The formal definition of creativity was formulated by professor Paul Torrance, the “father” of creativity research. It reads that creativity is the ability to sense ‘gaps” in existing knowledge, formulating hypotheses (tentative answers) about this and making the results known.” It means looking at a problem with a “fresh” pair of eyes, literally like a child, totally without any prior prejudices and limiting beliefs. In short, it relates to “novel” and “new.”
From birth, our thinking is shaped by the experiences we are subjected to by our parents, schooling, and society. These can be extremely limiting. Examples of this include beliefs about ourselves such as “I am not good enough” or “I may only look at a problem from my particular cultural viewpoint.”
Creativity says “no,” let us challenge ourselves and look at a particular challenge from every possible angle. Let us free ourselves to be curious and imaginative like only a child can be. Let us do this free and unencumbered. These are skills I teach individually in my private practice and at thinkingfit in groups. Please enquire if you are interested to equip yourself as best you can for a challenging and unknown future.
Creativity means challenging the norm; the way things are usually done around us. As children at home, school and later in the workplace, habits are imprinted on us; we are taught what to do and what not. We learn to “fit in” at all costs. In general, we simply accept these ways of doing and learn that doing things differently, challenging the tried and tested or moving out of the societal “herd” we live in, leads to trouble. We learn that individualism is to be resisted.
Of course, we need to learn to be responsible citizens but at the same time, it is of crucial necessity to challenge the existing in order to renew and improve. The way we interact with our physical environment is a good example. If we carry on without tending to environmental issues which have emerged because of old ways of doing such as using coal as a form of energy, we are destroying our planet. New sources of energy need to be developed.
- Have you always thought that creativity belongs to others and not to you?
I often ask clients about their understanding and viewpoints about creativity. I also sometimes hear individuals mention the topic at random. I very seldom encounter individuals who say outright they are creative. They are of the opinion that creativity is a “gift” that belongs to others.The truth is that we are all born with creative potential. A further truth is that creativity consists of skills that can be learned by anyone. Small children are naturally creative and left to their own devices have vivid imaginations and natural curiosity. I love watching them play and listening to their conversations. Nothing is impossible.Sadly, parents, schools and later the work environment suppresses this. “Sameness” is rewarded instead of attempts to see challenges from different angles. Children are encouraged to colour in between the lines of pictures instead of drawing their own creations.
- Have you ever been exposed to learn creativity tools and techniques?
- Has your current creative potential ever been tested?