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  • Writer's pictureMarieli Aixa De J. Gordils

Creativity, A Skill Everyone Can Pursue

When it comes to art, we’ve all enjoyed many aspects of its vast world. We’ve read books that blew us away, heard music that made us cry, or even deeply stared at paintings in awe.

Regarding the beauty and creativity of so many artists, I’m willing to bet we all have the same thought when we see something impressive - “wow, I wish I could do that.”

When I was studying journalism and even when I started working in writing, I struggled heavily with being creative and coming up with compelling ideas. I constantly wanted to bring to the world a fantastic concept, something that would be impactful and productive, yet innovative and representative of my skill. I wanted to reach for the stars, yet I always felt limited thinking that I wasn’t creative enough.

For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t one of the lucky ones that were naturally creative, that I was one of the unlucky that had to put in work to make creativity seem effortless.

I eventually learned that, in fact, everyone has to work for their creativity. It’s not a skill we’re born with. It depends on constant practice, knowledge and active mental control.

But, isn’t that thought so rewarding? Anyone can strive to be creative, anyone can train their mind and their eye to come up with wonderful new ideas and ways to do things.

According to The Creative Brain, a paper published by the director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity Lab at Pennsylvania State University, Roger E Beaty, tests conducted by psychologists proved that creativity does stem from certain areas in your brain, and it depends on knowledge, information, memories, mental control, and even feelings to exist.

A past study that tasked visual artists with creating a book cover based on a short description, confirmed that the hippocampus, the part in our brain that allows us to remember the past and imagine the future, is activated during the idea generation process as part of a control network. They also found it activated when illustrators critiqued their work. All this suggests that, and I quote, «creative thinking involves increased communication between brain networks that usually work separately.»

A different study focused on the ability of jazz musicians to improvise to prove whether creativity originates from the right hemisphere (the perceptive and creative side) or the left hemisphere (the logical, analytical side).

This study concluded that novice players depend more on the right side of the brain because, since they have less skill, they need to be able to think on their feet and craft as they go. In comparison, seasoned musicians pull their improvisation skills from their left hemisphere, because they have extensive improvisation experience through practice and knowledge.

This study also reaffirms that besides the ability to come up with new ideas, creativity is also the ability to face the unexpected and work with it.

So not only is creativity based on the ability to combine thought processes that stem from past experiences, acquired knowledge, feelings and memory, it’s a skill we practice through active thinking. Both of these studies are a fascinating look into the mechanics of the mind, and the entirely achievable potential of creative thinking. I highly recommend reading them.

Good ideas can come from anyone who puts in the time to exercise their creative ability, and it’s definitely not an innate skill that some possess and others do not. It all comes down to one's willingness to learn and evolve their thinking.


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