Do You Put Effort into Building Your Creativity? Here’s Why You Should

CREATIVITY…

What does it mean to you? Perhaps you consider yourself a “creative type”, committed to the continual pursuit of pathways that allow you to express the music within. Or perhaps the word “creativity” conjures up feelings of awkwardness and a strong urge to run for the hills any time it is mentioned. Maybe you just don’t see yourself as a “creative type”.

Oddly enough, few of us would have felt either of the last two options when we were, say, 5 or 6 years old. My young nieces and nephews jump at the opportunity to pick up their coloured pencils or paints and get busy creating. So what happens as we get older? Where does this enthusiasm for creativity go? Why as we age do we suddenly have to start defining ourselves as either the “creative type” or not?

For some, there is a defining moment in life where creative confidence is lost. It might have been that kid sitting next to you in year 4 who looked at your self portrait drawing and laughed at you. Or perhaps it was your teacher, constantly saying in their best patronizing tone “It’s ok that you’re not great at painting. You’re really good at maths!”

For others it is what Dean Riek (2010) refers to as a “fear of failure”. As adults, we are much more self-critical and have developed an inbuilt need to succeed. The result is that some of us give up creativity out of a fear that we may not be good enough; that we may be judged as creative failures. Or, it may simply be that we’ve decided creativity is best left to the great inventors and artists; that there’s no place for it in ordinary adult life.

For most of us, this loss of creativity doesn’t coincide with departure from school. David Straker, business consultant, researcher and author, explains that at age 5 we’re using around 80% of our creative potential but by age 12 for most of us, this usage drops dramatically and hovers permanently at around 2%.

So what’s the big deal? Does it really matter that as we age, we become less creative? That we lose that desire to put pencil to paper or say goodbye creative playtime?

The research suggests that it does. Creativity has been identified as a key strength that leads to a happier, more fulfilled life. Benefits of participating regularly in creative activities include increases in general happiness, increases in confidence, development of empathy, more engagement in learning processes, opportunities to safely practise risk-taking, and strengthening of meaningful relationships and human connections (Taylor & Murphy, 2013). The world around us is also rapidly changing, and more and more we will see the need for increased creative and innovative thinking in every day work environments. It is predicted that by 2050, the jobs we have today will no longer exist. As technology advances, and complex systems evolve, creative minds are essential to solve emerging societal and business challenges.

Embracing this knowledge, authors of “Creative Confidence”, Tom and David Kelley have spent the last 3 decades dedicated to the pursuit of re-installing creative confidence in human beings. They maintain, “we all have far more creative potential waiting to be untapped” (2013). They suggest that “creative confidence” is like a muscle – with a little nurturing and training, we can build back our creative potential (check out David’s TEDTalk here).

But some of you are still probably sitting there in disbelief, thinking back to that last drawing you did that looked nothing like the landscape you were trying to capture. Or that sculpture in high school art that looked more like a lump of clay than anything else. If so, let’s look at the true definition of creativity, according to Oxford dictionary:

“The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness;”

— Oxford Dictionary

Einstein’s definition goes along the lines of “seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” Wikipedia states, “Creativity is the ability to generate innovative ideas and manifest them from thought into reality”. You will notice that none of these definitions even make mention to the skill of drawing, or painting, or any other specifically “artistic” endeavor. The focus, rather, is on the “new”. Coming up with something a little different to what already exists. For too long, society has equated “creativity” with “artistry”. The Kelley brothers have found that many of us see creativity as a “fixed trait” – like brown eyes or blonde hair. But the truth is that most of us are probably already being quite creative in our everyday lives. So now, we are challenging you to recognize and celebrate these flairs. Whether it’s that personal touch that you added to your favourite recipe, or the idea you came up with in a brainstorming session – these are examples of everyday creativity.

We don’t need to be the next Michelangelo or Picasso but we do need to start embracing creativity back into our lives – for our personal well-being and for the well-being of the world around us.

So let’s solidify that challenge.

Before you move on with the rest of your day, gather up all of those negative emotions and thoughts you have bottled up about creativity and your supposed lack thereof, put them in a mental box, and throw them out. Celebrate the smallest of creative thoughts, dare to embrace your inner creative-being, and go back into the world with that innocent creative confidence you naturally had as a young child. Find a way to think or act creatively once a day. Nurture that muscle, because you need it, and so do we.

If you’re keen to embrace more creativity in your life, your school, workplace or local community but not sure where to start, we can help you out!  Contact us to discuss your needs and we’ll work with you to tailor a workshop or program to suit your desired outcomes.

Want more?

Sign up and receive your free copy of our Effective Leadership Cheat Sheet to use with you team today.

Jenna O'Connell

Jenna is a teacher and careers counsellor, with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama & Performance), Bachelor of Education (K-12), and Graduate Certificate in Education Studies (Careers & Transitions).

Jenna is in her element when she is helping people and organisations discover their unique magic, and working with them in sharing this magic with the world to drive positive change. Her background sees an amalgam of over 15 years across corporate and education sectors, with extensive experience in curriculum development, coaching, facilitation, and mentorship.

Jenna contributes to various local youth projects and initiatives. Throughout 2017-2018, she mentored local youth in their project, Cards For Change, who went on to win a $2000 Pitch Project grant. She also volunteers for The Luminosity Youth Summit, is the Youth Ambassador Program Coordinator for Dyslexia Mid North Coast, and a proud ambassador for and presenter at #LitFest2444.

Mariane Power

Mariane is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performance. Mariane’s big audacious goal is to see all unnecessary emotional pain and suffering eliminated within her lifetime, and she is obsessed with all things related to human potential. Mariane has over 15 years experience in consulting, facilitation and corporate training for personal and strategic growth. Her work as a Leadership Consultant in the corporate world further fuels her understanding of the necessary skills for the 21st Century workplace, and she has a particular interest in supporting our next generation to thrive.  Mariane is proud to have extended her personal purpose to support a number of not-for-profit and for-purpose initiatives including The Luminosity Summit and Project Gen Z, and she currently extends her expertise in positive youth development as an Impact Leader on the Board for Ambisie.

Disclaimer

If you or anyone you know requires specific mental health support, please contact your local GP or registered mental health provider for advice and assistance.

The following services also provide resources and support:

  • Mental Health Access Line 1800 011 511 
  • Beyondblue www.beyondblue.org.au 
  • LifeLine www.lifeline.org.au 11 13 14 
  • Headspace www.headspace.com.au 
  • Reach Out www.reachout.org.au

The material and/or information contained on this website and any additional resources and/or services offered by The Posify Group are provided for general information purposes only.

The information is not medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion or advice and in relation to any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychological illness.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or in any resources, webinars, workshops or other services offered by The Posify Group.

Privacy Policy

This following document sets forth the Privacy Policy for the Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) website, https://www.theposifygroup.com.au.

Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) is committed to providing you with the best possible customer service experience. Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), which sets out a number of principles concerning the privacy of individuals.

Collection of your personal information
There are many aspects of the site which can be viewed without providing personal information, however, for access to future Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) customer support features you are required to submit personally identifiable information. This may include but not limited to a unique username and password, or provide sensitive information in the recovery of your lost password.

Sharing of your personal information
We may occasionally hire other companies to provide services on our behalf, including but not limited to handling customer support enquiries, processing transactions or customer freight shipping. Those companies will be permitted to obtain only the personal information they need to deliver the service. Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) takes reasonable steps to ensure that these organisations are bound by confidentiality and privacy obligations in relation to the protection of your personal information.

Use of your personal information
For each visitor to reach the site, we expressively collect the following non-personally identifiable information, including but not limited to browser type, version and language, operating system, pages viewed while browsing the Site, page access times and referring website address. This collected information is used solely internally for the purpose of gauging visitor traffic, trends and delivering personalized content to you while you are at this Site.

From time to time, we may use customer information for new, unanticipated uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at some time in the future we will use for these new purposes only, data collected from the time of the policy change forward will adhere to our updated practices.

Changes to this Privacy Policy
Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) reserves the right to make amendments to this Privacy Policy at any time. If you have objections to the Privacy Policy, you should not access or use the Site.

Accessing Your Personal Information
You have a right to access your personal information, subject to exceptions allowed by law. If you would like to do so, please let us know. You may be required to put your request in writing for security reasons. Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) reserves the right to charge a fee for searching for, and providing access to, your information on a per request basis.

Contacting us
Sesame Seed Pty Ltd (trading as The Posify Group) welcomes your comments regarding this Privacy Policy. If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy and would like further information, please contact us at info@theposifygroup.com.au