The Creative Genius and its Perception by Society

Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a genius by any measure, this “Ted-Talk” really hit home. My attention limit for videos usually caps out at around 5 minutes, however, for this video I was glued to the screen. I recommend or, should I say, dare anyone to watch the first five minutes and see if you don’t fall in love with the message as well as the speaker.

The speaker brings up many great points; one I would like to focus on is the idea that society is extremely critical of creative people compared to an analytical thinker, mainly because they see creative professions as being so risky that they are almost unattainable.

Be it parents, close friends, classmates or distant relatives, it is impossible to escape the barrage of questions regarding what I plan to do with my life. If I am feeling confident, I will almost always respond that I plan to own my own business. The person will then look at me as if I had just told them I want to be the president of the United States, and then follow up by explaining the risks that I will face and asking about my back up plan. Why must the response to my goals always be a reminder of how hard they are to attain? How many aspiring accountants are reminded of how they will never pass their CPA exam? How many pre-med students are reminded they will never get into medical school?

In society’s defense, while there may be awards and accolades indicative of creative success, it is extremely difficult to gauge creative ability. There are no grades, certifications or titles that completely quantify how creative a person may be. To measure IQ there are many tests that give respected results. To measure creativity, all we are given is that person’s creations. Meaning, until that person has had success in creation, there is no way to measure their ability. Because of this, many people define creative people pre-success as untalented, making it hard for them to believe that person will ever find success.

With all of the above being said, here is what I ask of you, blog reader. Be open to creativity. Like the accountant, who probably has no idea how to format income statements or balance sheets prior to his schooling, the creative person is also learning and preparing for success. So next time your niece’s friend’s son at that family party tells you he wants to own his own business, write poetry or even become a rock star, tell him he will do great. You never know, you may give him the confidence to do so!

Dave Boni
Marketing and Communications Assistant
Macomb-OU INCubator

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