In my last blog ”Mission Creativity” written on the 23rd of July, I spoke about how much of my own creativity is undeveloped and laying dormant. I asked myself how creative I felt at this present time on a sliding scale of 0-100. 0 been the least creative I could possibly be. I actually doubt any human-being could score a 0 for creativity, as surely that would make them dead! To score 100 would have meant that I had actually, hand on heart achieved my full potential as a creative, imaginative person. I think this is also unobtainable. No one can be truly creative 100% of the time. We all have off days and times when our thinking and thought processes are limited.
This sliding scale of creativity is clearly not a scientific indicator of a person’s creativity. Some people will rate themselves low on their own “Creativity Barometer”, when actually they will be more creative than other individuals who actually scores themselves higher. It is all relative and will vary from person to person and be dependent on their own idea, opinions and view on creativity.
I scored myself 50 out of 100. Perhaps some people might think that this is a tad harsh, especially as I am writing a blog about creativity! However, I know deep down that I have the potential to live my life far more creatively, and be more creative than I actually am at this present time. When I compare myself to how I was when I was a child, say up till the age of 13, my creativity has diminished rapidly. As a child I was constantly learning, reading, writing stories, had a vivid imagination and made up games and loved to invent things. I had reams of ideas and life, and, on the whole I was open to most new experiences. Twenty one years on, I still have plenty of ideas ( in fact sometimes way too many), I like to think my imagination is still ticking over, but I no longer happily write endless stories or have as much fun and live in the moment. In some respects my views of the world have become more narrower.
Life some how, as we grow up tends to restrict us. We end up living in a bit of a strait jacket. Settling into routines and habits without questioning why we are doing the things we do or asking if there might be a better way. We become more serious, which is understandable as we have more responsibilities, bills to pay, jobs to go to and much of our time no longer seems our own. Life actually gets in the way of us actually really truly living.
There are widely held beliefs about creativity that hinder us from pursuing creative activities and thinking that would actually make us happier and live more enriched. We are programmed to believe that “Creativity” is some how frivolous or only for the very talented. Human beings are naturally sociable, pack animals and to be accepted as one of the pack we have to conform. We also end up taking on board other people’s opinions about how we should live our life. What is possible. What is not possible. We believe what others say we are capable of, without challenging it. Sometimes it is easier to stay in our comfort zones than to actually try something new, risking failure, ridicule or just looking plain silly.
Here are two examples from my own life and experience. I have always longed to write a book, although I have made little progress to make this actually a reality. Why is that? There are lots of reasons, but it mainly boils down to fear of failure, a lack of self-belief in my writing abilities and the fatct that I put too much pressure on myself. It’s the I’ll never be good enough thinking, so it’s a waste of time trying.
The other example is the fact that I have always quite fancied learning to play the piano, but have never seriously considered taking lessons or buying myself a piano or keyboard. Something holds me back. I have never considered myself to be very musical and for some reason we put skills like playing a piano on a peddler-stall, saying to ourselves, you have to have a natural talent to do things like that.
The same thing can be said for intelligence . Our views of what is “intelligent” can prevent us from developing our minds to their full potential. Thus, the negative thoughts we hold about our intelligence prevent us from trying or learning new things and limits our overrall abilities. It goes back to the Henry Ford quote I have quoted on numerous occasions, If you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re probably right. Our beliefs basically act as self-fulfilling prophecy.
The same can be said for creativity. Do you think you are a creative person? If you can answer a resounding yes, then the chances are you are probably are creative! As Epictetus stated, “What concerns me is not the way things are, but the way people think things are.” Thus if you think you’re creative, you’ll act that way. As you think, so you are.
Ask yourself now, how would you rate your own current creativity level on a sliding scale of 0 - 100? Once you have done that I now want you to think about your creative potential. The potential that is still to be unrealized. How creative could you be? Give yourself another mark out of 0-100 for the what you could be capable of achieving.
As I said earlier my own current creativity score was 50 out of 100, however I believe I am capable of being about 40% more creative. By this I mean in terms of my own thinking, the activities I could be doing and the way I choose to live my life.
Here is a “Limiting Creativity” exercise for you to complete:
- How many possible ways do you somehow limit your own thinking, creativity and thought processes?
- At present, in which ways are you preventing yourself from achieving your full potential as a creative, imaginative person?