Creativity - can it be learned?

Where does creativity really come from?

In my latest novel, ‘The Dream Killer‘, Sarina and Nathan must battle to rescue the world from being doomed to a rapidly deteriorating ‘lack of intelligence’.

While you might think we already have that problem (I might just agree with you too!), it raises the question:

“Where does creativity really come from?”

Is it innate? (As in: We’re born with it, and you naturally have it … or not)

Or can creativity and innovation be learned? (In other words, our lives and mental abilities can be honed and shaped by our experiences, our teachers and other social influences)

I tend to side with the latter, with a nod of the head to the idea that some genetics could play a heavy role in the malleability and receptiveness to creativity training.

A great testimony to this idea is encapsulated in Matthew Syed’s wonderful book, “Bounce“.

In it, he deftly illustrates, with example after example, of where high performance stemmed from ‘purposeful practice’ and not as a ‘gift from birth’.

Though many of the examples are drawn from the world of sport (including Matthew’s own world-champion table-tennis story), one or two in particular demonstrate that our minds clearly benefit dramatically from purposeful practice (there’s a stunning story about the development of female chess champions!).

What is ‘Purposeful Practice’?

Purposeful practice is the frequent, routine application of skill development, coupled with close mentoring with someone who is able to coach the areas needing development.

There is little point in practicing mistakes over and over (which cautions us as to why any practice of a skill without purposeful intent is possibly worse than no practice at all!), but it’s not enough to know what to practice, you need to┬áimmerse yourself fully in the desired environment, along with closely-coupled mentors who can observe and advise with precision.

Put all of that into place – and yes, I believe anyone can ‘learn’ to be creative!

You’ll just need to find the hours in the day ­čÖé

What do YOU want to get better at?

What purposeful practice can you incorporate?

I’d love to hear your comments!