Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

True Creatives vs. “Coincidental” Creatives. . .

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Creativity is a mystery.  We know, or at least believe, everyone has the ability to be creative.  But if it’s true we all have creative ability, why are some of us more consistently creative than others?

There are several theories as to why this is so; why some people appear more creative than others.  They run the entire gamut of the “nature vs nurture” argument; genetic makeup, environment, opportunity, practice, even being exposed to certain types of music in utero.  The truth is we don’t know why some people are more creative than others.

Part of the problem, I think, lies in our misidentification of creativity.  We tend to think of creativity in very narrow terms.  Even social scientists do this.  They tend to think of creativity in terms of problem solving.  We in the general public, on the other hand, tend to think of creativity as having to do, almost exclusively, with the arts.  While it is true that problem solving is a component of the creative process, the ability to solve puzzles does not equate with the creative effort necessary to, say, write a novel.  We may see the problem solver as “clever” or “smart” or even “insightful” but very seldom creative.  Why?  Because we tend to think of creative people as being expressive.  But we all express ourselves.  Maybe not artistically, but we do express ourselves.  So, if creative people are expressive, and we all express ourselves, why aren’t we more creative?

Part of the answer, a very big part as it turns out, is fear.  Or, more precisely, uncertainty.  Humans like certainty.  They like knowing things will turn out for the best; the best being to their advantage.  They like being comfortable in the knowledge their chosen course of action will have the desired result.  When you enter the realm of creativity, you’re never certain how things will turn out.  It is a decidedly uncomfortable environment, filled with unknowns.  A chosen course of action may have the desired result, or it may not.  Fear of the “not” is what keeps most people from expressing their creative talents.

This is what separates true creatives from those I like to call “coincidental” creatives.  True creatives possess the courage of their creativity.  What do I mean by that?

Courage is defined as the will to act in the presence of fear (not).  True creatives acknowledge the possibility of the “not” while embracing the “may”.  Before taking a particular action they will consider a variety of possible actions, knowing if one proposed solution doesn’t work, a second or third or fourth, may.  In short, true creatives don’t quit.  They view creativity as a process, not an end in itself.

In contrast, the coincidental creative tends to be somewhat reactionary, using his creative talents only in response to immediate contexts.  If a proposed course of action bears positive results, all well and good.  If not, the usual response is, “Well, I gave it my best shot.”  They don’t pester a problem, looking for alternate or even multiple solutions.  For the coincidental creative it’s the results that matter.  Something either works for it doesn’t.

So, given that we’re all creative, which type are you?  True creative or “coincidental”?



Written by stevewthomas

January 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I would not be so bold as to label myself a “true creative”, but I will say that I am in the midst of the most creative period of my life (and loving it). On January 9, responding to a writing prompt, I conceived a scene where the wife of a modern-day Puritan tells him she is leaving him for a lottery winner. Now, only two weeks later, I have written 20 scenes, have titles and sentence summaries for the final 8 and expect to have a working draft of a screenplay in less than a week. God is good.


    January 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm

  2. True creatives rarely label themselves, tony. . .but it sounds to me as though your actions are speaking louder than any label could. . .Keep pluggin’ away. . .dreams do come true. . .you and I are living proof of that statement. . .all the best!


    January 24, 2013 at 11:23 pm

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