Hey Creative Friends, There’s this aged long debate about whether creativity is a talent(something you’re born with) or a skill (something you learn). I think that framing the question that way as two mutually exclusive options is why this debate is never satisfactorily put to rest.
We, as humans often like to have this clear cut solution to issues. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work that way. Things turn out to be more nuanced than that.
When it comes to the origin of creativity- answering it as either this or that leads to a specific set of conclusions which inform us on how to behave with creativity.
What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
The Effortless Mindset
When we think that creativity is a talent or gift that you either have or don’t have, your approach to that “gift” is hands-off. In other words, you conclude that you’ll be able to be creative no matter what. You don’t need to do anything to make your gift flourish. It’s been wrapped and delivered to you and that’s the end of that story. You’ve just got to enjoy it. This hands-off idea leads to what I term the “effortless mindset” to creativity.
When you think that creativity is a gift that you either have or don’t have, what happens is that you have the mindset that you can create masterpieces effortlessly.
The Effort & Time Mindset
On the other hand, when you think that creativity is a skill that you cultivate through learning and practice, you have the “effort and time mindset” to creativity.
These two mindsets are totally different and they not only make people think differently, they make them get different results when it comes to their creativity.
Personally, I believe that creativity is not a question of either or. It’s not whether you’re gifted or you’re not. It’s a little bit of both. I believe creativity is a gift that you cultivate. This belief system leads to a totally different approach to creativity and thus a different set of possibilities.
Creativity is a gift that you cultivate.Clara Nartey
What do I mean by that? Let’s dig deeper.
Everyone has a spark or little seed of creativity inside of them. There are different and unique gifts hidden on the inside of all of us. Each one different from the other. I believe these are “gifts” because they’re things for us to enjoy. Also, each of us tends to be inclined to do certain things more easily than others. And that’s where the “unique gifts” or natural tendencies come in.
However, those gifts do not turn into masterful skill sets or abilities by themselves.
Giftedness does not naturally lead to masteryClara Nartey
Let’s think of these gifts as sparks. For a spark to turn into a flame, you need to apply some effort to it – fan the spark to get it going. That requires both effort and time. If we look at this gift/talent as a seed, it works the same way. When you plant your flower seeds you need to water, turn the soil, feed it, till it blooms. In this case, it also requires time and effort.
Effect of Your Creativity Mindset
When you have the Effort and Time Mindset, you take the long game approach. You don’t chalk failures to lack of talent. Rather, you understand that you need time and effort to see the results you want.
The way you apply time and effort to your creativity is by practicing. You’ve got to make time to explore, experiment, and express your creativity.
You need time on two different levels for this to happen.
- Time to apply effort – that is time to explore, experiment and express yourself
- Time to see progress – that is time for your efforts to bear fruit. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Meanwhile, when you have the Effortless Mindset, you expect to be able to do things easily without much effort. When you’re working with your unique gifts, initially that may well be the case, because of your natural inclinations. However, to gain mastery, you’ll need to go beyond that.
What the effortless mindset does though is that, when you encounter difficulties, they tend to frustrate you and make it likely that you’ll give up as a result. Or if you choose to hang in there and keep trying, you’re frequently hard on yourself. You see others creating awesome things and you conclude that you’re not as talented as they are. You see, our beliefs, mindsets, and expectations affect our creative results.
There you have it, two different creativity mindsets that impact the way your creativity plays out in your individual life.
Your creativity mindset determines your approach to applying time and effort. Secondly, your time management skills determine how much time you have so that you can apply effort and see results.
That’s it for now.