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“You guys can handle that part,” says a friend in one of my many group projects in college. “I’m not creative.”
At the time, my friend (I’ll call her Jo for this story) was referring to the creatives work we’d need to do for our project’s final output. In my university, that usually meant a Keynote presentation.
But for some reason, hearing Jo – and honestly, hearing anyone – tell me they “aren’t creative” really strikes a chord in me. So with almost misplaced fire and passion, I remember turning to my friend and telling her, “No. You are creative. Everyone is.”
I got laughs and giggles at the time. Mostly because these are my friends who know about my random bursts of passion-induced monologues. But that time, I really meant it. I really meant that everyone is creative. No, it wasn’t some fluff of assurance that you’d tell any friend who admits her insecurities.
I, the crazy passionate believer that I am, believes everyone – no ands, ifs, or buts – is a creative.
Because “creative” isn’t a black-or-white measure
I’d be lying if I said the first time I heard anyone say they weren’t creative was when my friend Jo said it.
All through college, I stuck by my choice of studying to becoming a media and entertainment manager. If anything, maybe my degree is one of the first in my business-oriented university to put the spotlight on creative work. “We’re learning both the art, and the business of art” is what I liked to remind myself.
So while my classmates were predominantly a hybrid of these creative souls that lived, breathed, and ate film, music, and art – churning passion project after passion project on their preferred medium – being in a university that had a reputation for being a business school made you meet people on the other side of the spectrum. Other side, not meaning they didn’t have one creative bone in their body. But other side, meaning they thought they didn’t have a creative bone in their body.
The stereotype joke we pass around about my college, Communications, is: “I hate math. That’s why I chose Comm.”
I know it’s a joke. But if you think about it: does that mean everyone who doesn’t choose Comm likes math?
Of course not. And there are people who take up communications courses and are crazy about math. (I’m personally a Communications student that loves making logic and math magic on programs like Excel – things a lot of my “math-hating” friends would cringe away from in a heartbeat).
And that leads me to my first point: creativity isn’t black or white. It isn’t some them-versus-us measure. If anything, creativity shouldn’t be a measure at all.
Who’s to say Person A is more creative than Person B anyway?
Because creativity is personal
Bringing back my friend Jo, I know all she meant that time was she wasn’t “creative” when it came to Keynote presentations. But if she’d said that in any other context, in any other conversation, I still would have said the same thing.
“You are a creative. Everyone is.”
Because I know my friend, I know that, yes, her forté isn’t in Keynote presentation designs. But you know what is her forté? Writing.
That girl could churn out a blog post, an article, and even a screenplay if you asked her. So if she wasn’t the go-to person for a Keynote deck, then she’d totally be the go-to person for a Keynote script.
I have another friend, a fellow dancer, who claims the only drawing she’s ever done in her life is of stick figures. But give her a pair of pointes, and she moves just like Odette from Swan Lake.
Creativity is a personal thing. It doesn’t refer to just one art, one medium. It also doesn’t just refer to art either.
I know people who are so good at marketing and sales that, even though they tell me their blog and social media graphics are the work of a freelance designer, their stuff still sells. And it’s not because they’re writers either. It’s because their creative genius is just in hitting all the right spots to sell to their prospects.
But I know. I know even after claiming everyone is a creative and that creativity is a personal thing, there might still be some of you that aren’t convinced.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have anything that makes me creative. I can’t write, draw, paint, dance, sing, play instruments, do sports, design campaigns… I’ve watched all my other creative friends, I’ve seen all the creativity TED talks. I just don’t have anything to show you that I’m creative.”
So if all I’ve said above can’t persuade you, I hope this last note does.
Just think back to what you liked doing when you were a kid
When you were about ten years old, what did you like doing?
When I was ten, I was dancing and writing – two things I still enjoy and swear by to this day. While I was also grew to love other things as I got a little older (like getting my hands dirty in pencil sketches or rocking it out in band practice), nothing compared to the joy I got when I was in the dance studio doing ballet or when I was in my room writing heaven-knew-what.
I don’t think you’ll find anyone who didn’t have some kind of creative outlet when they were a kid. Growing up, no matter how smart we were or how many friends we had, was a world of learning and creating. Just think back to your childhood: wasn’t there anything you loved doing – anything at all – when you were little?
That thing can be anything from reciting poems to role-playing games to making the perfect paper plane.
So what should you do with your creativity?
I’m a firm believer that everyone should start a passion project. Whether it’s a passion project you do on the side just for fun or something you really want to turn into a profitable side hustle, you gain so much from being creative. And even if you aren’t the best at what you do, so what? That’s the challenge, isn’t it?
Whatever you are, try to be a good one.William Makepeace Thackeray
If you want to make some extra income doing creative work that you love, you might want to consider taking my mini-course on how to start a successful and profitable side hustle. This course is completely free too!
You’ll get bite-sized – and more importantly, actionable – lessons and worksheets to go from creative idea to profitable side hustle.
Just click the button below to take the 5-Step Passion to Profit Challenge!
Leave me a comment:
What did you like doing when you were a kid? Do you agree that everyone is a creative? I’d love to hear from you!
Mica is the face behind everything you see at her blog, Mind of Mica. She champions the goal-getters, the dream-chasers, and the unapologetic hustlers who are out to make a difference – even if it’s in their own lives.