85% of Americans surveyed believe that creativity is key to driving economic growth. Two-thirds believe that being creative is valuable to society. 75% value their own creativity in resolving personal and professional problems.
But here’s where it gets interesting: Only 25% feel they live up to their creative potential.
For the Americans surveyed, self-doubt (27%), other personal obligations (29%), other work obligations (22%), and one’s age (13%) ranked fairly low.
That leaves two self-perceived blocks: Time and Money.
54% of surveyed Americans claimed they didn’t have the financial resources to let them create. 52% perceived that lack of time kept them from being able to create.
But when you unpack this question, its potential answers, and the actual responses, much if not all of it comes back to time.
Our perception of time is tied to how we view our obligations. If we think we don’t have enough money to create, this means in part that we think we don’t have enough money to be freed up from other obligations to afford us the solitude and “off-time” necessary to be “on” creatively.
Davis goes into some detail about how people can change this situation by either changing their situation, changing their mind, or both, to make space in their lives for creative pursuits.
My first thought upon reading this was that in the coming years perhaps the real value arts organizations can offer people is guidance and support to essentially become more disciplined…about letting themselves indulge fanciful thought and experimentation.
The other thing I wanted to point out is that this survey was conducted worldwide with 1000 people each from United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan.
The results are pretty dang interesting. There is a summary and infographic that accompany the study. Globally, Japan and Tokyo ranked as the most creative county and city–except among Japanese who don’t see themselves as creative. The U.S. ranked second “except in the eyes of Americans, who see themselves as the most creative.”
I haven’t gotten a chance to really consider some of the results, but there are some really glaring differences in attitudes. On the question “Being creative is still reserved for the arts community.” 78% of Japanese agreed with the statement versus 28% U.S., 35% U.K., 27% Germany and 21% in France.
There is a similar difference in response to the question “Being creative is reserved
for an elite community,” though only 52% of Japanese agreed.
Part of the difference may be attributable to what each culture defines as creative work. One culture may deem adding a funny caption to a picture and posting it on line to be creative while another may only regard someone who has gone through a lengthy apprenticeship and journeyman process to be a true creative.
Some of the responses from the different countries were included. I wondered if they were really representative of the country or chosen because they reinforce a certain image of that country.
Still, it was interesting to think about the following quote from the U.S. in the context of all the conversation that occurs about intellectual property rights.
“So many ideas have already been used, and in variation. When I think of a creative idea that I believe is new and original, it’s likely that it has already been done. I think the internet can often stray us away from our own creativity.”
or this one in the context of the stereotype that Germans are disciplined and time conscious:
“The less time the less is the creative head. Time constraints and pressure to kill creativity in the long run. Artists can only make art because they carry no other job and have this time. Creativity is born out of boredom and fun at the experiment.”