Ruth Richards on Everyday Creativity

multicolor-spiralsWhen we think of creativity we tend to think of Beethoven, Frida Kahlo and Edison and the talent of a select few. Or we fall into the trap of thinking it’s the domain of ‘the arts’ or people who write copy, devise content, or make films for a living.

Psychologist and leading creativity researcher, Ruth Richards, is keen to spread the message that creativity concerns all of us. She argues that humans are born with creative potential and it is fundamental to our survival. Instead of thinking about creativity with a capital ‘C’ and the realm of innovative breakthroughs, she urges us to think about ‘Everyday Creativity’.

Everyday creativity is dispersed across our daily activities from managing interpersonal relationships, raising a child, creating a comfortable living environment, using humour, problem solving, cooking, doing crafts, to structuring leisure and social activities. We are more creative than we think as in our everyday lives, “every choice we make in life is a decision and that decision has a creative basis” (Zausner, 2007: 76).

All too often, everyday creativity is overlooked and subject to the three “U’s”. Our creativity is often underrecognized, underdeveloped, and underrewarded in schools, at work, and at home.

Instead, Richards celebrates everyday creativity and encourages us to reflect more on its potential and to develop it further. In her book Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature (2007), she writes:

Seen as a process, and even a way of life, our everyday creativity offers whole new ways of thinking, of experiencing the world, and experiencing ourselves. It can pull blinders from our eyes, and bring us alive, making us more conscious participants in our lives, aware of the dynamic of life moving about us…It can offer us joy, energy and challenge…We may even have a chance for fundamental transformation.

We need everyday creativity in contemporary life and need to encourage each other to move toward positive change. In short, we can use our everyday creativity to build a better world.