School often tries to teach us formulas and rules to how we should approach problems and life, for that matter. Anyone who has ever been tasked or called to create understands that creativity is not built on formulas, but on inspiration, rhythm, and free thinking. A recent issue of Pyschology Today released a list of 12 things our schools failed to teach us about creativity // with a little commentary:


  • 1. You are creative. // Everyone is creative. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone is creative.
  • 2. Creative thinking is work. // Creativity does not just appear. It takes work, effort, and practice. Creativity is a muscle that has to be exercised. The more it’s exercised, the better it becomes.
  • 3. You must go through the motions of being creative. // Sometimes the motions help us find our rhythm. Rhythm is so important to creativity. When we find our rhythm, we’re able to do better work.
  • 4. Your brain is not a computer. // You have to feed it, let it rest, protect it. We can’t treat our brain like a machine because, in doing so, our expectations will not be met.
  • 5. There is no right answer. // Search for new ways and new options to do what we’ve always done and the things we’ve never done before.
  • 6. Never stop with your first good idea. // Ideas get better the more we work with and develop them.
  • 7. Expect the experts to be negative. // People are going to hate. It’s our job to shake the haters. We should be creating art that people love or hate – not art that lives in the middle. When art lives in the middle, it’s ignored and that is way worse than it being hated.
  • 8. Trust your instincts. // You were made to do this. The more you trust your instincts, the better they will get. Learn to hear them and then be brave enough to trust them.
  • 9. There is no such thing as failure. // Failing is simply uncovering what didn’t work so we can try it a different way next time. If we live in fear of failure, we will never create great art.
  • 10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are. // Our perspective, as creative people, provides a lens that is different from everyone else’s. Our best creativity will help us solve new problems, be innovative, and create better art when we apply that lens to everything we see.
  • 11. Always approach a problem on its own terms. // Just like no two artists are the same, neither are any two problems.
  • 12. Learn to think unconventionally. // A. Stay in a posture of learning. B. Work to find new ways of thinking, processing, and to find new lenses to filter information. The better we get at this task, the better we will be at creating things that have never before been created.


Most of us are out of school, but we should go back for a minute and study these missed lessons. Let’s find ways to re-learn and use these missing lessons to be our absolute best in how we approach our art.

Are there any other lessons you have learned about creativity that you wish you had learned in school but didn’t?

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