Five Myths about Creativity

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You’re not alone if you’ve ever had serious doubts about how to express yourself creatively. For the most part, we all have the potential to come up with an innovative idea or novel approach to certain concepts. Our imaginations, however, can sometimes be stifled by nagging myths that hold us back. These misconceptions are nothing but obstacles preventing us from showing our creative side, but they can be overcome. Here are the most common myths people hold about creativity and the reason you should ignore them.

1. Only Right-Brained People Can Be Creative

This mistaken concept says left-brained people are logical and analytical, while those right-brain dominant individuals are motivated by the imagination. The truth is that both sides are involved: our mental functions require the two hemispheres to work together. Creativity isn’t owned by one side of the brain, and it’s not a skill unique to people with a certain kind of brain.

2. Brainstorming Sessions Are the Best Way to Spark Creativity

Deference to the power of the brainstorm often results in a group of people sitting around a table, churning out ideas on a topic or how to solve a problem. The practice is extremely popular, even when it doesn’t amount to much. The process that has shown much more promise is giving people time to work on a problem alone, and then bringing everyone to the table. Group brainstorming to develop initial ideas, without allowing individual reflection first, is not as successful.

3. The Creative Moment “Hits” You, and You Go with It

We’d love to believe that the epiphany is a creative motivator, especially since it seems to not require much effort on our behalf. The concept doesn’t take into account that hard work and persistence play significant roles in the creative process. Coming up with an innovative solution to a problem isn’t a passive endeavor that you wait to emerge from your mind. The “aha” moment usually comes to those who spend a long time thinking about perspectives and weighing options.

4. Creative Types Are Loners

The notion that creatives are loners is not only false, but it’s also unhelpful. To suggest that creativity requires people to isolate themselves actually cuts them off from collaboration and the benefits to be gained from diverse mindsets. It’s the joining together of minds that sparks creativity, not time spent entirely alone.

5. You Need Motivation from Other Sources to Inspire Creativity

This myth suggests that creativity will be sparked by the promise of an incentive, like money or recognition. Essentially, people aren’t creative in their own right, but need some source of stimulation to trigger the imagination. Humans look at different factors, however, when applying themselves to a task. At times, they want to experience the personal satisfaction of a job done well. No amount of financial consideration can make up for satisfaction.

Can you think of other myths about creativity that have the tendency to hold people back? We’d love to hear what you think!

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on July 23, 2015. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing


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