28 Jan 3 Reasons Why Some People Are Not Very Creative
As you may have heard; a group of German scientists recently discovered the gene responsible for human creativity. It is estimated that only around 35% of the human species are lucky enough to have it. This is why we say someone with talent is ‘gifted’ because their traits appeared naturally, as though they were given as a gift.
This is all bollocks, of course. There were no German scientists; I was lying. If you’ve ever told a lie you’ve been creative. If you’ve ever painted your bedroom, held a surprise party, added crisps to a sandwich, chosen an outfit, or organised a date then you’ve been creative. Every person has a creative mind. Here are 3 reasons why you may think you’re not creative;
- You grew up
As children we throw ourselves into everything in our brand new world, on a journey of rapid discovery. We draw on the walls, learn to walk, put sentences together, cover ourselves in peanut butter; discovering what works and what doesn’t. At two or three years old most kids are happier playing with the cardboard box at Christmas than with the toys that came inside. The box can be anything, a spaceship, a hideout, a kitchen, a robot; we’re pretty creative.
As we grow, novelty fades, we develop fixed habits and most of us get out of the practice of creativity. Ken Robinson ran a test to calculate levels of ‘divergent thinking’. He found that 2% of adults were operating at ‘genius’ levels of creativity as opposed to a staggering 98% of 3-5year olds! As we get older our creativity dies, or rather; it’s killed. Watch Robinson’s Ted Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” for more detail on this, it’s the most watched TED talk of all time!
School teaches us that there’s one correct answer to every question. If you don’t feel like you’re creative it’s probably because you over 5 years old. You’ve forgotten how to zig when everyone else zags.
- You don’t identify as creative
I work in the ‘creative industries’ but it’s mad how often I hear people say; “I’m not very creative”. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; why would you take a chance if you always tell yourself that you’re not?
As mentioned, most people stop practicing creativity the older they get. Creativity is a habit and the more you practice, the better at it you’ll become. We often peg writers, artists and musicians as ‘creative types’ and it makes sense, they’re continually bringing new ideas to life; they’re practicing creativity every day and it’s part of their identity. As soon as you allow yourself to reframe your identity you’ll give yourself permission to start practicing the habit. Now, I’m not saying you need to take up art lessons and start writing poetry on the bus (although, to be honest that’d probably help). My advice is to start practicing by looking at different ways of doing things in your everyday life. By saying “I’m not very creative” you are essentially saying “I don’t think very differently”. We all have the ability to change what we think about!
- You Don’t Ask The Right Questions
Some people become millionaires from a really simple idea and we say; “why didn’t I think of that?” Accepting what ‘is’, is easier than questioning things. Creativity is problem solving and answering the crazy questions.
The Polaroid camera was invented in the 1940s when Edwin Land took a regular photo of his 4 year old daughter and she asked to see the picture. Land explained that there was a long process involved in developing photos and that she wouldn’t be able to see it until much later. Her response was “why?” Most would have dismissed the child, but this question fuelled creativity and innovation, resulting in a darkroom being placed within a camera!
School has taught us that there’s one correct answer to all problems. Knowing that there isn’t allows us to innovate, to help others and to make an impact in the world. Ask ‘why?’ more often, question everything and you’ll see the world from a different perspective!
If you enjoyed this article then check out the Creative Rebels Podcast. New episodes every Friday.