What’s your definition of creativity? And how do you see yourself in relation to it? When I talk to people about creativity, the 2 most common perspectives are: (A) You consider yourself to be creative. But tapping into the source of it isn’t always easy; (B) You don’t think you’re creative at all.
I’d also like to offer a 3rd perspective. One for the moms out there. (C) You identify as creative but the creativity is constantly zapped by motherhood.
When I first dove in to explore these issues, it dawned on me the definition of creativity changes from person to person. This includes where creativity comes from and who has access to it. Because in order to figure out how to get more of it, we have to understand what it actually is. (Imagine being tasked to find a friend’s car in a crowded parking lot, but you’ve never seen it and they haven’t told you the make, model, or color.)
So, is creativity divine inspiration? Is it talent? A discipline? A skill?
I believe it’s a little bit of ALL of those things. (And that’s a good thing.) It gives any- and everyone permission to invoke it and use it in their lives. It doesn’t limit creativity to only the arts. In fact, it’s wildly useful in business, science, and technology. It’s an asset for problem solving, idea generation, and even just bringing joy.
The Definition of Creativity (in 5 simple parts):
1. It’s a muscle.
The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. It’s a practice, and by working at it regularly, it will come more naturally.
2. It’s a mindset.
This is an empowering one because it means you get to choose it. It means an openness and an awareness of what’s happening around you. It is the lens through which you see the world. Creativity is rooted in imagination and play — something that is unfortunately often conditioned out of us as we grow out of childhood.
3. It’s innate.
Some people naturally gravitate to the arts. But this is not one and the same with creativity. We are all born tiny beings with that lens of curiosity about the world. And that is rooted in creativity. It is often suppressed as we get older, but the great news is that’s it’s still inside and can be accessed.
4. It can be called.
You have control over elements which make it easier for creativity to appear. Your environment, your mindset, your mood, etc. Does your workspace inspire you? Do you listen to music that inspires you or read books that inspire you? Do you give yourself time where your brain is allowed to follow new ideas, let them marinate, and see where they lead? You can make creativity welcome or you can turn it away. Ah! Another choice YOU have.
5. It can feel like magic.
When conditions are right, and when you are in touch with the other 4 elements above, the opportunity for true flow is present. You will hear people say sometimes: “The idea just came to me.”
The more you welcome creativity, the more it will come. The more you infuse it into all the parts of your life, the more you will reap its benefits.
It may not always be what you expect, however. There are times when you will feel the ebb and flow of creativity in the form of creative droughts and creative surges. (Read the post about how to handle these here.)
Though you may not always feel like you have control over the flow of creativity, rest assured that the more you practice strengthing the muscle, the more you work on developing an open mindset, the more you invoke your curiosity, and the more welcome you make your environment — the more regularly you will find creativity knocking at your door.
When we understand the definition of creativity, we realize that it’s not scarce and it’s not limited. It’s there inside all of us.
Be open and aware of creativity’s presence and capture ideas in a notebook or voice recording on your smartphone. Often times, these tiny, barely noticeable seeds of creativity turn into flowering and thriving plants.
If you liked this post, please share on your social media! And for more on creative thinking, check out this post next: The Ultimate Guide to Creativity for Moms.