“Who do you consider as being creative?” I asked my potential client, Kravis*, who sat in front of me clothed in a navy blue pinstriped suit, matching blue tie, crisply ironed white shirt, and bull-bear Tiffany cufflinks.
Crossing his hands in front of me, Kravis leaned forward and affirmed, “Look Anne, there’s no money in arts.” To me, the mere fact Kravis had immediately associated creativity to arts told me how he seemed to falsely believe that creativity is a realm only accessible in arts. But is true? Is it always true that creativity can only be found in arts?
Here are five myths about creativity in the business world.
Myth #1. Only singers and painters are creative?
In a 2011 study (1) performed by the University of Hong Kong, researchers wanted to determine who Chinese and German undergraduates believed were the best national and international creators. Their study showed that Chinese students mostly nominated politicians, scientists, and inventors, but rarely nominated artists. However, German undergraduates mostly nominated philosophers, artists, and writers, but rarely nominated politicians.
In this study, isn’t it interesting business people did not make their list? Why do you believe it is so? Is it because so many business people tend to downplay their own level of creativity?
Myth #2. Highly intellectual people are never creative?
In their report on ‘The Relationship Between Intelligence And Creativity’ (2), the US National Library of Medicine determined that “Creativity is a concept of individual differences which is intended to explain why some people have higher potential to provide new solutions to old problems than others. It leads us to change the way we think about things.”
I don’t know about you, but some of the most amazing business people I am aware of, like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Dov Baron, all seem to possess this uncanny ability to provide new solutions to old problems. Since these people are highly seasoned business people well-known for their creativity, would their name have crossed your mind if I had also asked you, “Who do you consider as being creative?”
As Kravis pointed out to me, “anything creative is a risky business.” But is it true? Is it always true a creative person can never successfully build a financially sound business? Let’s find out…
Myth #3. Risk-aversiveness and creativity never marry well?
By general definition, a risk-averse person is someone who, when confronted with two potential options with a similar expected result, will prefer the one with the lower risk. In this context, would you consider sex education a risky business? Most people might say yes to this question and as a result of their belief might also refrain from investing in it.
Maybe these people have not yet heard of Laci Green, a YouTube sensation who offers advice on everything from hookup culture to body positivity to bedroom sadomasochism. Laci is a former Mormon who is considered the next Dr. Ruth in some circles. Based on ‘The 30 Most Influential People on The Internet in 2016 (3), Laci’s videos amassed over 122 million views. She was only 26 at the time, which also debunks the myth that only ‘older’ people can be hugely successful in business.
Myth #4. Being creative never pays well?
When you were a child and someone asked you, ‘Who do you want to be when you grow up?’, what did you answer? Did you answer with a job that offered a steady pay cheque? Or did you answer something that was closer to your creative heart? According to Forbes (4), here are 10 unusual jobs that pay surprisingly well:
Embalmer (average $44,000 a year)
Hot Dog Vendor (average $30,000-$100,000 a year)
Personal Shopper (average $25,000-$100,000+ a year)
Ice Cream Taster (average $56,000 a year)
Virtual Head Hunter (average $250-$10,000 per referral)
Funeral Service Manager (average $80,000 a year)
Body Part Model (average $20-$1,000+ for an afternoon)
Live Mannequin (average up to $100 an hour)
Genetic Counsellor (average $56,000 a year)
Cruise Ship Entertainer (average $3,000-$4,500 a month, plus room and board)
Myth 5. Creativity is an individual process only?
When creativity is only associated to particular singers, painters, writers, …, it is easy to lose sight of what a group of creative individuals coming together for a common purpose can achieve.
Based on NewsCred Insights (5), here are two of The Most Creative Content Marketing Agencies around:
BuzzFeed: widely acknowledged for sponsored content and quiz-taking formats. Have you checked Facebook lately?
Grey Group: widely acknowledged for identifying and leveraging larger societal trends and pushing boundaries. They were the first to put a woman in a bra on television.
What are 5 ways you are already creative in business and did not know it:
You have the ability to believe you are creative.
You have the ability to provide new solutions to old problems.
You have the ability to spot ‘risk-averseness’ content and turn it into a gold mine.
You have the ability to see all the ways you are already being creative in business.
You are part of a business team that has the ability to see the big picture.
As for Kravis, we parted ways amicably. He said he had much to ponder and thanked me for offering him a fresh perspective. Isn’t it what being creative is all about? A fresh perspective?
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who assists her clients in accessing deeper levels of their creativity in their business and personal life. For coaching inquiries, I can be reached at email@example.com
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,
Here are the sources of my statistics:
(1) University of Hong Kong 2011 study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2162-6057.2011.tb01082.x/abstract
(2) The Relationship Between Intelligence And Creativity Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3682183/
(3) TIME, Top 30 Most Influential Internet Sensations in 2016: https://time.com/4258291/30-most-influential-people-on-the-internet-2016/
(4) Forbes, 10 Unusual Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/05/23/10-unusual-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well/#7bb0250370a1
(5) NewsCred Insights, The 33 of Most Creative Content Marketing Agencies: https://insights.newscred.com/the-33-most-creative-content-agencies/