A Common Misconception About Creativity

Misconception-about-Creativity-by-Shi-ChenWhenever the word creativity comes up in conversation, people inevitably say one of two things: 1. I am creative. OR 2. I am not creative.

But the conversation doesn’t end there.

Even though the word creativity is a neutral word—used to describe inspiration, genius, and anything with an artsy flavor— it can evoke some pretty negative emotions.

The self-proclaimed creatives struggles with writer’s block or the pressure to produce another “work of art."

The non-creative dismisses the idea of creativity because it’s “not for them.”

These statements reveal a common misconception about creativity: Creativity is NOT something you are or something you’re not.

Instead: Creativity is a embodied in a separate, divine, outside force that everyone has access to, to make meaningful work.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius,” she shares the history of creativity starting with the Greeks and the Romans. She says,

"People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons.”

The Greeks called these creative, divine spirits “daemons” while the Romans called them a “genius.” Both believed that creativity was a out-of-body divine spirit who would come and collaborate with the artist to inspire and guide the outcome of the work.

In other words, the artist was responsible for her portion of the work — the act of putting pen to paper, outlining main ideas, and writing, editing, and revising the words for the book. The daemon, or genius, or “creative spirit” was responsible for the inspiration, the ideas, the connections, and flow that brings the work to life.

It’s often a dance between the artist and the creative spirit, working together to create something of value to bring into the world. The result is when others experience the work, they can recognize it as an inspired and divine piece of art/work.

Understanding this distinction allows the self-proclaimed creative permission to create regardless of outcome and allows the non-creative access to infuse more inspiration and connection into what they already do.

More access and collaboration with creativity will lead to more inspirational and meaningful work.

Just show up and continue to do your portion of the work. Creativity and divine inspiration has a way of finding open and willing vessels.

Take Action! What’s your misconception about creativity and how has that affected the quality of your work? What are you responsible for in the portion of your work? What are you inspired by? How can you be an open vessel for a divine creative spirit?

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