Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"I'm Not Creative": Myth Debunked

“I’m not creative.”

This kills me. Whenever people say this to me, I’m tempted to patter on about how “Everyone is creative”, “You just have your own sense of imagination”, and “Creativity isn't limited to art”, but, despite the fact that these are my true beliefs, I know that it comes off as nothing more than a sales pitch, with a side of motherly advice. At least I don’t include the tag “in your own special way” at the end of my pattering. Right?


I mean, I, for instance, could easily say, “I can’t paint.” But that’s not true. Despite what fellow classmates in a painting class may have told you, I can put a paintbrush in my hands, dip it in some paint, and slap it on a canvas. Voila. I painted. What I should be saying is, “I won’t be recognized for my painting.” Oh, well. For whatever reason, people tend to believe that they aren’t creative if they don’t get paid, if other people aren’t ‘entertained’, or if they're unable to receive outside approval.

Why, oh why, would you let other people determine your creativity? Have you seen other people lately? Miley Cyrus cut her hair to look like Draco Malfoy (if you know what I’m talking about, virtual *high five*), they’re bringing sideburns back in style, and, on a personal note, I can hear my next-door neighbor serenading her chihuahua through the walls. It seems to me that these ‘other people’ may not be the end-all-be-all determining forces in discovering your creativity.

Oh, and it’s your creativity—emphasis on you.

Still don’t believe me? Well I’ll help you with the first step right now.

What is something that makes you happy? No--more than happy. I hate that word, anyway—it never seems strong enough. So what gives you that indefinable, indescribable feeling of happiness, euphoria, joy, and bliss all in one. And then, what does it inspire you to do? For me, I can best describe it as a chai tea latte after a refreshing run in brisk autumn weather, with Joe Purdy playing in the background. And then, when I get that inspirational inclination that others describe as “happy”, I write.

What is it that you like to do when you’re inspired?
I’m not asking what inspires you (although I am interested in that, as well). I’m asking what do you do when you’re inspired?

You may not paint, sculpt, perform, write, or take pictures, but creativity is not limited to the expected outlets. Maybe you have a favorite sport, and, when you’re inspired, you want to play a game, or a match. You thrive on the competition, both with yourself and with opponents, and you push to better yourself each time. Or maybe you've started your own business, and, after years of searching for your purpose, you've found it. You go into work each day with new ideas to improve the business, and, although you’re physically tired at the end of the day, you secretly look forward to tomorrow, your motivation remaining strong. Poetry isn’t always on paper, after all. Sometimes it’s in the kick of a soccer ball or the innovation of a business.

A friend of mine believes that he isn’t creative.

“I just wasn’t born with it,” he says, insisting that his strengths are “strictly logical”.

But I’ve seen him build six-foot tall shelves, without taking a single look at the instruction manual, fix chairs that were labeled irreparable, and even untie the knots of necklaces that were considered to be permanently tangled. And, I know what you're thinking, he isn't even Superman! Kidding aside, he is able to look at building, creating, and repairing in a way that most people can't.

Can his creativity be put on paper or burned to a mix tape? Maybe not. But not all creativity has to be mainstream. It’s 2012; don’t we reject the mainstream anyway?

So the next time you try to say, “I’m not creative”, please reconsider: Anything you do, especially that which you feel inspired to do, is creative and unique to you. Maybe you’ve improved a homemade cake recipe. Maybe you have perfect comedic timing in everyday conversations, which, although it may not take you to SNL, makes your friends and family laugh. You might give really good advice or know how to make people look at basic situations in a different light. Or maybe you’re one of those people who sets your shampoo bottles upside down, so that the shampoo is already at the lid when you’re ready to open it--By Jove, I think you're onto something!.

Okay, maybe I was reaching with that last one, but you get the idea. Creativity can sometimes be found in the mundane. And, for my last bit of motherly advice, I believe in you!

Get creative!

-Hayley Lyons

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