[This is a three-part miniseries about creativity. Check back next week for part two or subscribe to listen in.]
According to some, creativity is like a photogenic face: everyone else has it — except you. If you weren’t born with it, tough luck. Grow a beard to cover up that scowl.
I disagree. And so does history. Few men are born genius. Most must try, try again until the idea finally takes and bit by bit the pieces come together. This is how most ideas are born.
If you struggle with a lack of creativity, I would first recommend you be humble about it. And I don’t mean humblebrag. Stop bemoaning your lack of imagination. Instead, honestly realize that you are not the next Newton, Einstein or Steve Jobs. And be ok with that.
Humility allows us to find our footing. It gives us our starting point. If you aren’t the next Stephen King, then don’t feel pressured to write a novel just yet. Write small stories. Poems. Children’s books. Let your reality dictate your first steps. If you don’t have an awesome camera, use what you do have. A silly point-and-shoot. A cheap Kodak throwaway. Your iPhone camera.
Certainly, dream big. Aim for the moon. Plan for wonder. But notice how races are set up: everyone starts together. On the same line, side by side. There’s little applause at the starting line, and no medals. Be humble enough to be counted among the guys who — shoulder to shoulder — are starting out alongside you.
Humbly admit your weakness and humbly list your strengths. Don’t shout them from the rooftops. Coax them in silence. Start small. Find your bearings, discover what is at hand. The most amazing creativity can spring from the commonplace. Yet too often we discard what is commonplace because it’s not “creative enough”.
To think out of the box, you must first discover which box you’re in.
It’s worth recognizing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. - Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes via brainpickings.org