Most of my life, I’ve been pegged as an introverted, left brain, analytical robot. Nobody called me a robot, but I interpreted the things people identified me with as robotic characteristics. And I didn’t like that…at all. At a young age, I began to dislike who I was in my own skin.
What was really going on in my mind was envy. I saw other people that were “creative,” and I wanted to be like them. But according to how people identified me, I wasn’t creative. Being labeled left-brained persuaded me to believe that I was incapable of being creative.
In our culture, we tend to identify certain things as “creative” and others as “not creative.” When I thought of the word “creative,” I tended to think of lots of color and people that took photographs or could illustrate really well. But I think that view is far too narrow. In fact, by the end of this, I hope you see as I do — that all things can be creative.
The root issue of all of this, in my humble opinion, is our culture’s fascination and obsession with reductionism. We love to separate things into their simplest forms to help us “explain” things better. But we forget that things like brains don’t operate separately, but as a system — as a whole. So when we identify people based on whether they are left-brained or right-brained, we’re putting people in a box they were never meant to be in.
Is it true that we have strengths in certain areas and not in others? Of course! But I think our definition of what is and isn’t creative needs to change.
According to the dictionary, the definition of creative is “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work…” but not ONLY in artistic work.
To be creative means you create.
Is shooting a cool photograph with great composition and lighting creative? We’d all agree, yes.
But can an accountant be creative? Yes, and in ways many of us can’t understand.
Are moms creative? Absolutely they are.
Are college students creative? You betcha. (Five bucks and a week before payday? Watch the magic happen.)
The way I see it, if you’re making a solution for a problem, you’re being creative. That problem could be a broken heart that has to be expressed through writing a song, or it could be a plumber trying to figure out how you clogged that toilet. Creating, in many ways, is the act of making something better.
And you do that with both sides of your brain.