The other day I heard a great interview on my local NPR station with Shelley Carson, Harvard psychologist and author of “Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life”. In the interview, Carson talks about how we can re-train our brains to be more creative. I’m definitely buying her book, which includes self-tests for discovering which brain states you favor, exercises to strengthen the weaker brain states, and help in sticking to the program! Here’s a link to the book:
I recently had a well-meaning person suggest to me that I use words other than “creative” when describing my ideal clients and how I can help them. I usually call myself a “Creative Entrepreneur Coach” when talking with other folks about my practice and I often explain how I am a passionate believer in the innate creativity in each of us. But I am coming to realize that for some people, the very word “creative” generates a negative connotation which I do not intend.
So, I thought I would take this opportunity to clarify my meaning when I use the word “creative”. First let me begin with some definitions, courtesy of www.dictionary.com.
1. having the quality or power of creating.
2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative.
3. originative; productive.
Notice how there is no mention in this definition of being “artistic” or a “genius”. I think some people have come to believe that creativity is relegated to the purview of the artist or genius, not to regular, everyday people. However, whenever you find yourself imagining what tomorrow might bring or throwing a new spice into your favorite dish, you are being creative. It doesn’t have to be grandiose or monumental. It can be a simple shift in perspective or experience which leads you to try something new.
Now, I also want to take a moment to tease out the meanings of two other words which are often used instead of the word “creative”. These next two words you will likely hear in your corporate office or on TV. But I think these words are being used too often when what is really called for is “creative”.
1. apt at inventing, devising, or contriving.
2. apt at creating with the imagination.
3. having the function of inventing.
4. pertaining to, involving, or showing invention.
using or showing new methods, ideas, etc
While it could be argued that “inventive” and “creative” are synonymous based on the above definitions, I feel that “innovative” is somewhat different in that it usually pertains to the adoption of some new method or idea, which is sometimes the creation or invention of someone else.
Now that we have our definitions, it is time for “creative” to come out of the shadows. I want to use this beautiful word fearlessly. I encourage you to do the same.
Let us be clear: “creative” does not mean weird, oddball, unreliable, flaky, unstable or uncontrolled. (It doesn’t even mean artistic.) Those words don’t show up in the definition. Creativity is not something to fear or shy away from, especially when it comes from within ourselves. It simply means having the power of creating, having originality of thought. Every person possesses this power, this originality. Yes, even you.
I like to refer to my ideal clients as “Creatives” with a capital “C”. By this, I mean those people who desire to embrace their creativity, to step more fully into it and let it shine in the world. Yes, this, too, could be you. How seriously are you willing to take the power of creating that you possess, your original thoughts? What is it that you wish to create in the world?
Are you ready to be a “Big C” Creative?