I have been thinking about the nature of creativity for years, but nothing has helped me understand the topic more than having a child. My daughter created fearlessly from the moment she could first hold a crayon. But, judging from the stacks of papers other parents took home with them from day care, she’s just as creative as the next kid. Watching her and her peers, it has become clear to me that creativity and the desire to create are innate. It is something we are all born with, but somehow, it gets beaten out of us so that as adults, we are much more hesitant to ask, “what if?” Her innate ability to create without hesitation is what Tom and David Kelley call “creative confidence.” As I suspected from watching my daughter, we are all born with it but can get buffeted by life enough that by the time we’re adults we believe that we never were creative, that we weren’t one of the lucky few who were born creative. Not true. We were all born artists, but over time, we lost our creative confidence in different ways.
So, what now? As the Kelley brothers describe, creativity is a muscle that can get as flabby as my abs. You just need a little exercise, or maybe even a little creative play. No matter how long it has been since you got a little creative exercise, that little girl or boy who mixed paint just to see what happened and then painted his or her hands is still in there. So the next time you begin a project, maybe don’t start with a pattern or a book, let your inner artist out to play a bit.