How would you rate your creativity on a scale of 1 to 10?
If you define creativity as the ability to come up with something 100% original, you might want to think again. That is almost impossible.
My Creative Outlets
I secretly wanted to be a novelist when I was a kid. I loved reading and writing. I am a Potterhead, and I also loved detective stories like Sherlock Holmes. I started posting originals and fanfictions online when I was 11 and at that time there weren’t many forums but I didn’t care. I was having fun creating. I still wrote a lot when I started high school but at some point I just stopped completely. Other priorities caught up with me. But I have always preferred writing than actually talking in person. Writing was my emotional expression outlet.
On the other hand, I was a classically trained pianist. I also joined many painting and calligraphy classes when I was a kid. Now I think of it, I don’t quite know which came first: that my parents put me in those classes to train up my artistic sense, or they sensed that I was naturally better in arts than science and sports so they doubled down on that.
However, things changed after I finished high school. I took up a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in accounting and business law. I wrote only one song in the during the whole time I was in University. I didn’t write a single paragraph of my unfinished novel apart from writing essays. As you could imagine, accounting might be the most boring job of all – you don’t need a single ounce of creativity.
Is that true though? Are there really jobs that don’t require creativity?
Is creativity innate?
I don’t think we are born being either a creative or not. In fact, I think creativity, like typing, doing maths and playing sports, is a skill that you can practise and get better at.
I also think that every one of us is creative in some way, even in our careers – yes, even when you’re just punching figures in your little cubicle. Writing emails requires creativity. Thinking how to effectively deliver a presentation or pitch requires creativity. If you’re more of the “science” type, you need even more courage and creativity to experiment variations in known equations. You need creativity anywhere.
So, I would argue that creativity isn’t innate. And as I always say, personality isn’t permanent. We change and adopt depending on circumstances. Don’t let the “I’m the scientific type” block you from tapping into your muse.
What good would being creative bring?
Why would we want to be more creative?
1/ It makes life fun
Think about a situation when you face an obstacle. You can complain and whine all day, but you can also treat it like a quest in some game. This mindset stimulates and motivates you to turn obstacles into challenges. You start thinking outside the box to find creative solutions. When most people walk in one direction to tackle the problem, you do the exact opposite to see what happens. That is called creative problem solving. This applies to any situation – at school, at work etc. It is almost like playing around and finding loopholes in “rules”. Life seems more fun this way.
2/ It keeps your brain active
Being creative stimulates your brain. It’s hard to be original nowadays, but you can always find new ways to do old things. Whether you want a change in routine, impress or sell to someone, or to actually create something, you need to think and engage. This keeps your brain active.
Creativity is not innate, but a skill. Put in the work, do the reps, and it becomes your second nature in no time.