If you Google the definition of creativity, you’ll get this: “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” This tracks with what most people think of when they think of creativity: being imaginative, unique, and artsy. But as someone who has worked in creative fields for years, and who is currently a creativity coach, I can tell you that this definition is too limited. It’s time to break free from that traditional definition and ask: what does creativity mean to you?
What creativity is (and what it isn’t)
It’s true: creativity is often used in the context of creating art. But creativity is not reserved for artists. It can be applied to practical tasks like budgeting, planning, and strategizing. It can be used for professional development and personal growth. There’s room for creative parenting, organization, and daily scheduling. Everyday tasks like cooking, gardening, or getting dressed can all benefit from creative thinking.
Creativity can’t be put into a box. Creative thinking isn’t reserved for artists, musicians, and actors. It is for everyone.
Finding out what creativity means to you
This is why it is important to find out what creativity means to you. Because it can be applied anywhere and in any number of situations, you have to know how you—personally—can use creativity to enrich and improve your life.
If you feel like you aren’t a creative person, or you’re not sure how to tap into your creative side, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here are ways to help you answer the question: “What does creativity mean to you?”
Think of pain points
What in your life isn’t going the way you want it to? Where do you feel unfulfilled or held back? These pain points are a great place to start when you are trying to figure out how creativity could work in your life.
Remember: creativity can help you work through your pain points and turn them into strengths. Facing and owning up to these pain points can hurt, but it is worth the work to reach a breakthrough.
Reflect on your creative past
When was a time in your life that you felt creative? What is the last creative thing you remember doing? Thinking about how creativity has served you in the past can help you develop a strategy for the future.
Feeling stuck? Think about what you liked to do when you were 10. Children are more naturally creative, and your childlike sense of wonder was likely intact at 10 years old. How did you spend your time? How did you express yourself creatively?
Realize that you already use creative thinking
Many of my coaching clients come to me thinking they aren’t creative at all, but after a conversation or two, they realize that they use creative thinking on a regular basis. We all do.
Creativity is what allows us to work through problems. It helps us handle unprecedented situations, or can help us improve our everyday routines. Every time you make a change in your life, you are exercising your creative power.
Write a definition
I would encourage you to use the data you’ve collected now—your pain points, your creative past, and your current creativity—to write a definition for creativity that is unique to you. What does creativity mean to you? How does it apply to your life? Or, how do you want it to apply to your life?
Keep in mind that this definition isn’t set in stone (nothing is). You can change it as many times as you want, but it’s important to start somewhere. Write something down, keep it in mind, and perfect it as time goes on. This will help you use creativity more deliberately as you apply it to your specific needs and wants.
What creativity could mean for you
As you are deciding what creativity means to you, it might be helpful to see some ideas of what it could mean. In my decades of creative work, I have seen creativity mean many different things to many different people. It might mean:
Creativity opens your mind to new possibilities and ways of thinking. As you break out of your learned thought patterns, you will better understand other viewpoints, think more clearly and objectively, and explore ideas you never would have explored before. Creativity and curiosity go hand in hand, and the more curious you are, the more you will learn.
I can’t tell you how many people I have seen improve professionally because of a renewed commitment to creativity. Businesses grow, careers advance—or pivot—for the better, and dreams become reality. One of the big reasons for this is that creativity makes people more open to taking risks. It helps them overcome their fears and go for it, in spite of hesitations they might have had in the past. It opens doors of opportunity.
Everyone wants to have better relationships with those they love. We want to be loved, supported, and accepted, and we want the people we love to feel the same way. There are many ways creativity can help you do this. It could help you renew a spark in a romantic relationship. It could help you create more meaningful moments with your kids. Or it could help you be more in touch with your emotions so that you can better express them and use them to your advantage.
Creative people are happier. They have a stronger sense of purpose. They experience more peace and fulfillment. You don’t have to become an artist. Use creativity in a way that works for you. Even small acts of creativity in everyday life can boost your overall sense of wellbeing.
What does creativity mean to you? Does it mean a stronger sense of self? Better relationships? A more promising career path? Does it mean you will finally feel like your life is full of joy and meaning and purpose? Whatever you want to get out of a creative life, you can get it. If you’re committed to expanding and embracing your creativity, you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of having.
If you google the definition of creativity, you’ll get this: “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” This tracks pretty well with what most people think of when they think of creativity—that is, being imaginative, unique, and artsy. But as someone who has worked in creative fields for years, and who is currently a creativity coach, I can tell you that this definition is far too limited. It’s time to break free from that traditional definition and ask: what does creativity mean to you?
Find out how creativity can work for you.
More creativity can help you reach your goals and become the person you want to be. We can help. Start by taking our free assessment today!