• Katie Trowbridge

The Creative Person - Wait, you mean me?

Updated: Jan 4

In our last blog, we reviewed the 4P’s of creativity: Creative Person, Creative Process, Creative Project, Creative Environment (press). Today, we want to focus on the Creative Person.

How did they do that?

That person is so creative...I could never do that.

Where did they get that idea from?

If only I could be that creative.

How many times have you heard yourself saying one of the above statements? It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others. If only I could paint like Monet...if only I could write a novel like Stephen King...if only I could start a new business like Oprah Winfrey. Many of us spend too much time in the “if only” realm - thinking that if we were more intelligent, outgoing, physically fit, inventive - we could accomplish greater endeavors.

Maybe we sit and compare ourselves to co-workers, family members, celebrities, anyone who seems to be an expert in a certain field. We may even think that for some people, creativity comes easy.

Consider Thomas Edison. His teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was even fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” Yet, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb. This invention didn’t come easy to him - he just never gave up trying.

Our ability to be creative may not make us famous or wealthy but it will allow us to be more innovative when confronted with challenges. Attacking that home improvement “to-do” list may seem overwhelming but accomplishing the smallest task can help relieve stress. Assisting the PTA with the fall fair may not make a global impact - but it will help the school community. Creativity can impact us, as individuals, but also influence a community.

We need to realign our definition of the creative person to include all of us. Yes, that means you! You are a creative person.

Jeff Mauzy, co-author of the book “Creativity Inc.,” explained the differences between these two types of creativity:

“We tend to look at what I call ‘big C’ creativity, like, have we invented the new G4 (Apple computer) lately, or are we knocking the socks off our competitors in the market with something new and exciting. Everybody’s looking for a big breakthrough. Meanwhile, they’re going about their lives, making up each day as they go along, as the market shifts, as the office environment shifts, as the politics in the office shifts. And they’re applying ‘little c’ creativity all the time. But they look at this ‘big C’ breakthrough and think, ‘I’ve never done that; I’m not very creative,’ and they lose heart. Instead, if people can learn to focus on the small stuff, they’ll recognize themselves as creative beings and creativity as being a part of everything. If we recognize that, just like fitness, this is all the time, every day, then when it comes time to apply creativity toward major change, we’re more fit and able to do it.”

As creative people, we want to cultivate ‘little c‘ into our everyday lives. So, how do we go about doing that?

Grow your skills in the area where you want to be creative

  • Do you want to redo your landscape? Do some research, call a landscaping company, watch some HGTV, gain knowledge and skill to help you plan and plant.

  • Do you want to present a new idea to your executive team? Do some research, consult your peers, create a slide deck, write your speech. Get ready to “wow” them.

  • Whatever your goal, start building what you need to accomplish it.

Say yes to ideas

  • Linus Pauling, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” It’s easy for us to discount our own ideas. Many times students will say, “I have an idea but it’s really stupid.”