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You are not creative

You are not creative. So I was told. 

Her name was Kristy. It’s a name that has been etched in my mind since third-grade art class when our teacher instructed us to create a paper mache globe of the world. 

Enthusiastically I blew up my balloon and carefully wrapped a ton of glue-soaked newspaper pieces around the outside. Once the glue dried, I meticulously painted the continents and the oceans using a wonderful mixture of blues, greens, and brown earthly-looking colours. 

I was chuffed with my creative masterpiece and marvelled over it until Kristy saw it. She beelined over to me, glared down at my blue/green paper mache blob, and rudely exclaimed, “that’s awful, you’re not creative”.

These harsh words stuck with me for decades. I blamed my genetics, convinced I drew (pardon the pun) the short straw with the creative genes. 

From that day, thanks to Kristy, I believed creativity was reserved for the ‘arty’ types such as painters, sculptures, artists, musicians, graphic designers etc. Something I clearly was not. 

Luckily, I gravitated towards numbers, maths, and science. They were more my cup of tea and didn’t involve being creative. Or so I thought. 

Just because you can’t draw a stick figure or paint a Picasso does not mean you are not creative.

According to Robert E. Franken in Human Motivation, creativity is “the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.” 

And what’s even more reassuring, research suggests that creativity is part talent and part experience. Experience that comes from curiosity, analysis, interpretation, and observation and being able to use it to solve problems, develop ideas, or find opportunities. 

This is something you do every day, right? Solve problems for others or yourself.

You do it at work, with clients, on holidays, parenting kids, playing sport, or cooking dinner.

The more you do it, the more talented you become at finding inspiration and turning it into solutions. 

Although an artist I am not, I proudly declare, “I am creative”. 

And so are you! 

Don’t be like Kristy. Own your creativity and put it to good use. 

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