"I am just not the creative type."
Is that something you find yourself saying to others? My bet is that since you followed the headline here, you probably have.
Feeling this way is completely naturally, and in my work with business professionals, I can tell you that more people have this inclination than otherwise.
So what is the recipe for tapping into your creativity? Well, we first need to understand what creativity means. Creativity is not just about creating works of art or finding the next innovative business idea. In my experience, creativity is about finding solutions to problems, such as satisfying an artistic need to express oneself or a solving a complicated business problem plaguing a business.
It is difficult to find a creative solution to a problem that does not exist. Once you have defined the problem, knowing what you seek makes it easier to find your creativity.
Next, it is crucial to understand every one of us was born with the same level of creativity, and you need look no further than children to see that creativity is endowed upon all of us. However, because of an unfortunate and nasty little condition called adulthood that inescapably inflicts everyone, our creativity is slowly sapped from us.
With that said, regaining our creativity comes down to two simple things that each of us has the capability to find.
This necessary ingredient is the one we most often overlook and is drastically affected by the "input culture" we live in today. With 24-hour news, endless social-media posts, podcasts, and so on, many of us spend too much time absorbing information rather than consciously dedicating time to process and create output.
In other words, we need to deliberately practice creativity.
The second ingredient needed is simply everything we've learned until now. This obviously will differ from person to person, which makes working with others, preferably those who can bring alternative perspectives from different life experiences, such an important part of the creative process.
The issue with collaboration is that when we get stuck in a mindset and tell ourselves that we are not creative, working with others, and specifically with those who seem wildly more open and inventive, can become intimidating, and we shut down.
In reality, nobody is more creative than anyone else. Yes, some people are better at subduing their inhibitions, fears, and insecurities while allowing themselves to tap into their life experiences to mine for new ideas. I would argue, however, that these individuals are not better--they simply have more practice.
Lastly, it is important to understand that creativity is not about a final result, which, if not perfect or well crafted, often seems like a failure. Creativity is about a process, one which will never be perfect or complete. It is a skill we all have and simply need to reignite and cultivate.
And you can rest assured that once reignited, it is a skill that gets easier to use over time. As Oliver Wendell Holmes observed:
"A man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
What do you think? What do you do to spark your creativity? Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter.