Where does creativity come from?
No, it doesn’t come from the strike of lightning bolt or a handful of hallucinogenic drugs.
Although the movie Gothic depicting English Romantic poets Mary Shelley and Lord Byron taking drugs on a rooftop in the midst of a thunderstorm might lead you to think so. Dramatic, yes! And far from the truth.
(The movie chronicles the summer when Shelley wrote Frankenstein.)
What is creativity?
Creativity is a mix of original thinking, ingenuity and innovation. It’s the tendency to generate unconventional ideas and spur the imagination.
Some people seem to have a raw talent of tapping into their creative spirit. Actually, much of that is the affect of encouragement and opportunity. They don’t get discouraged easily.
And creativity is also the effect of practice. Creative people exercise their own creative process frequently.
Creativity Is Not Linear
I like to write. I fell in love with writing in eighth grade when English teacher Dr. Jennings made us journal every day. It was during those junior high puberty years that I began to realize one could manipulate words to make people feel emotions, to conjure up imagination and to persuade others to do something differently.
However there were days where writing was a struggle. It felt stilted and my creativity stifled.
It’s the same today. Put pressure on me that I must write something in a short time and it crushes my creative spirit.
Creative thinking is tumultuous like a roller coaster ride. It’s not linear and predictable. It’s jumpy and often feels uncertain. It’s not a serene boat ride in New York’s Central Park.
Right Brain Creatives?
Popular junk psychology makes broad characterizations that people are either logical or creative. This junk theory states that the right side of the brain is more creative dealing with visuals, language and artistic endeavors. The left side is more logical interpreting lists, numbers and analytics. And people are either logical left-brainers or creative right-brainers.
In reality, people are always using both sides of the brain. While right or left brain dominance is measurable, these logical and creative characteristics are in fact existent in both sides. The dominance is not a biological trait. Rather it is a learned skill through practice and experience.
So don’t get hung up on brain hemisphericity, whether we are right- or left-brainers. Our mental activity is actually a sum of its parts.
And creativity is a whole-brained function.
Everyone Can Be Creative
It’s wrong to think that only some people are blessed with creative genius. It’s equally wrong to think that all creative people are born right-brainers while all left-brained people are orderly and analytical.
Brain scans document that when people are being creative, both the right and left brain share the task equally. The mind is not taken over by some higher power during the creative process. Creative ideas are birthed when imagination and analysis work in tandem.
Everyone has the ability to be creative. It is not some magical state of mind. It’s actually a series of actions that depend on logic and applied thinking.
What barriers keep some people from accessing their creativity? Why do most business professionals avoid giving their imagination free license to think creatively and have fun?