Creativity is fast becoming one of the top attributes that companies look for when hiring and promoting, but if you don’t see yourself as a creative how do you become creative?
The first step is to buy an easel, don a smock and sit by a river looking intense …seriously though, this stereotype of an artist doesn’t help people realise that creativity is more than being ‘arty’. I believe it is an innate part of all humans (a force within us!) and just like a muscle it can be developed (https://www.simonageorgephotography.com/post/want-to-be-employable-in-the-future-then-develop-your-creativity). And I believe that creativity is as much about invention and problem solving than it is about being skilled in a traditional art form.
Either way it’s important to remember that people who exhibit talent or are leaders in their fields have spent years and years honing their craft or business (see 'Outliers' by Malcom Gladwell). They weren’t just ‘born that way'.
And there’s a trick to the honing….it’s called iteration and repetition. No rocket science here or gifts from above. Just simple dedication to trying, failing, tweaking and trying again – we are all capable of that. Chase Jarvis has a fantastic framework for this called DEAR – deconstruct, emulate, analyse and repeat (see his latest book 'Creative Calling' for details of this– highly recommended!).
To see this in action my challenge to you is to make a paper aeroplane. Chances are the first time you launch it; it may not go very far (or even just plummet to the floor as mine has!). And that is ok! Now you're going to make it again but with some modifications – use google to see if anyone has any tips (deconstruction). Now build the modified plane (emulation), launch it and see what happens (analysis) and then do it all over again (repetition). I’m pretty sure if you did this everyday for a few weeks you would have a plane worthy of a world record by the end of the month!
So if the process is so simple and doesn't require bags of talent why do we stop trying ‘creative’ pursuits or any new endeavour.
One reason are those little voices in our heads that sabotage us even before we have begun - they go something like this “You're going to try and draw? Give me a break, you can’t draw!” “Or you want to try to play tennis, are you kidding me you're way too unfit!” These voices are your greatest enemies, and they have been planted over decades usually, tended carefully by culture and kept alive with our own personal fear of failure.
And what’s interesting about these unkind, hyper critical opinions (because that is all they are) is that you would never speak to a small child this way or even a friend.
There is a trick to silencing those voices. Start small. One tiny unassuming step at a time. Want to get more creative with your hands start with what is readily available (make a paper aeroplane!) then move onto some playdough or FIMO, and eventually take a sewing or pottery class. Just build up your skills with patient perseverance in small bite size actions. And each time you hear “See, I told you, you were rubbish at that!”. Just laugh and say – “Hey I’m learning, I’m allowed to make mistakes”.