Three Myths of Creativity
Do you have beliefs about creativity that are holding you back? Maybe you think you’re not a creative person or that creative people look, act and live a certain way. There are many beliefs around what creativity is and most are myths and misconceptions. Here are three popular myths about what creativity, and being creative, is all about:
Myth #1: Only artists, writers, and musicians are creative, and if you’re not one of those, you’re not creative.
False. Creativity is not a special talent that only a few have. Being creative is about making connections and trusting yourself. It is not about the final product, the outcome, the thing at the end. The final outcome is part of the creative process, but it’s not what makes someone creative. Being creative is about connecting things that don’t normally go together and finding ways they relate to each other. Another way to describe it is, being creative is a verb, not an adjective or noun. Thinking and finding associations is what is important and being able to trust yourself. The trust factor is often what can cause blocks in the creative process, and that is something we can all overcome.
Myth #2: Creativity just happens and you need to clear your mind, escape from it all, and then you will be creative.
Nope. You need stimulus and input to be creative. Creativity doesn’t just happen from nothing. We need some structure and something to work with. Often parameters and limitations can make people even more creative. Having a prompt or structure allows your creativity to focus and is what you need to build your creative muscle. Saying just go be creative, doesn’t work without some direction. Limits will often get you thinking even more creatively.
This “clear your mind belief” may come from the fact that many experience “eureka moments” when they are not actually thinking about the issue or problem. Inspiration seems to come from nowhere, out of the blue. These experiences are part of the creative process. First you are taking in information about your issue and letting it swirl in your mind. Then when you are in a relaxed state, suddenly an idea bubbles up, you see a solution or next step. In this way people think these creative ideas come out of no-where, but instead they are part of the creative process. They are manifestations of information that has already been consumed, and associations and connections were being made, consciously or unconsciously. In order to be creative you need information, you need content, you need to take in new ideas. Being creative is about making connections with new content, and then remodeling, remolding, and reshaping the information. With guidance, anyone can do that.
Myth #3: There is a right and left side of the brain, and creativity is in the Right Side.
With new brain technology, research is proving that being creative is multidimensional and uses the whole brain and spirit. When you are being creative, new brain connections are being formed and your brain synapses are lighting up! It’s one reason scientists believe being creative is so good for your brain and body health.
According to Author and Designers, Tanner Christensen:
“Creativity doesn’t belong to any single part or region of the brain. It’s not an act or trait that can be associated with any particular part or region, and it’s certainly not an artistic endeavor to begin with.
Instead, creativity is the result of different sections of the brain interacting with one another in order to generate novel patterns through the use of existing ideas or concepts.”
For the techies, Bradley Voytek, cognitive scientists at the University of California, San Diego, puts it another way: “Imagine asking ‘where is video located in my computer?’ That doesn’t make any sense. Your monitor is required to see the video. Your graphics card is required to render the video. The software is required to generate the code for the video. But the ‘video’ isn’t located anywhere in the computer.”
I think what he’s saying is that creative genius is that invisible spirit of inspiration that you know is there but cannot see it or easily define it.
Being creative is truly the magical part of the human experience. All the advancements we see, hear, taste, smell, and have were once just ideas in someone’s head. Inventions start with an idea, a connection, an association, and it builds and grows, and evolves. Creativity helps solve problems and results in more innovations. There are many benefits of being creative, beyond just health, and I’ll write about that next time.
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