Last week, I set the photo collage below as my profile pic on a social networking site. I had no idea I would set off a big debate on the nature of creativity, both on and off the site! The debate centered on whether everyone has innate creativity, or whether it is a special gift that only certain people are born with.
Certainly, some people are highly creative. These are the people who make great strides, both in art and technology. Scientific American Mind magazine featured an article last year, which stated that highly creative people are missing a "filter" in their mind which helps process information. Because that filter is missing, these people group sensory input in different ways from other people, and this leads them to make new connections, both visually and cognitavely.
However, I think that everyone is born with a certain amount of creativity. You only have to look at the way children play to see them use their imaginations. As children grow, though, many of them start to suppress their creative impulses, from fear of not measuring up, of being mocked, or of not fitting in. Our school system also contributes. The fact that teachers now are required to "teach to the tests" mean that there is little room for creative or out of the box thinking in the standard classroom. My compliments go out to all the teachers who manage to overcome the regulations set in place and make the learning process fun and stimulating. That requires some real creativity!
Creativity doesn't just mean that someone is good at an artform or can come up with a new invention. Do you ever deviate from a recipe, adding ingredients that you think will taste better? Do you add your own touches when you sing a song? Do you play with your children and come up with new ways to encourage or inspire them? How about the outfits that you wear each day; I bet you don't wear head to toe monochrome, day in and day out.
Creativity is part of every day, whether we realize it or not. It is up to you to nuture whatever feeds your creative spirit. Dance, sing, hug your children. Draw, paint, cook. If nothing else, put your head back and daydream. How do you express yourself? I would love to know.