Creativity Is Threatening To A Lot of People
Creativity is often talked about in the Western world, promoting with it individualism and the highly sought after, entrepreneurial spirit. But if we are to look a bit closer at the details, it turns out that a lot of people are actually feeling threatened by creativity in others. And this cannot be more evident than in our schools and businesses since both tend to disregard any new ideas and are more than eager to shut them down wherever possible.
Creativity in School
Everything starts in school. The main role of the institution is to tutor and promote each individual’s way of thinking by guiding each student to become the best that he can and spark the willingness to discover more. But in our current school system, this is rarely the case. Creativity is almost always associated with the arts, thus downplaying its role it has on our entire lives, from our future careers, family, friendships, and even sports.
It’s often to see or hear about creative and out-of-the-box thinking students being labelled by their teachers as “disruptive” and a problem that needs to be addressed quickly. So, with this in mind, the millennial generation in the US is less likely to be motivated to elaborate on any creative ideas than previous generations, as shown by many independent studies on the issue. By extension, millennials are also less likely to start their own businesses as shown by the low number of startups since the 1970’s.
Creativity in Business
The same principle applies in business. In a poll recently conducted by IBM, they asked 1,500 executives what leadership characteristics they look for in their employees. And as you can imagine, the number one trait is creativity.
But that same study also pointed out that over half of those executives said that they were unprepared, or even failed completely in recognising or embracing any new ideas or creative solutions. Countless other studies have shown that new creative ideas are often times disregarded in many companies, even in those that state to uphold creativity and innovation as their highest standard.
Science is no different. The whole idea behind scientific breakthrough is about thinking outside the box. But as it turns out, 12 out of 14 most cited papers were rejected in their first stages of research, not even making it to the peer-review stage. One study even showed that people in charge of evaluating scientific grant proposals almost never favour novel proposals.
The reasons for why creativity is shunned in such a bad light nowadays, even though we don’t want to admit it, is mainly because of our increasingly overwhelmed and overworked lives. Because of the tremendous advances made in technology and media, we are constantly bombarded with new information and distractions that unconsciously pushes us to strive for simplicity and direct answers. And in turn, simplicity and directness don’t always coincide with creativity, even though they might have some common ground now and again.
Another factor in downplaying creativity is fear of rejection and fear of the unknown. As most of us know, we tend to start thinking like the people around us. So, the more people are less creative, the more infectious the phenomenon becomes. We are social creatures by nature, and we are always looking to belong. When it comes to the fear of the unknown, international politics plays an increasingly large role in our lives.
The silver lining in all of this is that the current generation, even though less motivated to elaborate on their creative ideas, still have as much originality as the previous generations. Furthermore, the number of students enrolling in entrepreneurship majors is increasing, meaning that the desire is there.