77% of adults think they’ve lost their creativity. That is a staggering and sad statistic, isn’t it? In our youths we were so fearless, so wide eyed, so open to the possibilities of imagination and make believe. We’d doodle our imaginary friends, describe our wildest dreams in detail, dress up as characters, play out scenarios; we tried and tested and experimented and just did everything we could under the sun. So what happened to change us between that time and adulthood?
When we reach a certain age, we start to hear things like “you’ve either got it or you don’t” when it comes to creativity. You either are the artsy friend, or you aren’t. You either can draw a picture or you can’t. These polarizing ideas of what it means to be creative are stifling and limiting. The truth is, we are all born creative. We are all born with wild imaginations and an insatiable desire to try. No one is born without that creative spark because that piece of ourselves is our innate curiosity. And for that, we are all creative.
Curiosity Is The Crux Of Creativity
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, she asks readers to replace the word curiosity with the word creative. Suddenly, exclaiming something as silly as “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” seems ridiculous. Curiosity is core of creativity. If you are curious, you are creative through and through.
Think of all of the things you’ve been meaning to learn or do or try. Make a list of them. If you are wondrous about anything, if you have a yearning to experiment in something unknown, or even if you have a deep appreciation and want to learn more, you are flexing your creative muscles without even knowing.
A Return To Childlike Wonder
So why are most adults afraid that they’ve lost their creativity? Well, in some environments, the practice of creativity is deeply discouraged. Our immediate situations growing up can have a huge impact on how we foster our inspirational habits. Negative settings or comments, reprimands about exploratory behavior, and judgements on unfinished or imperfect work can have a life altering effect on how we view ourselves as artists. Those things stay with us.
We are all explorers from the moment we try to test our own leg’s strength as newborns. As new humans, our primal instinct is to test and figure out and seek. And it is this exploration that drives our capacity to be creative. We are all artists from the moment we use crayons to replicate a portrait of our moms and dads, not matter how long legged and disproportionate as they were drawn. We disregarded the rules of making pretty pictures and coloring inside the lines because we made our own rules. We couldn’t be wrong because there was no “wrong” in trying.
If we were all born with the potential to create beautiful, meaningful, truth telling things, we must abandon the jaded adult lenses in which we see the world. We must return to our childlike wonder. We have to put faith in ourselves again, be willing to risk despite the fear of failure, we must be open to change.
Creativity Is Not Rare, But Time & Patience Is
“I’m just not that good, so that’s why I stopped.” Our society shoves the idea of creativity as a rare and precious gene. Perhaps it’s all the recognition and acknowledgement we give to these producers of ground-breaking artistic works. The truth is, the creative “geniuses” we all admire are just humans who have developed skills and a drive to risk, try and learn more about their art form.
Our capacity to learn is incredible. And while yes, necessity is the mother of invention, motivation, concentration and time, as well as the grace to forgive ourselves for the “ugly” attempts and failed tries is perhaps the trickiest obstacle to overcome. Let’s get real… this is easier said than done. But there are many quick and easy tricks to getting artsy on a limited time frame. Reading up on the habits of artists and getting inspired by writers who have incredible insight on tapping into our creativity is another great exercise. Most importantly, by stopping the ideology of creativity as a rare, given talent, we are one step closer to tapping into our core, naturally given creative genius.
So get messy, abandon all reservations and fear of judgement, because you, my friend are made to create unique and beautiful things.
The concept of creativity is something that has interested me and baffled me for years. As someone who defines herself as a creative young woman, I’ve found myself more and more interested in learning how to tap into our artistic side no matter our experience level, time allowance or comfort in expressing ourselves. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on creativity? Is it something that you identify yourself as, or something that you feel distant to? What is it that stops you from getting creative?