Did you know that this month, January, is International Creativity Month? I didn’t; in fact, I’ve never heard of this before. Its notification sort of came to my attention by accident while I was glancing over other “interesting facts” about January.
As I wanted to learn more, I found out that motivational speaker Randall Munson founded International Creativity Month to “remind individuals and organizations around the globe to capitalize on the power of creativity,” according to his web site.
I can understand why he designated January – the first month of the year provides an opportunity for us to take a fresh approach to problem-solving and renew confidence in our creative capabilities.
My only problem with that is why limit reminding ourselves of the power of creativity to just one month! We should be practicing this mindset all 12 months of the year, at the beginning of each month.
Why? Consider this:
As pointed out in a recent article on this subject, businessman and author Harvey Mackay, cites a study by the research firm Strategy One. The study discovers about 52 percent of Americans consider themselves creative, but only 39 percent of Americans feel they’re living up to their creative potential. That’s one finding from a survey of 5,000 adults in the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan (1,000 participants each).
To me, the percentages above are pretty dismal, especially in light of these stats:
• 85 percent of Americans feel that creativity is the key to driving economic growth.
• 82 percent feel that the US isn’t living up to its creative potential.
• 62 percent believe that our nation’s creativity is being stifled by our education system.
• 88 percent agree that everyone has the potential to be creative.
Time and money (no surprise) are the biggest obstacles, say Americans: 54 percent say lack of money prevents them from being creative, and 52 percent cite a lack of time. The lack of time conundrum is one that particularly irritates me.
Everyone is in a rush for brilliance; yet, the work won’t be brilliant (usually) because of a lack of time to do it. Particularly troubling is that clients tend to accept it anyway or they don’t understand why you didn’t have enough time or that the time frame was unrealistic in the first place! Most just don’t “get it.”
No matter how creative or wonderful we believe our idea to be, a great way to test how good and understandable it is, is to present it to an eight year old. If she doesn’t “get it,” you’ve not made yourself clear. Children are to be envied because of their unbridled creativity and imagination.
Then, as we grow into adults, we screw it all up. Pablo Picasso, one of the most creative artists who ever lived, said, “Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
One of my favorite inspirations comes from another notable thinker, Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel): “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”
Nurturing one’s creativity takes a lifetime. So does feeding that child inside all of us. We need to remind ourselves of that every day and every month, not just in January.