When I think of the word “creative”, my mind travels back to grade school - thoughts of finger paint, play-doh, building castles out of mud and sticks - you know, that real messy-moldy all over your fingers and face kind of creativity.
When others think of the word, “creative,” in a more mature spectrum, they may think of celebrated artists like Di Vinci or poets like Hughes -- individuals who have managed to illustrate life through various platforms in a way that makes those people extraordinary.
For years, I let myself believe that I was not creative because my projects in school were not as elaborate (as elaborate as you can be in kindergarten) as my peers; and as an adult, I believed that my mind wasn’t as advanced or deep enough to produce work that can be internationally celebrated.
I put myself into a stifling box because of two misconceptions about creativity.
The first misconception was that creativity is immediate. Especially pertaining to the more adult version of creativity, the focus should never be on the final product of the greatest innovators. If we consider how long it took them to become satisfied with their work before they introduced it to the public, we will come to realize that creativity is a process. Certainly, the most epic novel in history took several drafts, edits and revisions.
The birth of creativity stems from a unique idea. And since we are all created with distinct DNA, we all have the capacity to produce unique ideas, and thus, be creative. The only difference between a seemingly average person like myself and the most celebrated creators is that they understood that producing a work of art takes expansion, time and dedication.
The acceptance of these procedures allowed them to dig deeper. It gave them an opportunity to develop their small concepts through observation of people, places and life experiences. It gave them the space to allot for editing and re-editing, designing and redesigning.
The second misconception I had to face with being “creative” is that creativity is limited to a set group of people. Conversely, it is not just for the cultured, performing artists or writers. It translates to businessmen, social entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc.
Those were creative minds who thought of technology to advance our business culture. Those were creative minds who thought of medical cures for fatal diseases. Those were creative minds who constructed curriculum to engage and educate our youth in the classroom.
Indeed, every field in life can lend itself to creativity, which is why our society is steadily evolving at every area in our culture. This is why I believe that it is imperative for each of us to explore and develop our creative juices. We can all be a part of the innovative processes that drives the way humans think and live.
And even if your version of creativity never receives critical acclaim, it is critical to your own personal development to hone in on this trait that lives within you. The stresses of life through financial barriers, relational miscommunication and social injustice can weigh us down.
Releasing your frustrations, observations and curiosity by developing your creativity can be a healing and exhilarating process. It can move you. It can give you life. It can give you hope. It can give you a sense of self-worth.
I plan to dig a little deeper to release my creativity by reflecting on an idea and giving myself room to cultivate it, for the betterment of my society and myself. I hope that you will join me!