I wished I was more creative when I was in college. My classmates did wonderfully creative things, but I thought of myself as a practical problem solver who depended on technical ability and hard work to keep up. I didn't think I had the creative spark that moves people, or enough ideas, or the necessary people skills to sell myself. I felt like a guppy amongst piranhas for a long time.
When I was going to school K-12, I didn't think I was unusually smart either. I got better grades for less work, but I figured that was because I had a head start and a good memory. My friends were smart enough, and they often got into a lot less trouble because they didn't do stupid things. I didn't understand when they didn't get something I wanted to talk about. I figured I just wasn't explaining it right.
My first draft for this post was describing my irritations with an artist who took my soft lavender layout and made it bright cyan blue. I deleted that draft because I figure nobody wants to listen to me complain. I started thinking about my high school frustrations of trying to explain politics to my peers and my envy looking at my college pals' homework. My problems with the current artist seems to be a replay of times long gone.
When we hang out with people like ourselves (and we all do), we can't see how we're different than the average person. We lose abilities in communicating with "average" too. I like people who are smarter and more creative than me because that pushes me further than I can go on my own power. As a result, sometimes my self-perception is that I'm not that creative or smart.
Someone told me her friends were diverse because she has black friends -- but her friends are at about the same level of income bracket, education, and type of career. "Black" isn't really a descriptive word for what a person is like. It's just a color, and a vague one at that when it's applied to people. If she really wants diversity, she could make a friend from the slums, no matter what color -- and with her new friend she might have a different perspective on her own self image.
It's always so easy to point out this kind of thing in others, but it's harder to see it in ourselves. I know my self-perception is skewed because in the years since college many, many people have commented on my creativity in both good and bad ways. The positives are obvious, but the negatives are that I'm easily bored, ask "too many" questions, don't do as I'm told...
I've been thinking about all of this because I read this article about creatives (Thanks for the link Rand!) I thought about my hectic week and decided to daydream before work because that would be more productive than running head-first into my cinder block office walls or strangling the guy who turned my lavender layout blue.