Creativity is heavily over-rated

What do we (and recruiters) really think about when we hear that a person describes her/himself as creative? Is it the Dylanesque genious who is able to put words into rhymes about everything he sees? Is it the free spirit that doesn’t take limits and restrictions into account when drafting a new masterpiece, whatever it might be? Is creativity that divine power that are only held by a few, enabling them to go places where us other mortals can’t go?

Not really. In a world where the inflation of using the word “creative” in resumes are skyrocketing, it’s about time that we see it for what it really is.

Wikipedia defines creativity as “a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed”. I would, however, change that phrase. Nothing is actually formed in a creative process, but merely thought of. It’s an idea that comes up, a vision, two dots connected into something greater. But! This is a basic human function. The ability to invent and create new things is hard-coded into our DNA and is essential for our species survival. Therefore, there is nothing special about this. Being creative is part of being a human — yet, you don’t see too many people defining themselves as human in their LinkedIn profiles.

Now, here’s the difference. To actually accomplish something, you need discipline. That’s what turns creativity into something useful and valuable. Bob Dylan probably wrote hundred of songs that never made the light of day because they weren’t good enough. So he kept on writing. That’s discipline. Steve Jobs released several crappy products before coming up with the iPhone, but he kept on trying. That’s discipline. Zlatan Ibrahimovic practiced thousands of hours to be the best footballer in the world. That’s discipline.

Anybody could start a project, but it takes discipline to finish it.

That’s what I would look for if I where to hire anybody.