Many of us -- gifted kids and gifted adults -- are often described as highly creative. I’ve often thought that if there were a chemical formula for creativity, it would be F2OE -- fluency (with ideas), flexibility (with ideas), originality (of those ideas), and elaboration (of those ideas). But where, exactly, do those ideas come from? And how can we (as parents, teachers, colleagues, and friends) enhance creativity in ourselves and others?
Recently I was reading an article, “Picasso on Intuition, How Creativity Works, and Where Ideas Come From.” in BrainPickings. The article begins with this quote from Picasso, “To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin to draw.” It shares multiple examples of creative individuals who credit their amazing creativity to simply showing up and beginning. They do not wait for the muse to strike; they do not worry about “blocks” of any kind. They simply begin. One idea leads to another, the process is fluid and fallible, and failure is part of the creation. Creativity, for them, is overcoming fear -- to release possibility. What a novel idea!
Picasso further debunks the myth of the creative block with this quote, “Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”
After reading Picasso’s perspective, I began to wonder if freeing ourselves from paralyzing perfectionism (a trait often found in gifted individuals) might be the first step in releasing creativity? Simply showing up and beginning, wallowing in the messiness, celebrating opportunities to fail and learn, and rejoicing in the fact that we may amaze ourselves without having to figure it all out perfectly before we begin -- these might be the secrets to creativity.
What about you? What’s your perspective on creativity? How do we find it? How do we nurture it? How do we help others find it, and grow it in themselves?
Past President - WATG