The Creative Class is a socioeconomic class that economist and social scientist Richard Florida, a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, identifies as a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities in the United States.
“I wish I were as creative as you.” I hear that regularly from people who don’t think they can be creative. And they would never consider themselves “a creative.”
It’s as if they’ve confused being a creative with a bohemian. Heck, if that’s the case they must think I’m a bohemian! But they look at me and say “you’re a creative” while simultaneously labeling their own lives as “not creative.”
Here’s what I know from working with all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life: We’re all creative.
Humans are born creative. I’ve had 3 babies in my house in my lifetime, all very creative. Like ridiculously creative. Jackson (22 months) is so creative that Kristen and I constantly text each other with pictures, “LOOK WHAT HE DID!”
My next door neighbor is nearly 90 years old. After spending his career working in the San Diego shipyards as a glazier, he retired in 1990. You’d think a lifelong union guy who put windows in ships his whole life wouldn’t be creative. Well, you haven’t met Stan. His gardens are brilliantly creative. In the 4 years we’ve lived next door to him I can’t tell you how many times Stan has leaned over the fence and said, “See this? I made this for you.”
Creativity is innate. It lives just below the surface in all of us. Some are just better at suppressing it than others. But it’s always there.
You don’t learn how to be creative, you suppress it. Being creative is more about letting it go or uncovering it than it is learning how to be creative.
See, you don’t have to teach a child or an old man how to be creative because it oozes out of them.
You Are a Creative
I don’t care who you are or what you do. You are a creative. You just need to foster it, give it space to grow, and encourage it– it’s already there.
You’re a contractor? Holy cow– creative. You’re an accountant? Yup, your work needs to be very creative sometimes. You answer the phones for a law firm? Lots of creative opportunities.
How Do You Unleash Creativity?
- Schedule unscheduled time, it’ll happen. Remember that creativity is already below the surface. Any time you stop doing what you do, creativity will naturally emerge.
- Write stuff down. Driving, taking a shower, walking the dog, listening to the Sunday sermon, playing with my kids. When you stop doing what you do, creative ideas will generate themselves. Just write them all down.
- Do something new. Routines can be the enemy of creativity. When you’re in a rut do something new. Try a new coffee shop or a new route to drive home or go on vacation somewhere new or go see a different kind of movie. I find doing something different sparks a lot of creativity.
- Have a spot. Routines can be a creative spark, as well. I write at a specific time each day. Kristen and I have a coffee routine. And I have a number of places that I go regularly that are “places I go when I need to be creative.”