I was watching a show on Netflix the other day called The Creative Brain. It was ok, not one of my top recommendations. But it did have Nick Cave in it which I consider a positive, and it did remind me of something that I think people often forget: what differentiates humans as a species is our creativity. The good old prefrontal cortex.
For a long time I've thought of myself as somewhat artistic, but not all that creative. The main reason for this has been that I am terrible when it comes to making something from nothing. Give me a blank canvas and an open mind and it will likely stay blank unless I have something to use as a reference. If I'm given the task of producing a creative piece of writing is going to be full of cliches and completely derivative, even if you give me a prompt. I think it's the main reason I thought that I was bad at English throughout high school, because I bombed so badly in that section of every exam.
Creativity isn't about creating something from nothing, it's about making something out of what you've got. And it's not something that sits within the realm of the 'creative industries'. Any time you are looking at something and bringing it into the new, you are creating. That could be coming up with a research question. It could be asking a pertinent question after a lecture. It could be making medicines information relevant for the patient in front of you.
We are all inherently creative in our own ways. It's what makes us human. Unfortunately, the other part of what makes us human is our amygdala and avoidance of anything that makes us feel uncomfortable. That's the bit that often gets in the way of us unleashing our creativity...but that's a topic for another day.