Creativity is not the illusive mistress, divine-inspiration, or unpredictable storm most people think it is. It is not just bestowed upon the lucky few. We are all capable of new, useful, and yes, creative ideas. So let’s take a moment to demystify creativity and throw out these common misconceptions.
1. I’m Not Creative
There is no such thing as a “creative type.” It isn’t the result of being “right brained,” slightly eccentric, or having a high I.Q. We are all creative—and it doesn’t have to mean putting pen or paint to paper. When we speak, when we dream, when we cook, when we teach—that is creativity. Perhaps yours has just been hidden away, dormant somewhere, and needs a little encouragement or recognition to reemerge.
2. Other People are More Creative
When you compare yourself to others you shut down your own creativity. Everyone is unique and has a unique, creative personality. If you are extroverted, you might feel most creative while talking with others. If you are an introvert you might find your ideas flowing better alone in the shower.
3. Creativity Equals Art
Just because you are not a painter or a poet does not mean you are not creative. You might have an aptitude for different types of creativity. Creativity manifests itself in many different ways—even in something as simple as relationships. Can you put good conversation partners together at a dinner party? On occasions when others around you are stumped, or can you think of the right thing to say? Do you know how to comfort, inspire, or uplift a friend who is hurting? That takes creativity.
4. I have to Wait for an “Eureka!” Moment
It is rare for ideas to just fall from the sky and hit you on the top of the head. More often the best, most creative ideas come from hard work and perseverance. Isaac Newton was stewing on gravitational forces long before his apple dropped from the tree. Creativity is not a passive process, and you don’t have to wait for a new idea either. Research shows more and more that new ideas are in fact old ideas combined in new ways.
5. I Don’t Have Time for Creativity
The idea that artists devote every waking hour to their craft can make being creative seem overwhelming—or maybe even a frivolous waste of time. When you are swamped by daily tasks you need to keep focused on your to dos and not waste time daydreaming. Right? Not true, at all. Some meditation and quiet, creative thinking might be just what you need to refresh, recharge, and boost productivity. Flexing your creative muscles can even give you edge at work or at home, no matter what you are doing.
Do not let these myths blind you to inspiration and creativity. You have great, creative potential, and it doesn’t come without a little effort. Sit, sift through your mind, recombine your ideas, and incubate them. Creativity is sure to follow.