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Unlearning creativity

by Yvanne Dandan

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of people at a career development conference about creativity. I started the session by asking the group, “who here believes they are creative?” Out of approximately fifty people, less than ten people raised their hands. In a room filled with young professionals, only a small fraction of them believed they were creative. This was quite a sight and really telling of the way we, as a society, view what “creativity” means.

I proposed to the group that I believe every single person in that room can be creative and that it is so important to realize this. Let me tell you why.

“…In this new fast-moving, ever-changing environment, creativity is not a luxury or a risk. It really is a necessity.” (David Usher, Let the Elephants Run).

A lot of people think that creativity is something that only a few people in this world are born with – that they are “gifted” with creativity. Here’s the thing – and let it sink in – creativity and artistry are not the same thing. Sure, Leonardo Da Vinci was incredibly creative, but so was Steve Jobs! Jobs was very forward thinking and strived to explore various possibilities. He was determined to provide something fresh to this world; more new ways to use technology.

“We have to stop looking at creativity as the lottery that someone else won at birth. Instead, start looking at creative thinking as a skill set that you can master if you invest the time to learn how.” (David Usher, Let the Elephants Run)

In my opinion, children are the creative geniuses of our world. I’ve seen it time and time again. They always find interesting ways to solve a problem. If they are told to get from one end of the room to another, they might do so by walking in a straight line. However, they might also go under some tables and “walk on the lines” along the way. They do not limit themselves to the possibilities. Somewhere along the way as we “adult,” we convince ourselves that there’s only a finite amount of ways to approach certain situations. We need to make sure that we unleash our creative juices on a regular basis in order to live out a life filled with possibilities. We may need to take the time to unlearn what we believe creativity to be in order to fully realize our potential.

Since life is all about growth and continual “self check-ins,” some questions for you today. As a gentle reminder, don’t confuse creativity with artistry as you answer these questions:

  • When was the last time you did something creative?
  • How often do you engage in creative activities?
  • When do you feel the most creative?

Now go ahead and unlock your creative genius! You might just surprise yourself!

Yvanne is a Program Manager with Career Trek Inc. She’s also an Independent Pop, R&B/Soul Singer-Songwriter.

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