I hear this a lot: “I wish I could be creative.” “I’m not creative.” “I don’t know how to be creative.” “I work at a job with zero creativity.”
It frustrates me when people say this stuff. They’re typically those who work in stereotypically non-creative jobs.
Newflash: OF COURSE YOU ARE.
Stop telling yourself you aren’t.
“But,” you say, “I work in an office all day and…”
“Shhhhh,” I interrupt, tenderly putting my finger to your mouth. “Let me explain.”
Creativity is all around us
Like many of you, I take the train to get around the city. 99 percent of the time, train conductors use the loudspeaker to make announcements about track changes, delays, what stop is next, etc.
This morning, on the train coming in to work, the conductor announced our stop, then told us all to have a great day and “to sparkle.”
It’s all about your perspective. It doesn’t have to be something big. Creativity doesn’t mean painting giant wall murals or playing music or writing a screenplay or any of the other traditional ways we define creativity.
(No, you don’t need to own an easel to be creative.)
Small bits of creative thinking or actions, in whatever you do, constitute creativity.
- Finding a clever way to hack your Excel spreadsheets? That’s creativity.
- Figuring out an effective way to get people to clean out their stuff from the office fridge? That’s creativity.
- Deciding to take a moment to yourself to just breathe instead of checking Twitter / Facebook / whatever? That’s creativity.
- Sending out a team email on Monday morning with funny GIFs in it? That’s creativity.
- Wearing colorful, cool-patterned socks at your suit-and-tie job? That’s creativity.
- Putting your own personal spin on the way things are usually done (like our train conductor did)? That’s creativity AF.
You don’t need to work in a creative field to be creative. You don’t need to be Banksy or have an illustration-filled Instagram account with tons of followers.
It can be the smallest thing, and guess what, it still counts.
To me, creativity is less about being “artistic,” more about putting your own spin on the norm.
At work, and in your personal life, you have creativity within you.
Hell, I made cauliflower rice instead of regular rice the other day. As a totally amateur cook, I consider that a huge display of creativity for me.
Your “thing” might be different. Just put your own spin on your routine. Maybe it’s trying new fitness classes instead of the same old elliptical. That’s creativity, in my book. It’s putting your own spin on the norm / routine.
My point with all this: Please stop telling yourself you’re not creative.
The great advertising minds at Gatorade once asked, “Is it in you?”
And the answer to that is, yes, creativity is in you.