"I'm not creative"

Picture by Taavi Tihkan

Picture by Taavi Tihkan

If you are one of those people who believe this about yourself, you might just find yourself working amongst robots in the coming years. While robots are cool, they are not so much fun to hang out with at the company summer retreat.

The World Economic Forum recently released their report on The Future of Jobs. They asked HR and Strategy officers what the most important skills will be in 2020.

The top 3: 1. Solving complex problems, 2. Critical thinking 3. Creativity.

So it seems pretty clear we need to stop shying away from being creative.

The good news? (Kind of...)
If you are one of these people thinking you are not creative, you are wrong. Well,  you are right to the extent that we all pretty much have the same creative potential. We are wired in pretty much the same way, meaning you have massive creative capacity.

The bad news? 
It's time to stop hiding behind the belief that creativity is some god given birthright reserved for a few lucky individuals. Sorry to say, but if you are not feeling creative, chances are...

You are not curious enough. 
You are not passionate enough. 
You are not bold enough. 
You don't open minded enough. 
You have not failed enough. 
You don't work hard enough.

Creativity is hard work. Creativity (often) involves dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, self-doubt, feelings of inferiority..pain. And then, you put your art out there for people to celebrate, or laugh at. It can be tough. But if you want to be creative, this is what you have to go through. 

Creativity takes vulnerability, because by nature, creative work is new, it is original. But most of all, creativity takes hard, gruelling work. The kind of work only very few people are prepared to do. And that's why most people don't think they are creative. They have never done it, been there.

We are at our most creative when we master something, when the knowledge and skill becomes one with who we are. We lose a sense of time and space, we are not mechanic and self-conscious, but rather fluid and fully engaged in the moment. We are guided by that deep inner voice of wisdom that whispers to us. Creativity is the prize we get for keeping at it until we get it right, for keeping at it when most people give in.

Sometimes we feel proud and on top of the world as a consequence of our creative effort. Sometimes we just feel like shit. But nevertheless, there is comfort in knowing that there is one worse feeling than failing at creativity. That the feeling of holding back because of our fears. That knowledge that we could be somewhere else in our lives, if it were not for our own limiting beliefs.

We all fear failing, but some of us just care less about what other think. Once you get over your fear, the world is different. Your possibilities are different. You become different. The world is yours to conquer. 

The future calls for creative problem solvers - people who can mix analytical and creative thinking, people who can frame the right problems to solve, then use their imagination to create something new, something valuable.

Luckily, we are all born with this ability. The future belongs to those who cultivate it. Talent is overrated. Greatness comes from practice and perseverance, fuelled by passion.