Why Creativity Can’t Be Taught

“What is creativity?

During my research I found there are about as many definitions of ‘creativity’ as there are people. For example:

Henry Rollins says: “Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in.”

Daniel Pink‘s definition is: “Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.”

The English Oxford Dictionary‘s definition is: “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”

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Now, according to ‘Psychology Today’ creativity cannot be taught. In 2011 they wrote, you can teach everyone how to use a hammer or knitting needles.

But knowing how to use a hammer or a knitting needle doesn’t make you creative. Visualizing, dimensionally manipulating or modeling the chairs you build in your mind’s eye won’t necessarily make you creative either. Whether material or mental, these tools just provide the techniques and materials that make creative outcomes possible.

Seven years ago many states started calling for tests to find out about the student’s creativity, Massachusetts and California ahead.

Psychology Today does believe that tools for imaginative and creative thinking can be exercised and that habits, behaviors and strategies within the creative process can be taught. But they don’t believe creativity itself can be taught.

Neither do I. Let’s take a look at the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I found many more quotes like these and each one of them included words like “imagination”, “fantasy”, “ideas”, “invention”, and “mind-wandering”. None of these habits would go with a person uninterested in inventing a creative process, creative thinking or any creative mind.

Wharton University of Pennsylvania wrote an article in 2014, about 4 feet long, including tons of complicated words, unnecessary studies and quotes, and at the end came to the conclusion that creativity cannot be taught. I had to read the post twice to be sure of the result. (Source: Wharton)

Monica Malhotra, Managing Director of the MBD Group, an interior designer and decorator without a technical degree, clearly declared in 2016: “Creativity cannot be taught to anyone. It’s a quality which is god-gifted. People can help you polish this quality but no one can imbibe it into someone,”

Even Steve Jobbs said: “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

How do you teach fantasy, imagination, vision and painting pictures in your head to someone? I believe it’s as simple as that: “You can’t.” I’m with Steve Jobbs and Monica Malhotra on that. Creativity is a God given talent that cannot be taught nor learned.

Share your opinion about this conclusion in the comments, please. I’m curious.