I was talking with a friend the other day, and she said she doesn’t describe herself as “creative”, she describes herself as “resourceful”.

I thought that was rather interesting, and I wondered what the difference might be between being “creative” and being “resourceful”. What if there weren’t any difference?

The things we tell ourselves can become self-fulfilling prophesies. So, for example by telling yourself you’re not creative, without realising it you may be withholding permission to allow yourself to be creative.

And it is all about permission. We need to give ourselves permission to imagine that we could be creative. If only we could take that out of the equation – if we could automatically give ourselves permission to explore the possibility that we are creative, what’s the worst that could happen?

A few years ago, I started writing a novel. I abandoned it half-way through because the main character seemed rather bland and I quite literally “lost the plot”. Some time later, I noticed that I was telling people I didn’t write. When anyone asked what I enjoyed doing, I’d say that I enjoyed writing, and I would always tack on the end “but I don’t write”. By telling myself, and everyone around me, that I didn’t write, it became true.

Now I tell myself that I do write. It doesn’t matter if I’m not working on my novel right now. I’m writing a newsletter, and copy for my website, and lots of other marketing material. So I am writing – and I’ve got evidence to prove it. And in good time, maybe I’ll get back to my novel.

Which do you think came first, though? Starting to write again? Or telling myself that I write?

How comfortable do you feel, applying the word “creative” to yourself? Do you use a different word to avoid giving yourself permission to be creative? What difference might it make, if you allowed yourself to be “creative”?

2 thoughts on “The difference between “Creative” and “Resourceful”

  1. Hello there:
    I tell people that I am resourceful but not creative, even though I am into creative writing. I am not sure why I do this. I think it may have something to do with the fact that when I hear the word creative, an artist or musician comes to mind. I have never been either. I have never really had an opportunity to be creative at work or school so maybe I not giving myself enough room to be creative.

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Hi James: I totally understand what you say about not having an opportunity to be creative at work or school – although “creative” can mean so many things, not just being an artist or musician. Being creative is actually our natural state – whether we’re cooking a meal from raw ingredients, building a bridge, writing a story,… So maybe you could start telling yourself you ARE creative, and notice what a difference it makes?

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