Creative individuals, by their nature, tend to defy the crowd. They resist merely thinking or doing what others are thinking or doing. Rather, they tend to go off in their own direction, seeking to propose ideas that are both novel and useful in some way. The greatest obstacle to creativity, therefore, often is not exactly strictures from others, but rather the limitations one places on one’s own thinking.
That’s an excerpt from this article (a research summary, really) from Robert J. Sternberg, a Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. It’s part of his Investment Theory of Creativity. Here’s more:
People are not born creative or uncreative. Rather, they develop a set of attitudes toward life that characterize those who are willing to go their own way… Such attitudes are teachable and can be ingrained in students through instruction that encourages students to think for themselves.
It is thus crucially important, especially in schools, to provide an environment that allows creativity to flourish—not just in word, but also in deed.
The entire summary is super-short, and well worth a read. It’s also well worth providing our kids with an environment that supports creativity. We’re all home-schooling right now, so there’s never been a better time.