As a creative professional, I am constantly confronted with misconceptions about creativity. From other creatives complaining that they are not as creative as I am, to school teachers trying to convince me that creativity is illogical, delusions about creativity are everywhere.
Here are some of the biggest delusions about creativity that I am constantly rebutting to others:
Creativity cannot be learned. We are all born with creative abilities, it is the way humans survive. And the truth is that we can expand on our creativity - just like we can learn a new sport or game - by learning new techniques and practices, learning of other perspectives, and stretching our creative muscles. Sure, not everyone is going to be a creative genius, but that’s not because they can’t be one… it’s because they aren’t putting enough effort into learning how to be one.
Creativity is not logical. Creativity actually requires a lot of logic and reasoning in order to really work out. It may seem like your ideas and techniques are random and illogically constructed, but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on in your mind to make those new ideas seem… well, new. Just because someone is creative doesn’t mean they are illogical thinkers. It just means they let their subconscious brain do most of the work.
Only certain types of people are creative. Creativity is not a natural talent, but it is a natural ability that everyone is born with - and I mean everyone. There are some people, however, that are more creative than others because of their natural instinct to ask questions, explore options, and live life with an open mind. Everyone is creativity, and everyone can be creative, it just takes a little knowhow.
Creativity is innovation. Creative professionals, as well as amateurs, often confuse creativity for innovation. Jim Canterucci of FastCompany.com once explained that “creativity is the process of generating something new. It is a prerequisite for innovation. Innovation however, is the practical application of creativity. A good idea is a great thing, but if the idea is not implemented, for whatever reason, we simply have creativity (source: FastCompany).”
The best ideas come from thin air. Wouldn’t it be great if truly remarkable, error-free ideas just randomly occurred to us? The sad truth is that great, creative ideas take a long time to develop. Sure, you can come up with the original foundation for a great idea from thin air, but that doesn’t mean the idea is as great as it could be. There has never been an invention or idea that was created instantly. Most creative ideas take years to develop, Mozart, for example, spent 16 years developing music until one of his pieces was finally recognized as great.
Only one side of your brain is used for creativity. Sure, you’ve got the left side of of your brain helping you make sense of everyday problems in a logical way, and then you’ve got the right side of your brain imagining solutions. Creativity seems to be dominant on only the right side of the brain, but the truth is that creativity uses both sides of your brain. The right side of your brain thinks up illogical ideas, while the left side tries to make logical sense of those ideas. Creativity requires both sides of your brain to really work well.