What does it mean to be creative?
We’re conditioned to think that only “creative” people can be creative. That, if we’re terrible at drawing or can’t sing in tune, we’re not creative people. But, believe it or not, there is a lot more to being creative than being a good artist or a fabulous singer.
So, what does it actually mean to be creative?
Oxford Dictionary defines creative as “relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something”. In line with this definition, when you experiment with adding a new herb or spice to your favourite dish, you’re being creative. When you think of a new idea in a business meeting, you’re being creative.
Being creative involves having the ability to see new perspectives and solving an old problem in a new way – as if you are thinking of new ways to reach an existing destination. The ability to see these new perspectives won’t always come to you naturally, so it means challenging yourself to see the world from new angles each and every day. It means asking questions and not simply accepting what you know as “fact”. It means being open to answers you’ve never considered and ideas you’ve never explored.
Being creative can involve fusing two or more completely random ideas to create something you hadn’t previously considered. To do this, you need to approach the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity; you need to always be mindful and aware of what is happening around you.
Creativity isn’t something that only special people are born with. We’re all born with the ability to be creative, but the difference lies in whether you choose to embrace your creativity. Think of creativity like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. The more you use your creativity, the easier it will be to use it in the future.
Strengthening your creativity “muscle” can positively impact on other areas of your life too, including your work. Yes, even if you work in a totally non-creative, corporate job! Creativity can lead you to develop a solution to a client or customer’s problem that nobody else has thought of. It can lead you to think of a new and improved way of doing an old process.
If you’re in a job that squashes all your creativity it becomes even more important to find a creative outlet outside of work hours. It shouldn’t be yet another chore on your to-do list. Rather, it should be something you love doing and look forward to – such as a salsa dancing class on Thursdays or pottery class on Mondays. Everyone has their own unique creative outlet, so there is no point forcing something that you don’t enjoy just for the sake of it.
Above all, being creative means finding inspiration in the dullest of places. If you encourage yourself to look at mundane things in new ways, you’ll never be bored. Rather, you’ll constantly be exploring new ideas and new perspectives.
So, stop telling yourself that you’re not a creative person. Who cares if your painting looks terrible? Who cares if you can’t play an entire song on the piano? Who cares if you have two left feet and no sense of rhythm? As long as you enjoy doing it, you’re being creative.