15-09-2021 | Empowerment | GraceStation Press
Creative thinking requires our brains to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. Is this a skill that we are born with or one that we develop through practice? Let's look at the research to uncover an answer.
In the 1960s, a creative performance researcher named George Land conducted a study of 1,600 five-year-olds and 98 percent of the children scored in the “highly creative” range. Dr Land re-tested each subject during five-year increments. When the same children were 10-years-old, only 30 percent scored in the highly creative range. This number dropped to 12 percent by age 15 and just 2 percent by age 25. As the children grew into adults they effectively had the creativity trained out of them. In the words of Dr Land, “non-creative behaviour is learned.”
All of this to say, claiming that “I'm just not the creative type” is a pretty weak excuse for avoiding creative thinking. Certainly, some people are primed to be more creative than others. However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.
How can we apply the growth mind-set to creativity in practical terms? In my experience, it comes down to one thing: the willingness to look bad when pursuing an activity.
As Dweck says, the growth mind-set is focused more on the process than the outcome. This is easy to accept in theory, but very hard to stick to, in practice. Most people don't want to deal with the accompanying embarrassment or shame that is often required to learn a new skill.
The list of mistakes that you can never recover from is very short. I believe most of us realize this on some level. We know that our lives will not be destroyed if that book we write doesn't sell or if we get turned down by a potential date or if we forget someone's name when we introduce them. It's not necessarily what comes after the event that worries us. It's the possibility of looking stupid, feeling humiliated, or dealing with embarrassment along the way that prevents us from getting started at all.
In order to fully embrace the growth mind-set and enhance your creativity, you need to be willing to take action in the face of these feelings which so often deter us.