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Do you feel like you’re not a creative person?

When it’s time to prepare a new PowerPoint or brainstorm new ways to recognize your employees, does your mind go blank?

The research on creativity is clear – it’s a good thing!

  • According to Adobe’s “State of Create: 2016” study, people who describe themselves as “someone who creates” earn 13% more money on average than non-creative people. It also states that only 4 in 10 people describe themselves as creative, which provides a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
  • Creative ideas can be used to approach work in more productive ways.
  • Being creative leads to a more positive emotional state. A New Zealand university, The University of Otago, published a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology that discusses evidence that “engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in well-being the next day.”

We all want to reap the benefits that creativity brings, but there is one big myth surrounding creativity that is also the largest roadblock to enhancing it.

The Myth of Natural Creative Ability

Here is the myth we need to bust–the dragon we need to slay.

“Creativity is a natural ability; you’re either born with it or you’re not.”

The truth is, we all have natural creativity and can develop to become more creative.

Human beings are born creative.  We know this because all children create.  They make up words, make up songs, and make up friends.  They even make up entire imaginary worlds!

As we age, we are trained by traditional methods of teaching and society to imitate and regurgitate.  Conforming becomes very important to us.

If we aren’t surrounded by people who value and praise creativity, we won’t learn to believe it’s a worthwhile investment of time or energy.

Creative vs. Artistic

Many people equate creativity to being artistic, but they are not the same.

Artistic is defined as the ability to create fine works of arts such as writing, dancing, painting, etc.  Creativity is the ability to make something new, to be able to apply or combine existing things in a new way, or to solve a problem in a new way.

It really helps for artists to be creative, but you don’t have to be artistic to be creative.

How to Become More Creative

Anyone can learn to be more creative.  It’s like a muscle; you need to use it, or it will atrophy.  If you haven’t used your creative muscle in a while, don’t worry, it’s still there!

Before you can hit the creative gym, you must get past the biggest barrier to creativity – the belief that you are not a creative person.

Words are important, and they strongly influence your subconscious mind.  However, it takes some mental gymnastics to go from “I’m not creative” to “Actually, yes I am.”  Most people find this approach feels fake or like they are lying to themselves.

Try this instead.  The next time you’re about to say, “I wish I could do that, but I’m just not creative,” stop yourself.  Try new words such as, “I love that!  I’m working on my creativity skills, so I’m going to try that myself.”

Then ask the person who did it to tell you how they came up with the idea.  You can learn a lot from others.

Once this becomes a habit of thinking and speaking, you’ll notice that you begin to seek out avenues to be creative.

Reap the Rewards

Being creative is a way to bring more joy to your work.  Even mundane tasks that you’ve done hundreds of times can be infused with new life when you start to look at how you might do it better.

Not only will your happiness increase, but your productivity will too, making you more valuable to your team.

Now Go Create!

What is one task you will take a creative look at within the next 7 days that would have a significant impact on the productivity of you or your team?

Committing to an action publicly makes you more likely to follow through with it.  You can leave your answer in a comment below for a little dose of accountability!

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