While it’s increasingly understood that creativity is useful or even vital in the professional world, people sometimes need a little convincing that it can also be of serious personal value – and by personal I mean your life away from work entirely.
If you read a dating profile which said “I’m 44, love Game of Thrones, Beyoncé and French New Wave film, partial to caramel ice cream, very creative” you probably read the “creative” reference to mean the poor sap goes to pottery classes, does a bit of performance poetry or plays a ukulele and thinks it’s cool. In one’s personal life, that’s what the idea of creativity conjures up: arts and crafts.
It can mean that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But being creative can have zero to do with anything arty and still be of immense value.
A case in point comes from a story which went viral this week about a man who matched with a woman on Tinder and then decided to start a conversation a bit differently. Instead of the conventional approaches of either (a) polite and clean or (b) cocky and funny he went with (c) a multiple choice adventure story!
You can read how the conversation went here. Bottom line is it worked: his simple but interesting and imaginative idea went down a treat and ended in the woman sharing her information so they could continue chatting.
This is how creativity can work. Forget “high culture” and elevated, aesthetic pursuits. This is about solving a familiar, down-to-earth challenge using a creative bit of strategic thinking.
Now interestingly, evolutionary psychologist Dr. Geoffrey Miller has suggested that creativity may have emerged in our evolutionary past as a way of getting an edge over competitors in the mating game. His “cultural courtship model” places a premium on creative displays as an indicator of cognitive fitness – by both males and females, incidentally – and who’s to say this mechanism was not at work in this Tinder interaction?
Creativity is relevant to all our lives. Once you properly grasp what it is, I'd be amazed if you disagree.