I have learned some surprising things about the world’s attitude to creativity while working through the test phase of my creativity training workshops and presentations.
The biggest surprise is that many people still only think of art when they think about the term creativity. Linked to this is that many, many more people than I imagined consider creativity to be a form of magic: completely unexplainable and undefinable.
While a comprehensive definition of creativity that everyone agrees on does not in fact exist, there are several working options… it is not a foreign concept.
But the really big kicker is the link to mental health. There is a deeply and widely held bias against being creative as many people believe it is linked to poor mental health. You’ve heard the saying, ‘There is a fine line between genius and insanity.’
Truth is, the psychological research that has been done in this area is far from conclusive and in fact opens up more questions rather than confirming that all creatives are some kind of crazy.
Rather, the opposite appears to be true: being creative makes you happy and better able to deal with trauma and mental issues. Not in every single case of course, because everyone is different, but the skills required to think creatively are also helpful for emotional and psychological healing. There is a concrete reason why recovering addicts are encouraged to write their stories…. You can check out these articles here and here:
It also seems that those most in need of some creative activation: vast, slow-moving companies, are also those that are least likely to engage in doing anything about it. There are just too big, too centralised, to data-heavy, to get into the idea of allowing the sort of free-thinking that creativity is associated with.
The good news is of course that individuals within these organisations can activate themselves and start to affect that change from within their own spheres of influence, but it’s still depressing to note that the sheer weight and momentum of these entities can get in the way of their own progress so badly.
The result of these learnings is, majorly, that I need to change the way I am talking about creativity somewhat, in order to overcome some of these initial resistance points.
It’s also clearly important to talk about self-empowerment and agency, rather than improvement, creativity and genius.
But what remains true is that the workshop process is a powerful setting for people to experience something different to what they believe about themselves and creativity, and leads to some powerful revelations.