Myths about Creativity

Myths about Creativity

In the world of design, art, and all things creativity, there are countless discussions on what environments breed innovation.  In addition, many beliefs regarding the presence of creativity are probably not as valid as we’ve been led to believe.

There’s something elusive, mysterious, and inspiring about the presence of truly creative ideas.  And, while we might never really “know” where it comes from (if it even comes from a “place”), it is enlightening to break down some myths about creativity that might also hinder further progression:

1- Creativity comes out of nowhere


We’re all familiar with the imagery of the “light bulb” when great ideas come to mind.  In fact, this image stems all the way back to childhood, for most of us.  We grow up being led to believe that creativity comes out of nowhere.  While this might hold some truth, there’s also a lot to be said for creativity that arises from periods of thought and brainstorming.  Sometimes, this thought is more unconscious.  We’ve all been instructed to step away from puzzles, when they prove too challenging, and return at another time.  Our minds are actually refreshed and open to newer, more creative capabilities when we take a break from a well-thought out problem.

2- Creativity is genetic


It’s undeniable that we are born with predispositions to certain character traits, based on those possessed by our parents.  And, creativity might certainly be one those.  However, that’s not to say that individuals who don’t possess creative parents can’t be creative themselves.  Creativity can most definitely be taught via behavior, techniques, and exposure to various mediums.

3- Creativity = Originality


What’s authentically original nowadays?  In the world of “creatives,” it seems that we all strive to attain originality.  However, all ideas are really just concepts that have been borrowed from other sources.  Whether consciously taken or not, it’s almost impossible for creativity to be derived from something that is 100% original.  In fact, previous ideas are often the best source for breeding new and improved innovation.

4- Creativity is the result of expertise


Expertise in any regard will naturally lend itself to more ideas regarding the subject matter.  However, it has been purported that, sometimes, extraneous expertise can hinder the creative flow.  In the corporate landscape, some companies purposefully garner information from outside opinions for this reason.  Experts are often stuck on the rigidity of their knowledge, while people with less expertise are more likely to see an unusual perspective on the circumstance.

5- Creativity demands no constraints


If you’ve ever been in an artistic environment, you’ve probably heard individuals talk about free reign with creativity.  In general, we understand the luxury of full creative freedom without constraints; however, sometimes a little structure is just what the artist needs to stay focused and get work done.  The disciplined writer might set a deadline for the first chapter of his novel to get him motivated.  And, the web designer must work within specified constraints of the client’s wishes.

The creative process is one that will, more than likely, go undefined.  Like the word “perfection,” creativity is bred differently cross-industry and from person to person.  One thing we can try to do is put less definitive signifiers on the concept, as they often shun and deter creativity altogether.  

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