One of the worst sentences I’ve heard different people consistently say is, “I’m not creative.”
The reason they aren’t creative is because they haven’t tried to be creative. Everyone has the ability to be creative. I can’t speak Hungarian, but I’ve also never tried to learn and speak Hungarian. Talent and skills are rarely, if ever, fixed.
Here is a list of things off the top of my head that can be learned with concentrated effort and practice:
– Dramatically improve your drawing skills in a few weeks.
– Be creative.
– Play Stairway To Heaven on guitar.
– Have a conversation in a 2nd language.
– Build a website.
– Learn how to code and build your own app.
– Write a daily blog.
– Perform 3 minutes of stand-up comedy at an open mic.
– Become a profitable mid-stakes poker player.
– Create a mash-up.
– Cook dinner every night.
…and on and on. Whenever you hear yourself saying, “I wish I could ____” follow that up with another question: What is stopping me from _____?
It’s probably not that you can’t learn how to do something. It’s more likely you haven’t really tried. Of course, you can’t learn everything you want, but that doesn’t excuse you to learn nothing.
There are two ways you can see skills and talents – as something you can develop and grow or as fixed states that people are born with.
Operating as though talent can be developed enables you with the power to create your own future. It’s not a matter of if you can do something, it’s more so if you want to do it.
Believing your skills exist in a fixed state is liberating. Seriously. Living your life under the impression your skills and abilities are fixed gives you freedom from the burden of owing society great work. Thinking your skills are fixed gives you a permanent alibi. Because of the Cage of the Mind, you don’t owe society great work because your skills don’t allow you to. Your work is confined to your mental prison.
But fixed states are not reality. Almost everything is slowly getting better or getting worse. You don’t have to look far to see examples of people who went from amateurs to experts in just about anything. It just takes focused effort and deliberate practice.
Be creative. Or Don’t. But don’t use lack innate skill as an excuse when lack of effort is to blame.