I remember back in high school discovering new music like I was searching for the Holy Grail. When I found a new band that excited me a door opened to an entire new world filled with inspiration. I’d tell every friend I knew about them to share them with others. Then something happened. Once it felt like the music went “mainstream,” I became ashamed of my interest. It wasn’t “cool” anymore.
Sometimes I can catch myself doing that with things in my life now: waiting FOREVER to read super popular books (because for some reason it childishly annoys me when everyone is talking about it – I still haven’t read 50 Shades), or watching a hit movie when it’s out on video. While I’m not sure this is anything more than a flashback to adolescent behavior, I see this happening now with some people and creativity.
Creativity is a new buzzword, no doubt. Coloring books, creative thinking, creativity in business, creativity, creativity, creativity… it’s hard not to go through a newspaper or social media without seeing that word, somewhere.
For example, the Global Creativity Index just came out. It’s a world ranking of creativity for all nations based on indicators like technology, talent and perhaps surprisingly, tolerance.
Canada, a country I hold much love for (my husband is Canadian, thank you Canada for my honey ;)) ranked well because of their tolerance. Yup. You heard me: tolerance. Being accepting and inclusive of a diverse population fosters creativity. You can learn more about it in this article here.
Who knew that measures of creativity could help inform our understanding of different countries? If it can work for large institutions, why can’t it work for us as individual creatives, too?!
Food for thought: how open are you to new ideas, politics and cultures that are different than your own? Being open to hearing about and learning about differences will likely enhance your creativity, because your brain will be more open to developing connections between disparate thoughts. Canada ranks super high on a worldwide creativity ranking because of this particular national trait. Where do you fall on that spectrum?
We would not have this conversation right now without a worldwide interest in creativity.
More popular than not are articles about the myths of creativity, or strategies to improve our creativity.
Forbes has recently shared the 5 Myths of Creativity. Just because creativity is a buzzword doesn’t mean everyone still fully understands it. There is a lot of education still needed to help everyone fully celebrate their creative spirit. When you read this article, you’ll find two of the myths are especially important for our community: people are creative (or not) based on what they do, and creativity can’t be developed.
I just read Rising Strong By Brene Brown and The Gifts of Imperfection (affiliate links). I highly recommend both. Something that stood out to me was her description of shame versus guilt. Shame is “I made a mistake and thus, I am a bad person,” whereas guilt is, “I made a mistake and thus, I made a bad decision.” I see that in the realm of creativity. It’s like you either “got” creativity, or you don’t. It’s as if some of us believe that you can label yourself a creative, or a not creative person. I wish everyone would choose to label themselves a creative person, maybe then we’d see the redundancy: to be human is to be creative.
This goes hand in hand with the idea that creativity is something we can develop. Giving children quiet, unscheduled time to imagine and explore their inner curiosity is one way to do it. Allowing our adult selves that time too can be super important. If you want to learn how to paint, it’s your choice to pick up a paintbrush, or not. If you want to return to singing or playing the flute, it’s your choice to sing, to play the flute.
I’m glad there are people still myth busting out there because it helps us all access our creativity and seek ways to develop it.
We even have science on our side now. Seeking more strategies to better harness that creative brain of yours? Check out 5 Scientifically Proven Ways You Can SkyRocket Your Creativity.
A former colleague and friend of mine told me he always got his best ideas in the shower. Apparently, there is a reason for that, just as there is a reason I get most of my ideas as I’m drifting off to sleep. When our culture becomes obsessed with an idea, such as creativity, we start researching it in all the depth and breadth we can find. That sounds pretty great to me!
If you still weren’t convinced about the buzz, look no further. There is a developing trend in the tech industry: some companies now sponsor artists to engage with their team. For example, Adobe and Facebook now have artist-in-residence programs to spread creative love. How awesome is that?!
Sometimes it can be annoying to see something all over the place (Hello so happy I don’t have TV and live overseas during the US primaries!), but sometimes, it’s indicative of a larger shift going on within our culture. And for us creatives (which is, ahem, all of us), this is a good thing!
Our world is beginning to value the inherent, creative nature of being human.
I’ve daydreamed about a world where people are valued for their unique, creative perspective and ideas. I’ve daydreamed about communities where there is no real need for the word art because being an artisan, or creating, is part of everyone’s daily lives. Perhaps that world is coming sooner than later. If so, we have much to celebrate.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Where have you observed a positive shift in the dialogue about creativity? I want to know! Let’s talk about it in the comments below.