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@ChrisJWilson @ddykstal A lot of this hinges on what we mean by “normality” and “creativity” — both these terms are defined within the context of one’s culture.

“Normal” simply means what is common, against which we measure anything unusual or rare. And when we use the term “creativity” in our current society, most of the time we’re really talking about an unusual method or approach to solving a problem or accomplishing a task, rather than the act of actually creating or making something. That is, although people make things all the time — sandwiches, babies, to-do lists — it’s only when one’s approach or method is unusual, bold, surprising, or eccentric that we say that person is “creative.” (This is why calling something “formulaic” is usually an insult: it implies that it was dull, boring, uninspired, that there was nothing startling or unusual about it.) And so we have therefore come to think of “normal” and “creative” as opposites.

But this is polarity is not the case everywhere, or at every time. In T’ang Dynasty China, for example, composing poems was considered a core requirement for absolutely every educated person. It was utterly common, and therefore completely normal. Was poetry-composition therefore not creative simply by virtue of its ubiquity? If anything, poems would have lacked creativity to the extent that they were formulaic. (And there were indeed tons of such poems…) But I mention this to demonstrate that someone could be “creative” while doing a completely “normal” thing.

So, because our society’s definition of “creative” mostly refers to method, I firmly believe it can be taught, although some people will obviously show greater aptitude than others.

And let me be clear — all of this is different from being bold or confident enough to put something out into the world that you made. Someone can be intensely and wildly creative and yet never show anything to absolutely anyone. And becoming bolder and more confident can also be taught.

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