“How many of you consider yourself creative?”
I asked this question to a group of 70 teachers and administrators we were presenting to on Saturday. Only about half of the group raised their hands.
“Let me frame this a different way. In the last week, how many of you have had to solve a problem in your classroom where you didn’t know the answer and couldn’t look to google for a solution. How many of you solved an ambiguous problem by inventing your own solution?”
Immediately they all raised their hands. “Guess what? If you were able to do this successfully, then you are creative.”
I am always amazed at how many people simply don’t think of themselves as creative. Typically, the reason they don’t believe this is because they often associate creativity with the arts, and they don’t see themselves as artistic.
And while you can express yourself in creative, artistic ways, creativity is also about imagining new ideas, solving complex problems, and thinking in different ways.
Declaring yourself to be creative is an act of self-empowerment. It can have far-reaching results on your professional life, your home life, and your emotional state. The more you are aware of your creativity, the easier it will be to tap into that resource whenever you need it.
Once you acknowledge that you are creative, you give yourself the freedom to explore possibilities, take the time to reflect on new ideas, and go down unique paths in search of solutions.
So today, I encourage you to ask yourself: “how am I creative?” Take a few minutes and jot down the ways you have shown your creativity this week. These acts can be small- coming up with a recipe with a few ingredients, figuring out how to help someone solve a problem, or coming up with an alternative way of getting something done. Don’t worry about whether it’s “right” or not. Just celebrate the fact that you are creative!
I would love to hear your responses in the comments below, with the phrase, “I am creative!” Let’s change this creative conversation and help everyone to realize their inherent creativity!
Dr. Cyndi Burnett is the Director of Possibilities for Creativity and Education. Like her creativity-focused curriculum for students and teachers, Cyndi embraces the creative lifestyle that she teaches. You will often find her trying on new ideas, exploring resources to stretch her thinking, and being an advocate for playfulness and humor. Although she loves to research and write about creativity, Cyndi is a firm believer in field service. She has 20 years of teaching experience as an academic at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State where she instructed classes in creative-thinking and creative problem-solving.
Cyndi is the co-editor of the Big Questions in Creativity book series and co-author of the books Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum, 20 Lessons for Weaving Creativity into your Curriculum, and My Sandwich Is a Spaceship: Creative Thinking for Parents and Young Children.