I have been in the creativity and innovation business for over 40 years. When I first meet someone and I tell them that I teach creativity and innovation at a university and that I am a creativity consultant, the number one reaction that I get constantly consists of 4 words. Those words are: “I am not creative.”
And, based on my years in this business. I can tell you unequivocally, that statement has NEVER been true.
I believe the reason why people think the way they do about being creative is a problem with the definition or our perception of creativity. Face it, when most of us think of a creative person, people like DaVinci, Beethoven, Paul McCartney or Van Gogh come to mind. Most of us can’t hold a candle to their genius. No wonder people don’t consider themselves creative!
And this is the number one myth about creativity – that only a few people are creative, and those people are artists and musicians.
This myth is FALSE.
Creativity researchers James Kaufman and Ron Beghetto have identified four types of creativity. Big-C, little-c, mini-c and Pro-c.
Big-C creators are people like Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, and Mozart. These are the clear-cut, eminent creative contributors.
little-c is the kind of creativity that we do every day. little-c creativity is finding a way to fix machinery on the farm with just wire and duct tape, creating a delicious meal using only the leftovers in the refrigerator, or making a quilt using old clothing scraps.
mini-c is the creativity that is part of the learning process, and the creativity seen in young children. mini-c focuses on the creative process. It is the new idea generated in a brainstorming session that might eventually develop into a breakthrough.
Pro-c is the creativity of individuals who are professional creators but have not reached eminent status. Pro-c is the chef who makes a living developing entrees, the musician who composes or writes new musical arrangements, the interior designer that makes your house beautiful.
Anyone who has professional-level expertise in any creative area is likely to have attained Pro-c status.
Never, ever say that you are NOT creative again.
Looking at the Four-C model, there is not a single person on this planet that doesn’t exhibit some form of creativity. Creativity is in all of us. You were born with everything you needed to create. You are wired to be creative. You can’t help it. Creativity is what makes us human.
Happy new year! I hope this year you’ll grow and lean into your personal creative style, and see the rewards of creative thinking manifest in your work and your life. Have a magnificently creative 2020.
To read more about the 4-C model of creativity and how to become deliberately creative, my new book, Create in a Flash: A leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation is now available worldwide.