Creativity is More Universal Than You Think

We tend to put ourselves into boxes. Some people are just creative people, and some people are logical, math people, right? I tend to think of myself as a logical math person. I’m good at math, and I enjoy it too. One of my primary hobbies is programming. That’s based almost entirely upon math and logic. However, there’s some flawed logic here. Most, if not all, of my friends would be considered creative people. For example, my friend Savannah draws little cute pictures on the broken wine bags at work, my friend Jacob has his own band and has several original songs that are pretty great, and my friend Beth writes stories about high school romance. Now, I think we can all agree that these are creative people, but I think there’s more to it than that. I think it is a fundamental part of human nature to be creative.

Let’s take a step back. What is creativity?  Dictionary.com defines it as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.;  Originality, progressiveness, or imagination.” Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster defines it much more simply as “the ability to create.” I’d say I have the ability to create. I really enjoy writing random programs that pop into my head. I might go as far as to say programming is my creative outlet. I firmly believe that everyone is a creative person in some way. I think creativity is so fundamental to human nature that nobody is not creative. I see this everywhere. People are forcing themselves into these boxes, categories of “I’m not creative” or “I’m just not good at art.” This dilutes the fundamental idea of what creativity is. This type of thinking reduces creativity to the skills that people use to express it. You could come up with some amazing picture in your head and not be able to paint it, but are you not creative for thinking of that picture?

Don’t get me wrong, there is value in artistic technical skill,  but modern thinking seems to associate creativity solely with the ability to express it. I believe that this is a travesty. It is harmful to our society because there are millions, billions of people who have so many ideas and no way to express them, so they suppress them. Being caught in this thinking that you have to be able to express something to have created it is fundamentally wrong and in some ways unethical. So, I will leave you with this: if you have an idea big or small, embrace it and do everything you can to express it because that is what makes you truly human.