Are creative people born that way? For a long time I’ve believed creativity could be nurtured, that the creativity within and individual could grow if placed within an environment conducive to creativity. It’s always bothered me that the emphasis in our educational system tends to lean away from the artistic toward the scientific. My problem with that is that scientists, mathematicians and so on also need to be creative. They need to be problem solvers and I believe the greatest problem solvers are extremely creative people.
A study conducted by a team led by Kenneth Heilman at the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at Cornell University indicates that there might be a genetic basis for creativity. In other words, being creative might come easily to you if you’re born that way.
In grade school there were a couple people who had an innate ability to draw. While I struggled to draw a simple house, they were drawing pictures of the school, complete with the bushes in front and the buses in back. While I struggled to draw a dog, they were not just drawing dogs, they were drawing different breeds of dogs.
On the other hand I was always able to write a decent story, put together a suitable book report, write a better than average term-paper.
For the past few years I’ve been trying to teach myself how to draw and paint. It’s not easy. Yet, I think I think the difference between my artist friends and me is not genetic, rather it is environmental. They were placed within an environment that nurtured their artistic skills while I was in on that nurtured my verbal skills.
I still think we are all born creative, perhaps some are born with greater tendencies toward creativity, but whatever creativity we have can be nurtured depending on the environment we are in. If our parents give us crayons and paper when we are two and encourage us to draw, we are more likely to be able to draw pictures than the child who is read to and given a piece of paper and a pencil and told to write a story.
While genetics may have something to do with it, the direction a person’s creativity takes is often aided by his or her surroundings.