Creativity is a fascinating and important subject for anyone to study. Understanding how people tap into their creative powers and why some are better than others is quite interesting. Nancy C. Andreasen is a very qualified person to address this topic. In addition to a PhD in English literature, she later switched careers and earned an MD with a residency in psychiatry. In the current edition of The Atlantic, Andreasen writes on “Secrets of the Creative Brain” (July/August 2014, pp. 62–75). In exploring creativity, Andreasen reflects on the somewhat humorous nature of creative people’s self-awareness—or lack thereof—when it comes to their own giftedness:
“I’ve been struck by how many [creative people] refer to their most creative ideas as ‘obvious.’ Since these ideas are almost always the opposite of obvious to other people, creative luminaries can face doubt and resistance when advocating for them. As one artist told me, ‘The funny thing about [one’s own] talent is that you are blind to it. You just can’t see what it is when you have it . . . When you have talent and see things in a particular way, you are amazed that other people can’t see it.’” (p. 74)
Many people who are especially talented in a particular ability often do not fully realize how gifted they are. By virtue of being personally immersed within their creative talent, it feels second nature. Therefore, it does not feel like anything special even though it is very special. This is creativity’s blind spot.
Creativity’s blind spot means that all of us need the affirmation and critique of other people so that we can sort through what we are good at doing and what we are not so good at doing. The sooner we can understand what comprises our giftedness and talent, the sooner we can refine and build on those strengths. This becomes extremely important to long-term personal and professional growth because we want to be continuously building on our strengths.
If you are in a place in which you know your talents, then continue to build on them for maximum benefit to you and to others. On the other hand, if you are in a place in which you are still trying to understand your talents, then seek wise counsel to help with your ongoing self-assessment. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can channel your resources most effectively.