Creativity is at the core of my business. And it’s also in my DNA, as a human being. I’ve played the piano since I was four, and music is my soul food. So overall, creativity is the single most motivational objective that rocks my world. It manifests itself in many and varied ways for different people – in art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, even business, whatever form it takes. And I’m a firm believer that creativity is too precious to be taken for granted or wasted. We should carefully nurture any creative skills that we’re lucky enough to be gifted with. Which begs the question, can creativity be learned?
Inspiration happens differently for everybody, too. Many creatives have flashes of genius in the middle of the night, or in the shower. For me personally, some of my most memorable ideas have originated when I’m pounding the treadmill, like the rotating carousel bar that was built into the base of a marquee to serve popcorn cocktails to arriving guests.
My clients look to me for ‘larger than life’ inspiration. And some of tell me that they envy my creativity. To this end, there’s a FAQ that crops up quite regularly, with clients, mentees, and when I’m doing speaking engagement…
“ARE WE BORN CREATIVE, OR CAN WE LEARN TO CULTIVATE CREATIVITY?”
My answer is both.
I believe that some people are born with exceptional creativity, like my friend the Tony award winning theatre actress Frances Ruffelle. My recent chat with her inspired this piece.
I was drawn like a magnet to Frances. I’m in awe of her creative talent. And I admire the way she encourages her children to focus their own creative energy, just like her mother, the ubiquitous Sylvia Young did, when Frances was making her way in the world.
Now, we weren’t all born to perform on the West End stage and see our names in lights. But I also believe that we can move mountains in life if we want something enough and put our minds to it. And how we can do this isn’t rocket science. It all comes down to this…
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
You might never be able to sing an encore-rousing aria if you were born tone deaf. But there’s always techniques and tools that you can learn about and practice again and again. You might not hit any dizzy heights. But you might pleasantly surprise yourself with how much you can achieve. That in itself is taking a creative approach to creativity.
Stanford University academic Tina Selig explains in her book ‘inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity’ how –
“With enhanced creativity, instead of problems we see potential, instead of obstacles we see opportunities, and instead of challenges we see a chance to create solutions. Creativity is critically important in everything we do, including designing products, growing businesses, and building alliances between nations. We are literally inventing the future every moment. And these skills can be learned.”
In a nutshell, we all have it in us to enhance our own creativity and to apply it to building a better world, at home, in business, and to the benefit of society in general.
My ‘Events That Made Me’ podcast episode featuring Frances Rufelle is a brilliant insight in to using your imagination to create something fulfilling and rewarding, for yourself and also for others.
You can also read more about Tins Seelig’s “Innovation Engine” model for capturing and enhancing creativity, in her interview ‘Who Says Creativity Can’t Be Learned?’ with Business News Daily.
Thanks for sharing my thoughts on whether creativity can be learned or whether it’s simply a skill we are born with!