Whether it’s approaching a problem or coming up with a new idea, creativity plays an important role in our lives.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing why creativity is important in life.
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
What is Creativity?
Creativity can be defined as the use of your mind, imagination, and experiences to create something new. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.
Oftentimes, this newly created item is also referred to as an “innovation.”
Think of Facebook, Tesla cars, and the iPhone as innovations in our modern era.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein
Being an artist and a marketer, I have found that having a creative edge has allowed me to not only produce works that I am proud of, but it has also allowed me to think of creative marketing strategies to drive more revenue for the business.
Creativity is not just important for art, but also for life, business, and relationships.
Is Creativity a Skill?
Creativity is a skill and trait that most of us possess when we are born.
It is a myth that creativity is a gift that only a few select are born with.
In 1968, George Land conducted a research study that is now known as the Creativity Test.
The test essentially showed that creativity is not learned, but rather unlearned.
Land tested children from ages 3 to 5 and used the same creativity test he used to select scientists and innovative engineers for NASA.
George Land tested the same children at 10 and then again at 15 and here were the results:
- 98% (5 years old)
- 30% (10 years old)
- 12% (15 years old)
- 2% (280,000 adults)
The creativity in 5 years olds was 98%, when they reached 10 years old it went down to 30%. When they were tested at 15 years old, it was 12%. The same test was also given to 280,000 adults and the creativity score was around 2%.
Why did Creativity Drop so Much?
In terms of why creativity drops so much as we become adults, many claim that our school systems kill creativity, daydreaming, and imperfection.
With this in mind, it’s becoming even more important that we are cognizant of this fact and that we actively engage and seek out practices in our life that can help boost our creativity. We’ll be touching on some later.
Why is There a Need to be Creative?
The need for creativity is not only important for yourself, but important for the world as well.
Creativity and Innovation
Creativity and innovation often go hand-in-hand. You often need to be creative in order to be innovative.
Creativity can help boost your life in terms of the relationships you foster, the businesses you are a part of, and the way you look at education.
If you can use your creative energy to create an innovative product or introduce an innovative new system into a business, you can positively affect those around you.
Looking specifically at creative individuals who were able to make innovative products such as the ones mentioned in the beginning. Their sole contributions to society have been able to positively affect the quality of life for so many people.
Just look at some of the innovations such as Uber, AirBnB, Amazon, Google, etc. Think of how these innovations have improved people’s quality of life.
12 Reasons Why Creativity is Important
Now that we’ve touched on some methods to be more creative, let’s dive into why creativity is important.
1. Let’s you see big picture
Why is Creativity Important in Life?
Creativity in life is important because it lets you see the bigger picture.
As mentioned earlier, being creative can help you break patterns.
By breaking patterns, you can see the big picture and not get bogged down in the details.
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”
2. Keeps things fresh
Similar to seeing the big picture, creativity helps keep things fresh.
A passion that you once had could turn into a monotonous task that you have to do every day.
Creativity lets you spice things up and keeps you feeling energized and invigorated when it comes to approaching the task.
3. Keeps the mind active
Creativity keeps the mind active and more productive.
Since a big part of creativity is constant thinking and connecting ideas with one another, your mind is constantly active.
The benefit to creativity is that there has even been some research that shows that creativity in older people is associated with reduced dementia.
4. Builds confidence
When you think creatively and overcome a challenge in front of you with a creative solution, not only do you gain a little dopamine hit, but you also gain confidence.
This confidence lets you tackle a bigger challenge and it snowballs from there.
5. Reduces stress
Thinking creatively has also been shown to reduce stress.
Thinking and engaging in creative activities produce a similar effect on your brain as meditation does.
By being creative, one can often achieve a flow state which will allow them to lose themselves in an activity whether it be writing, painting, baking, etc.
6. Can help you succeed in business
How Important is Creativity in Business?
As you can imagine, creativity is important in the business world.
As mentioned earlier, an innovative service or product is often the result of creative thinking.
Most often, these innovative services or products provide great value to users resulting in disruptive and positive results.
Think of innovative products or services such as Uber, AirBnB, Apple, etc.
Think of business as an even playing field, those who know the playing field and can introduce a creative solution, strategy, and process are the ones who often succeed.
7. Can help you build lasting relationships
Similar to how creativity can help in business, it can also help you build lasting relationships.
You can apply the same creative process and thinking to your relationships just as you do your business.
Having trouble spending time with a loved one because you are so busy? How about instead of dinner dates you try a breakfast date every once in a while.
Having trouble staying in touch with friends? How about thinking creatively to come up with a process to stay connected such as Zoom hangouts every once in a while.
8. Allows you to have a different perspective on life
By approaching things and finding solutions to problems from different angles, it will allow you to have a different perspective on life.
Instead of staring ahead at your life as a single path/road to your ultimate destination, you will start to see the side roads, bridges, and back alleys.
9. Can bring people together
Creativity can also bring people together.
Thinking creatively can be a solo act, however, it can also be done as a group.
Have you ever heard of think tanks?
Within these think tanks, it is their profession to read, write, research, discuss, and think about topics that are important to the common good.
Within top companies, they also have dedicated thinking groups or pods where they take time to come up with creative ideas and solutions to a problem.
When it comes to the creative act itself, think of art classes, groups, and bands where a collective group of creatives can join and share a common experience and sense of belonging.
10. Can change perspective on education
Why is Creativity Important in Education?
As mentioned earlier, a method to increase creativity is by combining and building upon existing ideas.
But it is only when you continue to learn by reading, watching educational videos, or listening to educational podcasts or interviews, that you can learn new ideas and concepts.
Learning is the foundation of creativity.
Creativity allows you to have a different outlook on education. Instead of seeing education in a bad light of quizzes and tests on subjects that have no relevance, see education as a building block of ideas.
These ideas will then serve you when it comes time to think creatively.
11. Allows for self expression
Creativity allows for self expression.
The need to express ourselves is a fundamental part of human life.
If we don’t express ourselves, we actually repress parts of who we are which can cause lasting mental and emotional pain.
12. Can help you live longer
Being creative can actually help you live longer.
As mentioned, creativity can help reduce stress, which can result in health benefits.
Creativity also leads to openness.
A study in the Journal of Aging and Health found that higher openness predicted longer life, and other studies have also linked that trait with lower metabolic risk, higher self-rated health and more appropriate stress response.
How to Be More Creative?
Now that we’ve touched up the definition of creativity, the skill of creativity, and why there’s a need to be creative, let’s dive into steps you can take to be more creative.
So how do you be more creative? A big question.
As mentioned earlier, a broad definition of creativity is the use of your mind, imagination, and experiences to create something new – either tangible or intangible.
Let’s break it down into its components.
It’s using your “mind, imagination, and experiences.”
Remember this phrase as we dive into some methods we can use to be more creative.
1. Break a Pattern
When in a creative rut, either I can’t come up with new photography/art concepts or I can’t think of ideas for articles, I find myself just sitting there either staring at the camera or the empty word document.
Oftentimes, I need to break the pattern in order to see things from a different angle.
We often do things over and over causing repetition.
While this is by no means bad for increasing one’s skill or ability (it’s called practice), it can hinder an ability to think creatively when it is called for.
If you find yourself having trouble thinking creatively, try breaking a pattern. Look at things from a different angle, this could be physically or mentally.
For example, if you are writing something, try breaking a pattern and writing your work in a different location.
For example, if you are trying to come up with a different idea think about it from a different angle.
Break each component down into its most simple component and then analyze each component individually.
For example, just like this blog you are reading. We are analyzing how to be more creative and have decided to break it down into its components.
2. Take Time for Self-Thinking
Bill Gates is also a big proponent of a “think week” in which he takes a whole week off to think about new creative and innovative ideas.
It is when we step away from the activity, that it seems outside influences, our imagination, and experiences flood our mind and make a connection between our current activity and current knowledge.
3. Turn to Nature
When in a creative rut, I often find myself turning to nature for inspiration. Going on a walk to clear my head and think things through and then BAM, the idea comes to me.
Why does this occur?
Turning to nature and observing and analyzing nature’s forms can yield a wealth of practical and useful building blocks.
A study in 2012 addressed the effect of time spent in nature on higher-level tasks of the creative intellect, such as problem-solving.
The study was titled “Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings” led by David Strayer.
He tested 56 participants with a series of creative thinking tests. Half were tested before a four to six day backpacking trip into the wildernesses of Alaska, Colorado, or Main and the other half took the test 4 days into their trip.
Those who took the test 4 days into their trip did better by about 50%!
The result — there is a cognitive advantage to spending time away from the daily technologies of life and in a natural setting.
But you don’t have to take a wilderness trip in Alaska just to see these benefits.
A study in 2013 published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that walking in a park or green space for as little as 25 minutes can provide a boost in cognitive function.
~ Be right back, going to go for a walk…
So how do you be more creative other than taking a break to step away from your work when in a rut? I believe it’s to continue learning and being an “infinite learner.”
4. Being an Infinite Learner
When trying to solve a problem and come up with a creative solution, instead of replicating and regurgitating an existing solution, try approaching by making connections through analogies, metaphors, and associations.
Combine ideas in new ways.
Build ideas on top of each other.
The only way we can continue to learn different ideas that will allow us to build and combine them, we need to be an “infinite learner.”
An infinite learner is someone who is constantly learning.
This can be through reading, watching educational videos, or listening to educational podcasts.
It is only when we learn new things, that we can have a plethora of ideas to build and combine on top of each other.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on creativity.
Now it’s important that you take action.
Feeling in a creative rut or do you want to boost your creative potential? Reflect on the studies and findings in this article and implement some creative methods into your own life.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate runs his own professional photography business called Nate Torres Photography. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.