The Confusion with Creativity

Posted On: 13 November 2016

So, here's the thing....

You know when people say "I'm not good at math!"? Well, what they REALLY mean (probably) is "I'm not good at arithmetic". And because most people think that math and arithmetic are the same thing, they think that if they need to count on their fingers to subtract 8 from 13, it means they are not good at math. So untrue. Or at least, not necessarily true. 

If you have to figure out a way to get a big object through a small doorway, you have to use mathematics. If you have to plan a dinner and you have to make sure everything happens in the right order, you are using mathematics. Math is all about theories, sequencing, relationships between shapes, sizes, and yes, numbers. So, there MAY be arithmetic involved in your math. You can argue and say that there are numbers in everything (very true), but if you have to use your fingers or a calculator to figure out the number part, that is separate from being able to figure out the mathematics part.

Where is this going, you may ask? 

The same theory applies to creativity and artistry. So often, I meet people who think that, because they cannot draw, or compose music, or write a novel, that they are not creative. I was one of those people, actually. I figured that since I only play music that was written by someone else, I am not creative. And I can't draw. At all.

People who are not able to create an original piece of art may still be very creative. Innovative ways of thinking, teaching, planning, problem-solving, and decision-making are all creative skills. Actually, if we look at most of the definitions of creativity as espoused by many, many people who are much (much) smarter than I, then creativity leads to a useful, innovative solution to a problem. Which is far from having the ability to draw, paint, or compose. Unless, of course, the drawing or painting, or composition is part of a solution to a problem. 

Just some thoughts to ponder...