Why Adults have a More Difficult Time Being Creative than Children

Children in Jerusalem.

Image via Wikipedia

This week at the dinner table my husband and I were having a conversation and used the word “coherent.” Our 4-year old heard this word, but didn’t understand what it meant. Looking to participate in the conversation, our 4-year old said, “Hmm, coherent. That must be located near Cohasset because they both start with “coh.” Little did he know “coherent” is a state of mind while “Cohasset” is a coastal town in Massachusetts (smile).

What does this have to do with creativity? It provides clues as to why young children sometimes have an easier time being creative than adults. First, young children do not know any better – and that’s a good thing when it comes to generating ideas. They are naturally inclined to make free associations and to say what is on their mind. The lack of a filter allows creativity to flow more freely. Because children do not evaluate ideas, or stop to think about why ideas won’t work, it keeps the momentum going.

Second, when we come up with ideas, associations or theories, we use what is readily available in our minds. As a preschooler, our son is preoccupied with language, spoken words, the sounds of letter blends and all the wonderful things associated with emerging literacy. As adults, we have many more experiences to draw from. And, this is a good thing as long as we can defer judgment long enough to let ideas see the light of day.

What are some things you can do to regain your child-like wonder?

Get out and do something unique, random and different. And, be sure to keep an open mind while doing so. Trying a new experience and being curious will help boost creativity. Here are some easy things you can do:

  • Try new foods
  • Spend time in different neighborhoods
  • Visit a museum
  • Listen to a different genre of music
  • Take a class
  • Travel
  • Talk to one new person a day

2 Responses to Why Adults have a More Difficult Time Being Creative than Children

  1. Pingback: Why Adults have a More Difficult Time Being Creative than Children (via Daily Creativity) | New Ideas. New Decisions. Creativity.

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