Creativity is the cornerstone of problem solving in any area of your life. I knew I was creative growing up, but COVID-19 truly put my problem solving skills to the test. With creativity you’re better equipped to deal with uncertainty. This pandemic has caused so many to turn on a dime and see things differently. Many are left asking themselves, what do I do now?
I’m just not creative
I hear this all the time. The truth of the matter is that everyone is born with creativity. According to Sir Ken Robinson, creativity is as important in education as literacy. Education is meant to take us into this future we can’t grasp, but it hasn’t been working out for us.
It’s not our fault. Schools have been killing our creativity. They place value on limited subjects in order to prepare you for a job or a career. Education for years has been based on the idea of academic ability.
Schools focus on grades and achievement
You’ve heard it all before “Get good grades so you can get into a good college and get a good job.” But what if you can’t earn the grades, especially in classes you don’t like? The only things they seem to value achievement in are Math, English, and Science.
Most of the degrees we have been earning aren’t worth anything anymore. Now jobs are looking for individuals with an MA, not just a BA. or even a PhD. We’re going through a process of academic inflation. It’s gotten so competitive to get into a good school with the right grades, test scores, and recommendations, that kids that don’t have the wealth and resources are still left behind.
Schools promote perfectionism
Little kids aren’t afraid to take a chance. They aren’t afraid of being wrong. When we get to school, there’s so much focus on grades and achievement, that we’re scared to be wrong. We stigmatize mistakes and educate people out of their creative capacities.
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.– Joseph Chilton Pearce
I was always focused on that achievement even for my kids. I always thought of myself as a failure for not achieving what was expected of me. My very wise son got me to see that learning should not be about the grades, but the knowledge, experience, and connections you make.
Creativity can be learned
Most see creativity as the ability to produce works of art, dance, or music. Yes, so many of the arts display incredible feats of creativity that reflect a combination of talent and skill, but creativity is really just the use of the imagination or original ideas.
With a talent, people usually believe you either have it or you don’t. Creativity is really a skill. If you practice it enough you will get better. But just like everything in life, you have to use it or lose it. The good thing is “it’s just like riding a bike,” we just need to get back on it.
How does creativity happen?
Creativity is taking what we know and putting it together in a new or different way. Everything we learn and experience, things we see, hear, and feel even through movement.
When we bring our knowledge and experience together, this is how we create things. Check out The Creative Brain on Netflix. It’s a great documentary on how so many accomplished professionals have applied their creativity to what they do.
My grandma didn’t want me taking art classes because she thought I would be a “starving artist” and wouldn’t be successful. Honestly all the classes I’ve ever taken contribute to how I think things through even today… along with books, movies, blogs, and things we test and try out.
Thinking differently in 2020 and beyond
Creativity is flourishing during lockdown. Danny Beckett Jr. writes for Entrepreneur, “companies learned a valuable lesson: the difference between success and failure is creativity.” Creativity is not only highly valuable but a way to survive.
Out of necessity, the pandemic has gotten me back into thinking creatively – cooking better meals from cafeteria food, making things we need from stuff we have, and writing this blog!
We are all in problem solving mode. Yes, there were things we had planned to do in 2020 that did not happen. A lot of our long term plans got pushed back a few more years. It will still be possible but with a different approach.
My oldest is still graduating this year and is finishing his last college application. He won’t have as many activities or volunteer experiences listed, but he also didn’t have to worry about the SATs or ACTs. Things may be going sideways, but we are still here and just need to adjust how we see things.
Creativity is life
Creative thinking overall reduces stress and keeps the brain healthy. When we are creative, we are drawing on various neural networks in the brain. There have always been benefits associated with creating art as a way to decrease negative emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall health. I can’t think of a better time than now to get more creative. Try starting with a bucket list or mind map and write down the things you want to do and learn!