‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body!’
Honestly, some said this to me once.
It made me sad that people could believe this about themselves and this is why.
I believe that humans are inherently creative. If we weren’t, we would still be living in caves and foraging for food. Human survival is a form of creativity and as none of us arrived in the gene pool last week, we all carry the seeds of creativity in our very existence.
Mostly, we refer to ‘Creativity’ as belonging exclusively to Arts and Crafts. But because creativity is a process, not a product, I believe we can apply it to any aspect of human endeavour – whether it is science, gardening, decorating, cooking, hairdressing, sport, even maths! I believe that everything we do, can be done creatively if we shift our thinking about what creativity is.
Those early humans, like us, employed creative skills; they made flint axes as implements and weapons and painted their caves to depict their world.
They also asked questions, and wondered what would happen if…? They made connections between things, solved problems and tried different ways of doing mundane tasks, refining techniques over generations to learn how to do things better.
In other words, early humans, just like us, used key creative skills, to make their lives safer, to feed their communities and improve their chances of survival.
So, what do I mean by Creative Skills?
Creative skills are not the same as craft or technique.
So, although as humans we don’t inherently lack creativity, what we may lack is the craft or technique to enable it – to be able to cook, style hair or dance the Fandango. These are techniques we can learn and crafts which can be honed through practice.
The creative skills which I believe will save the world, apply to all aspects of human existence, regardless of where we apply them. These skills cannot be taught, but they can be practiced. They are part of the movement towards a ‘growth mindset’ which we will all need to apply in a fast-changing future
These are the Creative skills which I believe can change the world.
- Using our imagination
- Asking questions and being curious
- Making connections between things
- Thinking differently about things
- Problem solving
- Reflecting on what we have done, taking time to review and improve, as a conscious act of learning
- Sticking at it – resilience
These skills apply to an engineer, mathematician and scientist as much as to a dancer, musician or writer.
In my life, applying these skills has helped me to be open to new experiences; to try new things; to keep moving forward and not get stuck in my life. They also underpin the ethos behind my workshops and online courses. And in my writing, they help me to avoid the dreaded writer’s block! More on that later.
In summary. If we can:
Imagine the world differently and explore it with curiosity … make connections and links between seemingly random things, and look for ironies in the ordinary events of life. If we can ask questions and wonder … what if….? review our work, receive feedback positively and apply it improve … stick at it and repeat the process to keep moving forward ….
Then we can fulfil our creative potential, and enhance our lives and contribute to a positive future for everyone.
Our fast-changing world needs creative people more than ever, and it is senseless to disregard this valuable well of human potential with its power to enhance our existence and our future.
Did you know that …
So here’s a challenge for you:
List the ways you are creative in your own life – not just in your art
Identify how many of these creative skills you use in your everyday life
Share your thoughts below.
This post is dedicated to Sir Ken Robinson who died this week. RIP Sir Ken Robinson. His views on Creativity and Creative Learning have greatly influenced my life and work. His legacy is immense and his Ted Talks were legendary