Creativity and intelligence are friends. It is one of the characteristics of gifted children that they have active imaginations. I joined a Facebook page for parents of gifted children and was recently amazed at the themes children have chosen for birthday parties. One parent was having trouble thinking of activities for an “Eyeball” birthday party. Another child wanted Yellowstone geysers and hot springs. Volcano, King Tut, and even “the toilet” themes have been given for children of these parents.
While intelligence and creativity are related, views vary widely as to their relationship. On creativesomething.net, Tanner Christensen says an average person only needs the following: “they have more experiences, they think on their experiences more often, and when they start pursuing potential outcomes to problems or projects they simply work more with the ideas they come up with (whereas everyone else gives up after evaluating just one or two possible ideas, or by letting their inner critic prevent them from exploring more).” (4) On the other hand, a study done by Emanel Jauk, Mathias Benedek, Beate Dunst, and Alioscha Neubauer found that a threshold of a 100 IQ was needed for simple creative ideas, but 120 for more complex ideas and tasks. (5)
There are theories on how to make your environment more creative. The Writing Cooperative lists “20 Ways to Become More Creative With Your Writing,” (1) and one of my favorite posters for decades was a list of ten ways to squelch creativity. I can’t remember them all, but a few of them were “that’s not our policy,” “what if it doesn’t work,” “that’s not how you do it,” and, my personal favorite, “I guess that’s okay.” My moderately gifted father was prevented from doing a lot of things because he couldn’t do them well enough for his mom. As an adult, he didn’t venture into unknown territory, preferring to do the things he could do well, which were fishing, listening to the radio and TV, and reading newspapers and magazines. (2) In The Creative Spirit, Teresa Amabile lists surveillance, evaluation, rewards, competition, over-control, restricting choice, and pressure as “Creativity Killers.” (3)
Creativity is a skill that can be learned. A short visit with Google will produce hundreds of links and images that will lead you to books or articles on how to enhance creativity. In my own experience, encouragement was a huge factor. The most important factor for me, however, is an element of play. If you have a few minutes, check out a video of two guys hitting jello with a tennis racket. (6)
- Michaud, Simone, How to Become More Creative With Your Writing, https://writingcooperative.com/20-ways-to-become-more-creative-with-your-writing-acabeacb571b, accessed 11/11.
- If only he had accepted help from his professional aunts and uncles.Nevertheless, he knew the importance of education and made sure that all three of his children graduated from college.
- Goleman, Daniel, Kaufman, Paul and Ray, Michael, The Creative Spirit, copyright 1992. Alan Perlmutter. pgs.61-62.
- Christensen, Tanner, https://creativesomething.net/post/41103661291/the-relationship-between-creativity-and, accessed 11/16/18.
- Jauk, Emanuel, Benedek, Mathias, Dunst, Beate, and Neubauer, Aljoscha C., National Institutes of Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3682183/, accessed 11/16/18.
- Thanks to my daily email from CNN.