Creativity is Not a Talent

Today I was reminded of this quote by John Cleese: “Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

I’ve long been of the mindset that creativity is something everybody is born with. Everybody, however, doesn’t think of it as a way of life. There are even those – not you, I hope – who truly believe they are not creative at all. 

I grew up thinking that having a vivid imagination was not a good thing. I was a daydreamer, always had my nose in a book, wove stories in my head, and mentally stored away every single detail around me for a future appearance in some yet-unwritten novel. These were not, I was told, useful life skills. I needed to be sensible. Disciplined. Boring. At least, that’s how it seemed to me.

Then it occurred to me, after years in corporate management, that I was using those “non-essential” life skills in my work. Furthermore, the application of those skills actually helped me become a better manager. My creative brain (which I’d never squelched, despite what I’d been taught) was able to plot out solutions for production issues. I could weave a story of the process, from start to finish, with all kinds of interesting twists in the middle. And instead of having my nose in the books, I wrote the books; training tools, procedures manuals, and process management courses that guided people to think outside the box and embark on their own creative journeys.

Creativity is a way of life. You recognize it, nurture it, and run with it. You’ll bump into some brick walls or ford some streams along the way, but the process is exhilarating and the end results are so worth the effort.

It’s there, inside you. Time to let it out.


Filed under Being Creative, Writing

2 responses to “Creativity is Not a Talent

  1. Hi. You got me to thinking about Myers Briggs and creativity. I think some personality types are more comfortable in a less structured environment than others. Because I am less structured, I like to think it helps my creativity. But, I still need structure to actually accomplish anything with it. Does that make any sense? Thanks, Silent

    • Hey, Silent, your comment makes complete sense. I’ve done Myers Briggs and DISC and a few others, and while these personality classifiers are questionably useful, I’ve always balked a bit at being slotted into a particular category. Like you, I am more comfortable in a less structured environment.The need for self-discipline is key here, I think, and the fact that you’ve identified that for yourself is huge. Many “artists” never understand that and therefore, never become great. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. Happy New Year!

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