… stop right there!

Let me first tell you-you are creative and A creative.

I used to think that people were born as creatives. You know what I’m talking about — the typical painting oil on canvass since 2 years old kind of people (or babies). These people have been good at creating since they were kids.

I even thought I was that kind of person. I took a watercolor painting class when I was young and won 2nd place for a painting I hardly recognize now (maybe it’s abstract). It is pretty cute though and we still hang it here around the house. But bottom line, I’m not a famous watercolor painter.

Entering the university, I learned there were all kinds of creatives. Meeting and working with different kinds of people made me realize — WE ARE ALL CREATIVES, AREN’T WE?

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When I first told my friend that I wanted to be a creative, he questioned me, “Don’t you mean that you want to be creative?” Well, you can guess that I ended up researching and lecturing him about how the word is being used as a noun nowadays.

A creative, by Merriam — Webster, is defined as:

someone marked by the ability or power to create; having the quality of something created rather than imitated; someone who managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits

Anyone who can create (with no specifics) anything is a creative. We often limit creatives to those who know how to use photo and video editing software and other fancy software really, but it shouldn’t always be the case.

Contrary to popular belief, scientists are also creatives — and they’re my favorite example too. People often think scientists are those nerdy people (I’M SORRY) who hang out in laboratories looking at their microscope every hour while waiting to write results. Some of them do and it’s not a bad thing (just letting it out there), scientists actually create information through their findings. These results maybe come in a form of a cure or new technology. They write journals and studies that help contribute to various fields —health, agriculture, and art, among many others. So by definition, scientists then are creatives too, right?

I’ve also come across this interesting article which talks about how physicians share a common desire to find solutions to causes and problems in the healthcare industry. Because the world is ever-changing, the article calls the industry to shift its thinking on ways to deliver care, making it more humane, non-replicable and (as stated) with a competitive leadership advantage.

It’s true — today’s diseases are more complicated than yesterday. I guess we’re not the only ones who have been working hard.

I worked for 6 months in a Research Institute/public hospital catering to tropical disease patients. I’ve learned from my little time there that right now, yes — people can be treated but it SHOULDN’T stop there. For tropical diseases, it is as important to invest in prevention like how we invest in treatment care. It requires forward thinking to become sustainable.

Physicians are problem-solvers, tinkerers, creatives and curious scientists at heart, and often lifelong learners. — Alexi Nazem, STAT, “Health care needs more physician CEOs like Atul Gawande,” 13 July 2018

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Educators don’t necessarily have to teach art to be called a creative. Teaching is an art and educators are creatives just by designing lesson plans, presentations, or coming up with activities to facilitate insightful learning and discussions.

It’s not easy being an educator — I know many in educators in my life. When asked the secret to teaching: most of them will always tell me it’s about connection. If you can connect with the students, you can teach anything.

To do this though, you have to hit the right spot. Educators have to come up with different techniques and styles of teaching. If you remember your favorite teacher from the past, chances are, it’s because his/her teaching style stood out. Or maybe he/she did something memorable that changed your student life? I know I can remember some of my favorite professors.

Still not convinced? Then look around. Think about those in the clothing industry or food business, they’re creatives! From the conception of designs and formulation of recipes to the production of the clothing line and cooking the meals to the marketing of the brand, products, and meals to actually selling the pieces they designed and taking orders from real customers. When ideas turn into something else, there’s a creative process and a creative behind it.

Because creatives can come from anywhere, does it mean we all have to own an original idea? Well, I’ve asked myself this question too and I found that:

Many people associate creativity with the ability to just generate lots of ideas, rather than focusing on ideas that are novel or useful. There are certainly a lot of ideas floating around, but finding the ones that will actually have a useful impact on the world takes a process of idea generation, refinement, testing and modifying until we come upon a worthwhile idea. I think we need a broader discussion about what creativity is and is not. It’s not thinking up lots of ideas; it’s creating ideas that are new and useful. — Matthew May

There is the process of relearning and looking at things differently. Those who are able to see it in ways people haven’t are true creatives. So creativity isn’t limiting. It can be anything so as anyone can be a creative.

Hopefully, by now, we’ve established yourself as a creative — if not, then I’m not doing my job. You might as well exit this window as we speak.. but kidding aside:

The first step in making it as a creative is believing you are one.

Okay, I am a creative. I believe you now. What’s the second step?

List down everyday problems and think of ways to solve it.

There is no step three.

Maybe your first batch of ideas sound terrible, or maybe they sound impossible but you have to keep going.

Personally, I love brainstorming or braindumps — whatever you want to call it. It could be by yourself or even with a friend or mentor. Be sure though to focus on one problem at a time. Simultaneously thinking about six different solutions is good, but simultaneously thinking about six different problems is something I just wouldn’t recommend.

Write them down and if you could show me, I’d love your doodles and maps! I also put up a small guide in case you need more help and tips! It’s not guaranteed to help you solve hunger or other problems — that’s on you, you creative soul. I will, however, always be cheering for you in the sidelines or email, whichever you prefer.

— Meli

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