What is Creativity?

Just a few days ago, my husband and I had a discussion about creativity.  He was telling me how he used to think he was a better chef than me, but as of late, had changed his mind.  When I asked him why the change of heart, he said I was the better chef because I was more creative in the kitchen.  He said I can take different ingredients that would normally make one ill to think about, and somehow I can come out with a delicious concoction that makes people beg for second helpings.

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Image by TZA via Flickr

Besides talking about what sort of disgusting ingredients he was referring to, exactly, the conversation wandered towards what creativity really is.  Since my husband spent a year and a half in architecture school before ultimately pursuing finance and economics degrees, he often joins in on my design projects by offering critiques and suggestions. However, when I try to give him credit or praise for his contributions, he often shrugs it off by saying he’s not “the creative one”.

At the core, I think creativity is based on ideas.  Not everyone will have the best technique or the most honed skills to complete their ideas flawlessly, but I believe that ideas speak more to creativity than just execution.  Without ideas, we would live in a world where all that exists is what existed before us.

If ideas are the core of creativity, then any person in any field can be creative. I watch the evidence of this as my husband works on investment proposals. As he formulates an investment strategy, he is taking into account a multitude of moving pieces that will affect his decisions: the economy, available funds for investing, industry news, company announcements about goals and earnings, level of risk for the investor, etc. All the while, he’s exercising forethought, planning and using his intuition to make quick decisions. For most, the only time the words ‘creative’ and ‘finance’ are in the same sentence is when an audit is inevitable or a bailout is on the horizon.

A successful creative individual possesses many other traits that allow them to realize their ideas. They are often the people who weigh the consequences of their actions and spend hours obsessing over the details of each decision. Sometimes they are also the ones who mutter to themselves in public and make everyone feel very awkward in their presence.  Just remember, they’re a creative genius and you should let them be.

Creative people have a knack for understanding the intricacies of their chosen field, whether they work on pipelines, paintings or wine pairings.  They are the forward thinkers.  The imaginative dreamers.  They are usually on some sort of medication to help with the ADD (and quite possibly a few voices).  They are the die-hard workers who never seem to sleep or be able to rest until they’ve gotten some closure on an idea.

I like to think of creative people as the glass-half-full group in disguise; they constantly question, doubt and find something to fix, but because of it, they are able to make the world better.

Written as a response to the Let’s Blog Off prompt

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  • Well said!…your “they are the die-hard workers who never seem to sleep or be able to rest until they’ve gotten some closure on an idea” and “they are also the ones who mutter to themselves in public” and “weigh the consequences of their actions and spend hours obsessing over the details of each decision” really resonates with me and I’m sure my wife would agree, but not totally convinced I could say “just remember, I’m a creative genius “. @SarahJ8xon

    PS thanks for the link! @ianjaxon  ianjaxon.wordpress.com

    • Just practice saying “I am a creative genius” to yourself, and then it will get easier to say it to others 😉 (Sometimes we are the only ones that need the convincing!). Thanks for stopping by!