Living in a Left-Brained World OR What is Creativity?
What have I learned about being a creative person in a “left-brained” career? The ability to use the creative process is:
Everyone is creative. Everyone. Don’t ask, “Am I creative?” No, better to ask “Have I developed my creativity?” or “Do I use it?” No two people are creative in the same way. Some don’t recognize their ability. Most of us never use it to its full potential. But it’s part of the prize package for being born human.
Disciplined … and magical.
The creative process doesn’t involve sitting around waiting on a fortuitous visit from a Muse. In reality, while there is magic, it is process and discipline that brings forth the magic.
Creativity isn’t limited to the arts. Some of the most creative among us are technical specialists: computer designers, mathematicians, engineers. And some who love the arts do not themselves produce many creative ideas or works. To be creative requires both the idea and the output.
Expertise—as much for an engineer, an accountant, or a financial analyst as for a dancer or painter—is critical for effective creativity. Getting good at something means investing time and energy.
Creativity begets creativity. Creative people feed on the creative thoughts and actions of others. Not in a derivative, Hollywood-blockbuster “if it worked once, do it twenty times” way, but as a rich Petri dish for growing new, better, different ideas.
Creativity is fragile. The right environment can nurture creativity even in those who don’t consider themselves creative. The wrong environment can kill creativity—or at least force it underground—in even the most naturally creative.
Experiment is just as important as expertise. Artists know how to play—with ideas, with situations, with new views of old problems, with life. The freedom to try new combinations, to play with child-like abandon, is one of the first traits squelched by modern organizations, starting with elementary school. Productively creative people learn to overcome.