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You’re Already Creative—You May Just Not Recognize It

For many years, I lumped a certain set of traditional artistic skills and abilities under the category of “creative.” Either you were or you weren’t. You had these skills or you didn’t.

A few years later, I expanded this definition a bit to include that these skills could be developed and acquired. I thought that with enough effort and practice, anyone could choose to become creative. It was as much a choice and a process as it was a destination.

Now, even more years later, I’ve come a new discovery about creativity. I’ve learned that creativity isn’t as limited as I once thought. Sure, those who paint beautiful canvases, sew intricate quilts, or write fantastical stories are all creative. But so are those who develop hacks to make a tough situation easier or dream up ways to get tasks done more quickly. I didn’t think it was so funny back when it happened. But even the students who sought to find every single loophole in an assignment I was giving out were creative. Oh, the stories I could tell! (And maybe I will, so stay tuned.)

My point is that even if you don’t currently have any traditional art abilities, that doesn’t mean you’re not creative. Creativity is as much a part of being human as communicating or even just thinking is. In definition, creativity simply means to imagine or come up with original ideas. And even more liberating, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to be creative.

Personally, being married to a traditional and technical artist, it can be easy for me to fall into the trap of comparison. No matter how much I try, no matter how much time I devote to practice, my skill level will never match that of my hubby. But you know what? It’s okay because just as each one of us is creative in our own ways, and so are the products of our creativity.

Have you ever taken the time to think about how you’re already creative? I know I hadn’t until just recently and what an eye-opening and validating experience it was.

To start, make a list of the various different roles you have in life. In other words, think of the different hats you wear throughout the day. You may be a parent, a spouse, a homemaker, an aunt, or uncle. The list goes on. Let it. Write it down. Or—better yet—make circles all over a page of paper and then write these roles, one in each circle.

Next, draw lines from each circle outward and write short descriptions of different tasks you complete as part of these roles. For example, if you’re a parent, you might have a line from that circle connecting to “Come up with consequences when my child disobeys.” (Seriously, this is a incredibly creative skill. I know this from personal experience both as a parent and as a teacher!)

Do this for every role you can think of. And if you need more sheets of paper, go for it!

Next, grab a highlighter (or even an old crayon will work). Highlight or color in all the tasks that you think are creative. Which tasks require you to think up new ideas, use your imagination, or create a new solution in some way, shape, or form. Then, take a few minutes to look at it all with a new perspective.

Just look at how busy—and absolutely creative—you are!

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1 Comment
  • Pingback:Simply Creative with Shannon | Creativity: An Essential Soft Skill
    Posted at 18:25h, 16 July Reply

    […] Chances are you already have it in your skill set. You’ve just likely overlooked it or not paid it much attention. Time to change that—and highlight and exploit it to its fullest. To identify some of the ways you’re already creative, take a look at my previous post: You’re Already Creative—You May Just Not Recognize It. […]

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