One of these days, I was talking with my husband about something our daughter had made. He was surprised about how creative she was. So we started to discuss the importance of creativity in her future life. At some point, he said something like, “It’s good she took to her mom.”
I was astonished by this and said, “What are you talking about? Don’t you think you’re creative?”
“I was. Not anymore.”, he answered, as if creativity could simply disappear out of you. Later, my 6-year-old daughter, who was apparently listening to the conversation, came to me and asked, “What if I stop being creative?”
This question is way scarier than it looks and kept me thinking.
“Creativity is a special sort of internal conversation.” (Seth Godin)
Creativity doesn’t come from an exhaustible source that could dry out at any moment. It isn’t something that simply disappears, but rather something that we stop working with.
In truth, my husband wasn’t the first adult that said to me that he wasn’t very creative anymore. Many adults believe and fear their creativity sold out, or at least, that it could happen at any moment. That’s far from reality, but most adults tend to, indeed, be less creative than children. Why?
What is stealing our creativity?
After realizing that so many adults feel this way, one question remains: why?
What happens in our minds while growing up that ends up with us not feeling so creative? There are a couple of theories.
Fear of being ridiculous
As we grow up, we gain self-conscience and get too conscious of ourselves, other people, and judgments. As a result, a kid’s freedom in doing whatever comes to mind is lost, and society molds us to fit a particular pattern.
Unfortunately, that pattern isn’t full of creativity. For example, drawing is a children’s activity unless you’re the next Da Vinci. And the same kind of thought goes on and on in any artistic activity.
This is a very good and logical explanation, but is every creativity connected to art? And, what’s art?
As a writer, I heard many times, “Oh, I used to write when I was a teen.” The tone is critical and often followed by “But I need to work now.” Perhaps these sentences have something to do with that feeling. This doesn’t make us feel very comfortable, does it?
Lack of practice
When you think about a muscle, you know you have to exercise it to make it better. It doesn’t go away by use. It improves. The same happens with mental activities, like creativity.
Finding different solutions for your problems will help you keep that little creative spark active and ready to act.
Being creative is not connected (not only) with the so said artistic activities. You can be creative in almost every activity of your day. Sometimes you are, indeed, being creative, and you don’t even notice.
Even if you consider you aren’t being creative at all, keep in mind: it didn’t go away, you’re simply not using it!
Lack of opportunity
Most adults consider their jobs boring and with zero opportunities to be creative or think outside the box. If you are one of those, remember that your life is more than your job. There are still other opportunities to develop your creativity. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by others.
It didn’t go away
Many people still look at creativity as something that can turn away from you. Writers and artists of many sorts fear the day their source will dry out.
The good news is: it doesn’t. You may have bad days, days when you’re not feeling that well, but they will end eventually. So put your fears aside and keep working.