MANY myths have developed around the creative process. Here are some common ones:

1. Creativity is inborn

Everyone is born creative. In the process of growing up, getting an education and adapting to the environment, you slowly put up blocks to your creativity and forget you had it in the first place.

The difference between a creative person and a person who is not is that the latter has lost his creativity.

2. Creativity can be developed

Methods are useful as stepping stones to becoming more creative, but eventually they act as mental straitjackets. They hinder creativity for the simple reason that creativity is not a predetermined path. It is about laying out your own path.

While methods come from experience, creativity is a foray into the unknown. There can therefore be no formulas or recipes for being creative.

3. Creative people are weird

Well, some of them may come across as weird, but most are regular people who wear a tie and have bosses to report to. The truth is everyone is creative in their own way.

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but even the stuffiest, most straight-laced person can be as creative as anyone else. It’s how and how much you use your capacity for creativity that counts.

4. Only the creative types have creative ideas

Many of us have a stereotyped image of “creative” people — they invariably wear unconventional clothes and have untamed hair and a variety of body piercings. Well, these “creative types” in most cases are creative, but research in this field also shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work.

Creativity depends on experience, knowledge, technical skills, talent, the ability to think in new ways and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells.

5. Creativity is spontaneous

Everyone has experienced that moment, when seemingly out of nowhere, a brilliant idea is born. It can happen anytime and anywhere. But the opposite is not necessarily untrue.

Scientists have discovered that creativity is mostly conscious, hard work. Mozart’s “spontaneous inspirations” were no accident. The composer worked incredibly hard and was enormously productive.

6. Creativity applies to science and fine arts only

Creativity can enhance and enrich every experience, whether it involves work, relationships, investing, sports and even accounting.

7. Pressure situations spark creativity

High-pressure situations work for many people. Some people come up with wonderful ideas when their backs are up against the wall. At the same time, relaxed situations and environments also tend to spur ideas in a lot of people. The key is to identify what works best for you.

8. Competitive situations foster creativity

Competition pushes people to generate many ideas. Sometimes, companies create an environment where the employee with the best idea is rewarded. While this method does work, it works for all the wrong reasons. By keeping ideas to themselves, employees don’t allow their ideas to be refined by someone else’s input.

Collaboration gives an extra fillip to even the best ideas. Without it, the idea is limited by just one person’s perspective.

9. Creativity is a specialist’s job

It’s amazing how many people discount “professional” creativity as something reserved for people such as designers and writers.

Just about any job can be helped by a healthy dose of creative thinking. Many innovative improvements in a company’s work processes have their origin on the factory floor.

10. Creative people always have great ideas

What is closer to the truth is that most creative people have a few great ideas that stand out from a barrel of average ones. Creative people encounter failure like anyone else, but it drives them to try even harder.