I had a visit with a health care provider today, and she demonstrated a method she’d come up with for one of her procedures that was vastly different from how most of her colleagues perform the same service. Vastly different from how I’d ever seen it performed. I found that very intriguing.
Later, she asked about my upcoming book. When I told her the title, Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life, she said something I hear often, “Oh, I’m not creative. My daughter’s an artist, though. She’s creative.”
“What about this technique you developed?” I asked. “The one you just performed on me?”
“Oh, that? That’s not creative. That was just me trying to save time and being lazy.”
“Okay,” I said a bit facetiously. “So you had a goal. To figure out how to save time so you could be lazy. And then you came up with a creative solution that allowed you to reach that goal. Right?”
She cocked her head and said, “Well, what do you know? I guess I am creative.”
Of course, she is! We all are. Every day and in so many ways. Creativity does not belong only to the artists, entrepreneurs, or makers. Creativity is our birthright. And it’s only through curiosity and creativity that we improve ourselves, our workplaces, our home lives, and our world.
Still not convinced you’re creative? Or do you believe you are but worry you’re not as creative as so-and-so, or not as creative as you once were, or not as creative as you should be? If so, try this: for a full week, write down one creative thing you did that day. Maybe you re-stacked the dishes so they fit better in the cupboard, maybe you came up with the perfect idea for a new game to play at the company picnic, maybe you made up a story for your four-year-old to distract her in the car, maybe you got an idea for a new service you could offer through your nonprofit.
The more you notice how creativity shows up in your day-to-day life and work, the more you’ll start to have faith in your true creative powers. And the more faith you have, the more you’ll want to flex your creative muscle. And the more you flex that muscle, the more your energy will rise. And the more your energy rises, the more good you will do.
You have every right to think of yourself as creative. If somewhere along the line some teacher, or parent, or friend, or boss made you feel you were not creative, it’s time to let that go. Because they were wrong to make you doubt yourself, and wrong to take something so important away from you. I’m giving it back.
There are no problems we cannot solve, no items we cannot invent, no solutions we cannot uncover if we just learn to trust our creative impulses again. And if we encourage those around us to do the same.
Power to the creatives!
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