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 an important characteristic of creative people, and one from which we can all learn:
“Many creative people are autodidacts. They like to teach themselves, rather than be spoon-fed information or knowledge in standard educational settings. . . . Many of my subjects taught themselves to read before even starting school, and many have read widely throughout their lives.” (p. 75)
Curiosity and a passion for learning accompany creativity. This makes sense. How much of an autodidact are you?
If we are serious about personal and professional growth, I believe we should all be autodidacts. Creative people are people who are serious about growth. Therefore, they are constantly looking for every possible learning opportunity.
Central to every creative person’s life is this fundamental passion for learning. It demands that extra effort to learn even when others are not spoon feeding you. That alone means that you are expending the energy for that extra measure of focus. When that happens, we set the stage for creativity.
That passion for learning can be applied almost anywhere. Just to name a few: books, journals, seminars, online resources, interviews, professional associates, formal education, and reflection upon significant successes and failures. I’m sure you can think of many additional learning opportunities. I know you can because you want to be creative, right?