
What will you create today? Share in the comments.