The midwife holds up the newly born baby and declares, “we’ve got a creative one here all right. This one’s a genius and no mistake.” You can tell just by looking at them can’t you?
Well, the people that society judges to be genii, the cleverest people that humanity has ever produced all say that although babies are born with a tendency to be better at some tasks than others or be interested more in one thing than another, ‘being creative’ is not something you are born with to a greater or lesser degree than anyone else. It’s like running. Babies aren’t born Olympic sprinters or long distance runners, they become them many years later by training. We could all become Olympians if we went through the relevant education and training and it’s the same with creativity.
A dictionary definition of creativity is “the ability to create new ideas or things using your imagination”. Notice it doesn’t say “the ability to be able to draw and paint a lifelike representation of a bowl of fruit”.
So why do people think it is? Perhaps it’s because creativity hasn’t been understood or taught particularly well in so many schools.
This could be changing. Teachers have realised that creativity can be taught alongside and within every subject. The National Curriculum is tackling this and have come up with their own definition of creativity: “First, creativity involves thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective.” It sounds a bit vague perhaps but it seems to encompass everything.
Creativity is the process of making associations between disparate concepts, to make decisions based on those associations and then take action. What that means is that creativity is looking at things, making connections between things that weren’t connected before and then doing something about it. We can simplify that to a formula:
Perception + Decision + Action = Creativity
So what’s this all about you say, and how does it relate to me making more money? Well the products of creativity are ideas. Ideas are the currency of tomorrow’s world. We need more ideas. If you can consistently come up with good ideas in your field, for your business, for your life, you win.
Still think you’re not creative? No, I didn’t think so. I know you’d never admit it but you’re probably the most creative person you know.