By Orin C. Davis, Ph.D.
When people find out that I teach creativity and critical thinking, one of the most common responses is “I’d love to take a class like that—I wish I were creative!” To their surprise, my response is, “Actually, you already are!”
While people often lament the lack of creativity in schools, and think that none of us are taught to be creative except in those elective classes we forget ever taking, the reality is that we’re creative each and every day. So why do so many of us think we aren’t creative? Maybe we’re thinking about it all wrong.
Here are five reasons why you’re more creative than you think:
1) It Doesn’t Take an Einstein to be Creative
What most of us think of as creative works are what scientists call eminent creativity or BIG-C Creativity, which is work that develops or changes a field, like relativity or Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. But, creativity doesn’t require us to change the world at large, or even to be a genius. Each of us engages in creative processes every day, which scientists refer to as either little-c or mini-c creativity. Remember how you jury-rigged some contraption in your house that just needed a bit of ingenuity to get working properly? That’s little-c creativity—it affects multiple people, but isn’t professional-grade ingenuity. How about that moment when you developed some new realization about the way the world works? That’s mini-c creativity—it may have made sense only to you, but it was enlightening nonetheless! Each of those is a creative act that allows us to generate something novel and useful (which is the definition of creativity developed by scientist Teresa Amabile). [Read more…]