“Oh, I’m not creative.” I hear that a lot from people who create their family homes, friendships, careers, businesses, circles of friends, a strong impression wherever they go.
My firm belief is that we are all creative, it’s just that it manifests in different ways in different people.
There is a feeling, and I have been guilty of this, that creativity is about art, making things, drawing, indulging in crafts, sewing or spending many hours with children in various messy activities. I’m thinking Hama beads, play-doh, potato printing, colouring or felt pictures with sticky glue. I hated pretty much all of this stuff.
And yet, I consider myself to be highly creative. My creativity shows itself most with words. I love to tell stories, to read, to perform, to write. This is where I am at my best. But I also enjoy singing, playing my flute, dancing around my kitchen and creating a happy home.
Still however this limits the infinite possibilities of creativity. Because creativity, while obvious in art, music and drama, is really the energy that drives all of human progress. My husband is not an artist, a musician, a writer or a performer and yet one of his greatest strengths is creativity.
He solves problems. He looks at systems or processes and he can see ways to make them better, especially when he cares about making them better. He analyses businesses and behaviour, understanding how they are operating and then seeing ways they can work better, while not losing their essential identity.
Can you relate to any of this?
When work is at its best it is creative.
Many processes can be done by machines, but computers do not generally create, and if they do, it is according to the rules they have been given by a human who create the coding. And computers do not care, they do not possess the passion and drive to create and shape the future, as human beings, we do. The changes in technology and in our world open up huge possibilities for us to make a better future.
Free of the shackles of repetitive and dull tasks we can indulge in daydreams, we can imagine how things might be improved and we can work together to bring those dreams to reality. This creativity is deeply required in many areas of science, so we can find ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, develop bags and packaging that is not full of harmful plastic, so we can bring feed a burgeoning population well.
It is also desirable in medicine to find new drugs and surgeries with fewer side effects, to develop a more holistic approach to health and well-being, to heal our suffering minds and souls so we can go from mere survival to thriving.
And it is needed in businesses too.
Many traditional businesses recognise the threat from the technological revolution but few have truly embraced the opportunities. Cheaper, more available technology and a worldwide information platform provide huge possibilities for the innovative to develop new services and products and test them relatively cheaply, disrupting the way things have been done and discovering new and better ways to serve their customers or clients.
My own industry of audiobooks has exploded in the past few years, the smart phone, personal headphones and the use of speakers in the home have allowed more books to be turned into audio versions to be enjoyed by people walking their dogs, commuting, driving, cleaning their homes, gardening or simply relaxing with a cup of tea.
Creativity has been the force that has taken us away from nomadic subsistence living into homes. It has generated the development of business, travel networks, science, discovery and entertainment. It is in everyone. It is for everyone. It is part of who you are.
So, what are you going to do with creativity to improve your life?
About the author
Esther Wane is a Storyteller and Creative Coach, helping people to connect with their creative hero, step into their unique story and learn to dance with life.