Don't Think You Are Talented or Creative?


The Nature of Creativity

I have been pondering creativity and thinking about the many, many people who don’t believe they are talented or creative. I have been aware for years that most of my college students do not describe themselves at creative or talented (even though I think they most certainly are!).

When I ask them to mention someone who is talented, they respond by naming famous gymnasts, painters, singers, composers, athletes, authors, and sometimes successful businessmen or entrepreneurs.

We talk about creativity and talent a little bit and then I ask them to write a paragraph for me. I assure them that it will not be graded and that it is confidential. “Tell me what talents or creative abilities you have and then tell me which ones you would like to have.” Year after year, in class after class, the results are both depressing and very telling.


A Myriad of Talents and Abilities

A few students described themselves as talented, a couple of music majors, a young woman involved in gymnastics and drill team, a couple of guys who played varsity sports, one art major … and that was it. The great majority of the students described themselves as having no discernible talent and no creative outlet.

I always spend about twenty minutes of the next class period talking about creativity and the various kinds of talents and gifts – social, cultural, intra- and inter-personal and much more.

I tell them that there are no talent-less, gift-less, or un-creative people. So together we discuss those who write - poetry, screen plays, short stories, research papers, journalistic articles, sermons, fairy tales, Clear Directions (oh thank heavens!) for how to do something, protest letters, comforting and encouraging letters for the lonely and bereaved.

There are people who work in wood – carpenters who build chairs, tables, bookcases, desks, room dividers, decks, porches, houses, trellises, pergolas, bridges, walkways; those who work in stone - sculptors, stone masons, bricklayers, patio designers, those who build fireplaces and mantels.


Manual and Interpersonal Creativity

There are people who work with cloth, those who – quilt, embroider, knit, braid rugs, cross stitch, design and sew clothing, needle-work, a good tailor or a seamstress is an artist and can work miracles with clothing that is neither comfortable nor looks well.

People do amazing things with leather, rope, driftwood, tile, old jewelry, cast off clothing, dried leaves – flowers-vines, beads, baskets, flowers, calligraphy, fine soap and perfume-making, watercolors - oil paints-dyes, acrylic paints–chalks, curtains–tablecloths-wallpaper. Some people draw maps, build clocks, design dishware, and illustrate or bind books. Many create an oasis of beauty and fragrance as they nurture and husband gardens.

And there are the relationally oriented talents – perhaps the most important of all and often the most overlooked creative gift. It takes a special sensitivity, patience, and understanding to work well with animals, whether they are rabbits, pigeons, horses, dogs, cats, wolves, or dolphins. People who work with small children have amazing gifts of patience, sensitivity, and understanding.

People who devote themselves to geriatric care have my utmost respect and admiration. And there are counselors, big brothers, teachers, therapists, ministers, big sisters, healthcare workers who are selfless and devoted to the welfare of others – they operate out of a deep well of creativity and goodness.


I Simply Cannot Draw

We need to encourage people, young and old; we need to assist them in recognizing and valuing their own gifts. We need to praise their fledgling efforts to be artistic, to be creative. We must prepare them for the work, commitment, and practice that may support a gift or talent. We can help them comprehend the immense benefits and blessings which result from operating in one’s gift. We need to carefully and kindly guide them to their own personal epiphany…here is the siory of my personal epiphany.

“I simply cannot draw. I have no artistic talents. I have never been very creative.”

I cannot tell you how many times I repeated these phrases throughout my teens and twenties, but I said these sorts of things too often. Now I want to tell you a story, so be patient.

As the oldest daughter in a large, busy, noisy family, I was an early, inveterate, and constant reader. Of course both my parents encouraged me in this. My mother had a liberal arts degree and taught middle school English and was a passionate reader herself.

My father, an immigrant who spoke heavily accented and broken English was also an avid reader with wide-ranging interests. Language came easily to me and was my passion, so without ever discussing it, we all more or less agreed that my strengths tended toward scholastic activities and endeavors.


Everyone Else Can Draw!

On the other hand, I was surrounded by “typically artistic and creative” individuals. My father, two brothers, an aunt, two uncles, grandmother - painter, grandfather - sculptor - and all their various talents were manifested tangibly - you could see and admire the results of their creative expressions.

So I decided at a fairly young age that there were "talented and artistic” people and there were “intellectually sharp – scholastically oriented” people like myself. I didn't feel bad about it. I thought I was really good at lots of things, but no, I couldn't draw and I wasn’t artistic. I didn’t think about it much after the age of 12 or so, it was simply how things were.

I loved all kinds of art. I appreciated it. I grew up surrounded by it and so it makes perfect sense that I was attracted to and eventually married an artist. :) He was never able to give up his day job, but he was a good painter, ceramicist, and photographer.

My husband and I even took a ceramics course together in college; it was terribly sad -- his creations were so good and “seemingly” effortless, and although I enjoyed the course immensely, my little pots were amazingly juvenile and rather pathetic .... :)

The only thing in ceramics which I excelled at was mixing and matching the glazes you brush on the pots before they are fired a second time. I thoroughly enjoyed mixing colors, tones, and sheens on the ceramic pieces. ~~~ Shhhh. This could almost be a spoiler, but don't think about it too long or hard, just keep reading, please.


Passing Through the "Craftsy" Stage

As I said, I didn't feel bad about it or even think much about it at all; I was way too busy being a "scholar." I wasn't depressed or upset, I didn't feel bad about myself -- those sorts of abilities just weren't part of who I was, those talents and gifts belonged to to other people, just not me. Besides which, by then I had discovered I was a pretty good poet and a great essayist!

My sense of self was quite healthy and resilient, because of two very supportive and encouraging parents. So my self description went something like this, "I am a moral and intelligent person, a great student, a logical thinker, a compelling and persuasive writer. I have plenty of gifts and abilities, I just don't happen to be creative (drawing, painting)."

Over time, my understanding and definition of the word "creative" began to evolve. In my early thirties I became rather “craftsy” I designed pillows, made tablecloths and curtains, designed and pieced quilts, painted lamp shades, cross- stitched, made beaded necklaces, tried decoupage, made all sorts of unique Christmas tree ornaments -- a lot of things that had to do with texture and color and shading.

I even experimented with baking bread from scratch -- not so successful, except that to this day I can make a beautiful AND delicious loaf of braided Challah. However, I became quite the expert canner and for years my shelves were filled with jars of tomatoes, pickles, peaches, apple butter, green beans, applesauce, blueberry, apricot, and cherry preserves.

Surprisingly, I even sold preserves and crafts at local fairs and craft shows, and my jars of fruit preserves and butters disappeared into the cupboards of friends and family almost as quickly as I could make them. Still, in my mind those were simply practical, functional activities, unrelated to any artistic sensibilities or gifts. I was pleased and proud of my accomplishments, but I did not think of them as examples of creativity. I simply thought I was a hard worker.


As Simple as Framing a Picture

Then, while keeping house and raising three children, I went back to school for eight years to get a Master’s and Doctorate in History. That was the end of being “craftsy,” as I had little time for sleep, much less anything else. However, during that time I had an experience, the "epiphany" that I referred to earlier, that forever changed my understanding of creativity and the diverse ways in which it expresses itself through “all” of us.

Occasionally, I would accompany my husband to the little shop around the corner where he got his photographs framed (he occasionally sold paintings and photographs at local art shows). He picked out a frame and then started working with the shop employee to select a mat.

Somehow all the mats my husband selected looked so very wrong, they made his beautiful nature print seem all washed out, but after all he was “the artist.” I knew he planned to hang the framed print on a cream colored wall in our den. It just looked so very wrong, although I couldn’t have said exactly why the photograph, mat, and frame were not working together, I just knew something was not right.


Mixing and matching Colors

Finally, I suggested several alternative mat colors and textures, as diplomatically as I could. Then I even pulled a couple of different frames that would set off the print and look great against a cream background.

We mixed and matched and everything I selected, quite frankly, looked stunning; as the three of us kept experimenting with the color choices, my husband got more and more agitated. The employee and I wisely kept our peace and my husband decided to have it matted and framed using his original choices and that was the end of that. Or so I thought.....

You know the end of the story, don’t you? ~~~ You have figured it out already, right?

He hung the painting up and it looked terrible, washed out, insignificant, boring. I didn't say a word. Maintaining a peaceful home was more important that being right about framing a picture -- have you noticed that I still wasn't getting the incredibly obvious lesson from this experience?

The following day I walked into the den and he growled, literally growled, “I hate that frame and mat, they do nothing for my photograph! I should have gone with your suggestions, but you aren’t an artist! You don’t take pictures! You can't even paint!”

I was both amused and bemused. Of course, he took it back and had it re-matted and framed; it looked, quite simply, fabulous. That photograph with that mat, in that frame would stop people dead in their tracks when they walked into the room, and at first every one assumed it was done by some very artsy professional.

A family friend fell in love with the photograph, kept talking about the mat and frame, and asked if he could buy it. My husband quoted him a pretty steep price and the guy didn't hesitate for a second and whipped out his check book. This happened when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and before there were ATM's, debit cards, or cell phones; I am not exactly sure how we survived.


A Personal and Creative Epiphany

At long last, my Epiphany ~~~ After that experience, I finally grasped that there really are all kinds of creativity and talent. And that having one particular talent doesn’t mean you have all the others; my husband was a good landscape painter, a very good nature photographer, but the poor man had no color sense whatsoever.

Not having any “obvious talent” at drawing or painting, did not mean I wasn't creative. Although I have terrible fine motor control in my hands (I am a clumsy and poor typist even after thirty years of practice) I have, nevertheless, learned to utilize my sense of color and spatial design in many different ways.

Since my “creative epiphany” I have come to feel much closer to my Polish grandparents. Although, I always respected and admired their talent, I didn’t feel like I was related to them. I didn’t feel like I fit very well into such an intensely creative family. Now the family connections are clear and obvious to me. I imagine they were always obvious to them; I was the near-sighted one.

In fact, I have created several hubs to showcase their work – Wanda and Edmund Ast, if you care to take a look on my home page. I employed linguistic and lexical creativity, as well as color and spatial layout abilities to design hubs that hopefully, would honor my grandparents.

Of course I continue to talk to my children and grandchildren and students about creativity. What are your gifts? Perhaps one of them is helping other people discover and utilize their own talents and abilities. That in itself is a marvelous and creative gift. :)


More by this Author

Comments Are Welcomed and Appreciated 83 comments

Dbro profile image

Dbro 4 years ago from Texas, USA

Great hub, phdast7! I agree that all people have gifts and talents. People just seem to too narrowly define "creativity." I teach drawing to students of all ages, many of whom claim they cannot draw. In truth, they just haven't been properly instructed and, more importantly, have not silenced their inner critic long enough to discover that they really can draw and draw well. Living a life of meaning and depth requires that we explore and respond to the world in some creative and fulfilling way!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Dbro, for your encouraging and affirming comments and for all you do as a teacher. You are so right, the solution lies in the combination of a caring and gifted instructor and the individual's ability to "silence their inner critic." You expressed it perfectly. And because "living a life of meaning and depth is so important" we will continue to encourage people to "explore and respond to the world in some creative and fulfilling way." I appreciate your commitment and your enthusiasm; with someone like you, I might have learned how to draw. :)

Larry Wall 4 years ago

I also agree that everyone has a talent or some creative nature, however, it is often not recognized or is discouraged. In the primary grades, I did not color well because my eyesight was such that my eye-hand coordination for fine motor skills was a little slow in developing.

I was never given any encouragement in school about being a writer, because I was not an honor student, a member of who's who or voted most likely to... I was just an average student in a large high school. I had two successful careers where writing was my mainstay.

Everyone has a talent. I cannot sing, dance, or do gymnastics. I can see solutions to problems, see the downside and I known how to manage money. There are many skills and talents. We just have to find them.

dragonflyfla profile image

dragonflyfla 4 years ago from South Florida

I used to think I couldn't draw...but drawing is just another skill that can be taught. To become a really great drawer, you have to practice everyday just as you would to improve on any skills.

We used to teach elementary students how to draw and thus produced a nation of designers and creators. Then along came Dewey with his laizzre faire let the child do what he wants attitudes that he infused into our schools and teacher's philosphy. Now kids and adults believe they cannot draw and as for for our creators...where are they!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

dragonfly --I think you are right. A fellow hubber recently convinced me of the same thing -- that with a proper instructor and lots of practice, I could have become a decent, if not good, drawer. I kept thinking about it and finally wrote a hub. :)

I was not aware of the connection between no longer teaching elementary students to draw and the impact that had and is still having on designers. And you are right, most of us grow up convinced we cannot draw and that w are not creative. Seems like Dewey created a number of problems for us. :(

Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Larry -- It is a great tragedy for children (and young adult) that so many teachers either do not recognize or do not vale the various talents we all have. Some of the examples you gave from your life apply to my younger brother and two of my three sons. They did not have an easy time in school at all. It takes so little effort to listen to and watch a child, figure out what their gifts are and then encourage them. Children who are encouraged are easier to work with anyway; they are far less likely to be discipline problems. When will we ever learn?

The talents and abilities you have are so important (you left out that you explain things well and write well) I think it is amazing and admirable that you discovered your talents against such terrible odds. :) Thanks so much for commenting. Theresa

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This is a very interesting hub.

Very illuminating, I also believe everyone have a special gift, the problem is finding out what your particular gift is.

Parents and teachers should invest a little more time and effort into identifying and nurturing individuals strengths and abilities, because they rarely see themselves as gifted, only finding out later in life accidentally. great write, voting up

Vincent Moore 4 years ago

Every single human being has a talent. It just needs to be brought out of some tenderly. You've shown in this magnificent hub how this can be achieved. Your pictures were eyecatching and magnificent. I to as a young man was discovered by my Mentor to have a talent for acting and drawing. He helped me develop it, but like most young teens, had to many other things on my mind, for me it was "girls" ha ha. However as I grew into a responsible adult with some education behind me. My thoughts wandered back to my roots. I picked up the chalk and went back to the drawing board. Although I have laid it aside for awhile I look forward to standing before my easel once again and letting it entice me to lay colour upon it's white canvas before me.

Fortunately my Mentor now my Muse has entered my heart and soul and brought forth poetry, it was just a recent occurrence, as early as two years ago. Now I spend most of my time writing poetry, yet I want to draw again and plan on doing so. Thank you for sharing this very stirring and informative write. Yes there are certainly many talented people out there like yourself. I'm glad your husband finally listened and changed the frame, look at all the money you made from it from your artistic eye. LOL

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning tobusiness. I am glad the hub resonated with what you already know, that each of us is gifted and talented. I do think it is unfortunate that all parents and teachers do not see the value in encouraging and developing the strength's and abilities of children and young people. This rigid, uncreative "teaching to the standardized test" approach we have adopted in the US is terrible. It is one of the quickest ways to stomp out enthusiasm and individual creativity. I wish I was in charge. :)

Thank you for your encouraging comments and the votes. :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

You know PHDAST you're right everybody is good at something.. everybody has that certain talent.. what a great idea for a hub too.. creative.. yeah? LOL thanks for sharing

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. This was a fantastic read and the pics great. I do believe like you do that everyone has some creativity in them and they should find an outlet for it. Your hub shows great creativity and looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Passing this on.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Vincent –- Such a kindness you have extended to me – to take my hub and respond to it seriously and eloquently. I hoped the pictures were a god match with the content of the hub, but you never know how other people will see things. I am more than happy with your generous assessment of “eye-catching and magnificent.” :)

I am so glad you found a mentor at a relatively young age who could encourage your drawing and acting. Oh, do pick up the chalks again and lay color on canvas and then share your creations with us. My Bopcia (Polish grandmother) began with chalks and did some marvelous things. I will never forget going to her house as a young girl and studying the series of Bible stories she done in chalks. My favorite was David and Goliath.

How amazing that you only started writing poetry two years ago. I would never have guessed. “Thank you for sharing this very stirring and informative write.” Thank you for such encouraging and affirming comments. We are no longer together, but I am grateful that my husband facilitated my realization about my “artistic eye.” What a good way to describe it. :) I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Theresa

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

My dear Theresa! This is so marvelous. I love to encourage people to recognize their own natural creativity and to "own" their unique styles! Each person "has" something no one else in all the world has - a personal perspective and esthetic sense, though its nature may not easily fit into a groove already worn and fillled! The epiphany of knowing what one's own really IS, outshines all other realizations.

My mother was an artist as well as a woman of education. She received two degreees simultaneously from the University of Chicago and the Chicago Art Institute in 1917. Dad's degree was practical, though he appreciated art and music.

But he thought one must have a practical degree and so tended to discourage us from pursuing our various artistic leanings as career choices. Seemed like it produced combination right and left brained offspring! :-)

I've never had a lack of creativity - in many areas - but the confidence to value them as important was more difficult for me.

What a fine teacher you are, to include this among your other fine lessons for your students! WOW!!

And I love the story of the matting and framing of your husband's artistic work! What a discovery for you both!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Absolutely, Frank. We are all good, really good, at something, often several somethings. It is a sadness to me that our cultures and societies tend to celebrate such limited areas of accomplishment. It troubles me that in America we promote practical degrees (primarily business) as superior to Liberal Arts Degrees.

But it is often in a liberal arts curriculum and course that students discover their passion, what they love, what they were born to do. I will never forget sitting in my fourth history course as a Junior with a professor I had never met before, Dr. Thomas Keene. I hadn't wanted to take the course - China! Give me European history.

By the end of the first class I was captivated. By the end of the second class I knew who I was, what I could and should do with my life. As I gathered my books to leave that day, I said to myself, "I want to do what he does and I will be very good at it." I wasn't arrogant or boastful, I just knew that I knew that I knew. This kind of eureka moment can't happen unless we encourage our students to study in many different disciplines. Sorry for the mini essay. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh Gypsy, what a wonderful and encouraging comment. It is responses like yours that make the hours spent writing and selecting and rearranging all worth it. :) We are all creative, its just a matter of discovering our gift or talent and then using it. Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing. Theresa

mours sshields 4 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

Great and encouraging hub! I believe that everyone has talents and gifts Too many people cut themselves down. That's a shame.

It's wondeful that you try to encourage your students as much as you do! Very useful hub!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I was reading your article and saw myself in your writing. I have ventured out and tried several career choices, and most I did master at some point. However, I didn't really click with many of them and it left me feeling discouraged. I believe that you must try those doors in order find your true passion and purpose. Thanks for the encouragement. You have come a long way and have much to show for your journey. Great hub and voted way up!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

mours -- I appreciate your comments. It is sad and unfortunate how many people cut themselves down and don't recognize or appreciate the gifts ad talents they have. I had a handful of incredible teachers at different point in my education and I have tried to emulate them in my classrooms. And besides, every one deserves to be encouraged. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Joy56 profile image

Joy56 4 years ago

I so enjoyed this hub......... We are all creative. I am a recreational therapist, and craft constantly, when i am not working. I have at lasts started art class, and though have not put paint on a canvas as yet, i am exploring the different mediums...tomorrow is my second class, i bought a book about painting flowers today. I hope my art teacher turns out to be as encouraging as you seem to be.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh Nellieanna, I am so glad you liked it. I so wanted it to be encouraging and marvelous, but one never knows exactly what will speak to other people's hearts and souls. How wonderful your mother was educated and an artist; I would imagine she was in the minority for her generation of women.

I can understand your father leaning toward practicality; as the breadwinners, I am sure almost all men did. I love it! Combination left and right brained people are always so interesting and do such unusual things with their lives. And you are right the other struggle so many people have is to value the creative strengths they do possess, which is why it is so important that we encourage and validate one another. :) Of course HP is an excellent place to give and receive encouragement.

I am fond of the framing story myself...on all sorts of levels. :) Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. Theresa

shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

I agree that all individuals have a special talent and its all about recognizing it and nurturing it. As stated, hub is a perfect example of so much talent.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you shiningirish. :) The key is certainly recognizing and nurturing gifts and talents. I so appreciate your comments. :) Theresa

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Theresa, I sure hope most of your students know how very fortunate they are to have you as a teacher, and 20/20 hindsight for the rest! How very good it is to read about your encouragement growing up. Everyone can't play guitar like Eddie Van Halen and not all of us are masters with the ceramics, but every person has uniqueness --somewhere inside them. There are indeed all kinds of creativity and talent within us as your wonderful story about the photo and all makes so very clear.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Thank you, Theresa. No - we never know what will speak to another's awareness, but it's important that we speak what is in our own! You always do so beautifully.

By the way, Daddy was also raised a Mennonite. As a group, they are not 'flashy' and they play down artsy things, except in practical 'arts', such as sewing, cooking, gardening. etc. But they value - or at least I know his family did value - education. The funny thing is that it was he who most encouraged Mother to get her education and 'go for it'!, though it was her own strong impetus which accomplished it! She was something of a rarity in those days, to be sure. She was not raised Mennonite, though she attended their schools with him, after he had taught her for two grades. He was only 2 grades ahead of her, but was an exceptional student and was allowed to go out into the rural area and teach, where she was among his pupils. Almost halfway down this page in my "Attic" is a picture of Daddy as the teacher at her school in 1910, among other mementos of their school days.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning teaches. I think you are right, we often have to walk through a number f doors before we find the one that is meant for us.I am so glad if I can be even a little encouraging, I have certainly needed and had encouragers along the way on my journey. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the lovely comments and votes. I hope you have a great week. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Joy - Good for you, taking art classes. That is something I never did because I was so sure I wasn't artistic. I wonder how much we miss out on for simply not giving it a try? I am sure your teacher will be encouraging and full of insights. Thank you for the generous comments. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

That's very kind of you Alastar. Some of them realize I am not the typical history professor and some don't. Some of them don't know they even liked my approach, until the have to take history woth someone else - then they come back and say sweet things. :) Your Van Halen comment "almost" hurt, but I am way past that. :) As fortune and DNA would have it one of my brothers is a good guitarist and drummer. my sister played the piano, my other brother plays piano, bass and electric and acoustical guitar. It is really good I discovered my color/spatial thing, or I would be depressed all the time. :) Thanks for the read and the comments. :) Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Nellieanna - You did have unusual influences - your Daddy being a Mennonite. I love the scrapbook page. Such good pictures of both of them and they do look like they belong together. :) No wonder you are who you are with two such parents! :)

Have a wonderful week. :) Ttheresa

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Theresa, and what a wonderful and insightful hub this one is.

I think it's also to recognize that many gifted individuals in the art world (music, poetry, literature and painting) are not usually as good in the coorporate world; the right brain/left brain disccusion. All said, I've always said that the most important thing is for the individual to be interested in what they're doing and this makes them all the better doing it.

Take care Theresa and enjoy your day


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS


It should be noted that he didn't continue in that faith, but lived his life with the moral tenets he learned in it. But he had a major difference of conviction about military duty in WWI which led to a break with it as his belief, though he was always welcomed into their midst. But they left their sphere of influence when they came to Texas. He just avoided formal religions thereafter and told me that 'no church would let him in their doors if they knew what he really believed.' Today, it would probably be very understandable, but in his experience, not so.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello John- I am really glad you liked this one. It just kind of happened without much planning or intention on my part. :) You make a good point, artsy types are seldom good in business, finance, or tings that require organization and planning. Not too many of us are equally left and right brained; we tend to lean toward one brain and skill type or the other. And interest is the key, no matter what we choose to do. Thanks for the great comments. My day was good -- :) -- and I hope your week is going well. :) Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Very interesting life your father lived and that cannot have been an easy thing to do, especially in that time period. :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Everybody has a talent, some just may not realize what it is right away. For me, I am a writer. When I was in the Army, I was once told that I could interview a tree and still make it interesting. And my photography skills, I love getting a certain look. Those are my two talents. I will admit though - I can't draw to save my life. Even my stick figures are hard to look at! :)

SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

We tend to associate the term "Creativity" with the arts. A business man also need a creative mind to generate ideas that contribute to his success.Creativity is also associated with innovation. A scientist or inventor creates a new device or process in the lab. Is he not also an artist? But creativity can also be use for the wrong reasons. Think of the Bernie Madoffs, whose financial wizardry cause the ruin of many. Or the Oppenheimers who develop the atomic bombs drop in Hiroshima and the AR-15s use in Aurora. Maybe they should have stuck to quilting.:)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I loved your 'creative epiphany'! If only more people could have one to realize what their abilities truly are. How fortunate your students are to have someone who understands there is often more inside of us than we know or are willing to let out!

Voted this up, useful, and interesting.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

phdast7: I'm Nanny to my grandchildren this week so just briefed this obviously delicious hub. Want to go back next week and spend more time on it. But at a glance it is beautiful. I'm going to have to find your source for these amazing pictures. So many of them are simply beautiful. I liked what teaches12345 said, "I saw myself in your writing." No higher praise!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

A lovely hub--a creative epiphany indeed. It's wonderful that you encourage your students to think outside the box and help them to understand more about creativity! I enjoy exploring all sorts of creative opportunities from hands on stuff and such to mental gymnastics that help me look at a topic/issue from many angles. You do your students a huge favor by encouraging them to think about creativity at their ages.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi barbergirl - Your time in the Army sounds like it was a great experience. I am an Air Force brat, so I can kind of relate. There are so many types of creativity and talent. I am so glad to hear that like me, you can't draw either. :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

SilentReed - You are so right, we tend to forget about all kinds of innovation. I can't actually think of a job or profession that doesn't require creativity or some special talent. Th Bernie Madoffs are pretty depressing. :( We all have something; we just need to discover it and use it. :) Your comments are full of some excellent examples. Thank you so much. :)

That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

If everyone was creative in the same way the world would be a boring place and no one would seem to be creative at all. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello That Grrl - That is an excellent point. I never thought about it exactly that way before. The world would be boring wouldn't it? Thanks for the comments. Hope you are having a great week. :)

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Wonderful hub. I think another reason a lot of people think they are not artistic or crafty because they don't try things. Maybe they try once and it's hard, and they are not satisfied with the results, so they assume they have no talent. What they don't realize is that most people who are good at those things have practiced and honed their skills. Besides if you don't try different thing you may never discover that one thing you really excel at.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello tillsontitan -- So very nice to hear from you. I rather enjoyed my epiphany? Both at the time and in retrospect writing about it. :) I will be sure and tell all my students that you said they are fortunate to have me. :) It works both ways, I am so fortunate to have them... there are so many jobs I would dislike or dread doing, but this jibm this career, I love. It feeds me, rather than drains me. Such a blessing! Thank you for the lovely comments and for the follow and fan mail. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen -- Which means of course that you will be having a wonderful week, but also a very busy week with two sweet little ones underfoot and in lap.:) Next time we get together I will tell you where I get all my pictures. I started to do a hub about it once, but then seven other hubs got in the way. :)

Jimmy finished the garage two weeks ago. (I love it and it was worth every penny.) He and a buddy were at the house this morning putting gutter guards on. He said to be sure an tell you he said hello next time I saw you, so Hello. :)

Next week, or if and when you have time to peruse this hub, maybe also take a look at my most recent one which is based on a Hub I wrote many months ago, James Watkins lengthy comments, and my lengthy response to him. I got his permission before doing just took me awhile to get around to finishing it up and posting it.

Enjoy your time with the grandchildren. Maybe we can do our lunch / HBO series preview in the next ten days or so before I start teaching full-time again on August 14. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

God Evening RT - I love epiphanies in general and probably creative ones most of all. :) I also love being outside the box, so naturally, I want my students to join me there. You are so right, craft work and gardening and mental gymnastics are all important and should keep us going at our best a little longer. I certainly hope so. Thanks for the comments. Hope everything is well. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Sherry - I think you may be right. That was and is certainly true about me and my drawing phobia. Everyone one around me seemed "so good" at it, I never really practiced. And I certainly didn't study drawing. And how sad not to discover what you really like and are perhaps quite good at. Thanks for the comments. :)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

Very well thought out and useful hub. We are all creative in different ways. But experience, whether in this life or former lives, plays a part.We mostly sow what we reap although the divine can, an does intervene at times.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good afternoon manatita ~~ Thank you for your generous and kind comments. Experience is so important to our development, both creative and otherwise. :) We do reap what we sow, and thankfully God does intervene from time to time to spare us our just recompense. Thank you for stopping by. Take care. :)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

Happy to serve.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

manatita -- What a generous attitude. We should all respond like that. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

I feel your spirit, phdast7. I will stick my neck out here and say that God has given you much. Human nature cannot grow and does not grow without selfless service. You are doing a great job here. I commend you highly.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you manatita -- What a thoughtful and generous comment. God has blessed me greatly, not that there are not very hard places and deep losses in every life, but He walks with us. I appreciate your encouragement so much. I trust your weekend is going well. :)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

Yes. Thanks for your good wishes for 'A Moment's Peace'. We had present: Bob Beamon, Carl Lewis, Tegla La Roupe, Mohammed Ali's daughter - spoke eloquently - Desmond Tutu's daughter; Nelson Mandela's CEO; Martin Luther King's daughter; Jesse Owen's daughter, and a host of past and present Olympians, mayors, inter-faith and other dignitaries. The ceremony was beautiful and truly inspirational.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

That sounds wonderful. When I looked at the program information you sent, I meant t tell you that once I was fortunate enough to hear Bishop Desmond Tutu speak in person. I attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and Bishop Tutu was occasionally a guest speaker.

About 8years ago, as an alumnus of Emory they sent me two tickets to attend a colloquium where he was speaking. Very moving. I was so glad I got to hear him. :)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london


A great speaker and a brilliant mind. I heard him via a large screen link-up. He sent very powerful messages of support.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 4 years ago from Midwest

What an amazing hub! I agree, I often hear people say "I'm not creative like you" and I think, well I wasn't either when I started learning to do new things. Creativity is a process and something that evolves - not something you just are or aren't. Even highly analytical people can be creative problem solvers etc. I agree, we are all creative in our own ways :). I love the story with the frame and picture. My grandfather was a contractor, but had an amazing natural eye for color. He could look at any color just once and go and mix a can of paint for walls to match - without a sample! It was truly amazing and a highly creative skill. :) great hub! voted up and across.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Christin. What an amazing and much appreciated compliment. :) And I think you are right, far too often we don't invest enough time in learning to be good at something; we want results now, and don't view things as a process, which most things are. I love analytical creative problem solving; it is wonderful to do, but it is also wonderful to watch someone else's mind at work. :) Your grandfather did have a fabulous eye for color. How amazing! Thant you for the votes and the encouragement. :)

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hello Theresa,

We have had a gifted and talented program in the UK education system for many years now.

There always seems to be approx 5% of the cohort that fall into this category.

It is a rather narrow band of subjects that are selected.

The other 95% of the cohort obviously have gifts and talent which is not currently being recognized here.

For example. I taught a chap named Dylan Mills. He was considered school phobic. He wasn't, he just had other plans.

You may have heard of him as 'Dizzy Rascal' look him up.

He is the top British Rapper.

I heard his music first. Just him, his music teacher and me in a little recording booth, in school.

He asked my opinion of his music. I said to him.

'You have got something good there Dylan'

Very teachery lol But he did have something, and Boy, was I right or what!

He's a megastar now.

I can take no credit for his achievements. Just another one who would have been consigned to the wastebasket of educational failures.

Voted up and as always stimulating.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Evening Michael -

I didn't know about the gifted program in the UK educational system. I just hate that the non-typical gifted and talented young people are ignored for the most part, both over here and over there. :(

That is such a great story about Dylan Mills. I will go on You Tube and look up some of Dizzy Rascals" work. :)

I think you do deserve credit! How often do students fail for lack of an encouraging word or two. Teachers are, or certainly should be, encouragers. :) Thanks for your comments and votes. Take good care. :)


Lovelovemeloveme profile image

Lovelovemeloveme 4 years ago from Cindee's Land

Beautiful hub. Talent has no limits and is abundance. I too agree everyone has some degree of creativity. Just some more in one area, others in another. It's like intelligence or success or happiness. Comes in many different shapes or/and forms.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you loveme. You make a great and valid comparison - intelligence, success, happiness. Thank you for stooping by and commenting. Have a great day. :)

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

As a professional artist, I often hear people say the are not creative, or wish they had talent. Sure the is an innate interest and aptitude, but it must be developed diligently. Talent? You do what you do. It is all work and routine just like anything else. Sure, musicians have their glorious moments, but they do not come without intense study and sacrifice. i suppose you must enjoy the activity to produce good work. There is a lot of grunt work involved.

I think of the engineers I supported with graphics at Harris Corporation. We like to peg them as strictly utilitarian types. As a matter of fact, the researchers I worked for were crazier than any artist. They live in the abstract and are brilliant enough to see their vision realized in the concrete. If you have a computer, a cell phone, or use the internet . . . they envisioned that when they only sold American made products at Walmart.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

WD - I couldn't agree more with your assessment. To my mind there are two major problems. (1) We define creativity far too narrowly. and (2) As you so aptly pointed out, very few people embrace the discipline, practice, and sheer work of perfecting an artistic skill or talent. I have known a couple of engineers ad they have amazing minds. :) Thanks for commenting. Have a great week. :) Theresa

Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Great hub! I was also one of those people who thought I was not creative because I couldn't draw and I still can't.

I call myself a late bloomer when it comes to creativity but if I look back I have been creative since I was a child. I have a natural rhythm and have loved to dance since I was a little girl.

Have a good evening :)

rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Good Morning, Theresa!

First, I completely agree with you in that everyone has a talent. Bringing it to the surface is the problem.

My wife and I traveled so many avenues with my younger daughter to help her discover her hidden talent that it was virtually impossible to keep up with. What finally came to the surface would not make a parent proud in most cases (nor was it one learned at home), but is definitely a talent that is appreciated in Washington, D.C.

She, like most politicians, is a twister of the truth. She'll admit it, unlike those we elect. And, she's tremendous at it! Am I bragging, no. But, if there is anything that has surfaced over the years it is that fact. It's sad that she travels this route, but, no matter how we tried to help her correct this issue, she always found it easier to tell a person what they wanted to hear and deal with it later.

Sometimes the talent you seek to discover is not always one wished found.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Sue - I think there are a lot of us who were expected to draw in some class, couldn't, and then went along under that negative assumption for years. Many of us, like you, are late bloomers. How wonderful that you have recognized the musical and rhythmic gifts you always had, Hope your week is going well. :) ~~~Theresam

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh dear, Rich - Not the happy, positive, success story I was looking forward to hearing about. I am so sorry, I am sure that is very disappointing. Especially in light of the fact that you and your wife tried so hard to help her find and develop other gifts and talents. Truth be told, my middle son struggles in this area. He is charming, funny, can tell a great story. But he is inclined to tell a story to avoid a difficulty or hassle. Not a good characteristic when it comes to building relationships.

You know, they have no idea how lucky they are that we love them in spite of their flaws! :) Theresa

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I am still chuckling over this article. This is a classic, Theresa! Of course, we are all unique and each one of us has a gift of our very own to give the world. We just have to find out what it is. LOL Thanks for a great read and very enjoyable article!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Well,, thank you suzettte. The trickis finding out what our gift is, isn't it. Any time I can write a classic that also makes you chuckle. I figure I have accomplished a good thing. :) Have a great day. :) Theresa

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Theresa, what an interesting hub. I cannot draw :o) If I have a 'talent', I have yet to discover it but I do consider myself a very creative person - never happier than when I am creating an article, writing a poem, playing my guitar, piano or ukelele or cooking something yummy. I'm not talented at any of them; I can carry a tune and that's about it but I just love doing them and that is good enough for me. Hub Pages has helped me rediscover my writing and I am grateful every day for that. I have read your 'heritage' hubs, all very good too :o)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Jools. You and I are in the same boat. We do a lot of different things reasonably well but we are not "gifted/talented" perhaps in the traditional sense. But actually, I think that was my point, the old definition is too narrow and leaves out all kinds of creativity, which I think we both have. And you are certainly a talented writer. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting. Take care. ~~ Theresa

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

Great hub. My mother always said that she was not artistic, so I would not be either - and I believed her. Of course, you do, don't you?

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi DreamerMeg - We do so readily believe our parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers when we are young. Sometimes they male a lasting and negative impact upon our sense of self, and surely most of the time they do not mean to, but there it is. Thanks so much for stopping to read and comment. :)

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

How did I miss this one!!! Most people, especially young people don't recognize their own talents. It would help to ask their friends, but no doubt their friends aren't in your classes. A young person who makes it all the way to college by definition must have myriad talents. Good for you for enncouraging their discovery of them.

And I say picking the right mat and frame takes as much artistic ability as getting a frame-quality picture. It's just a different skill set.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen -- Don't know how you missed this one. :) Good point -that often friends are unable or unavailable to encourage young adults in recognizing their talents. Thank you for validating and encouraging me in my mat-frame skill set. :) Great comments. :)

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"Tell me what talents or creative abilities you have and then tell me which ones you would like to have.” Year after year, in class after class, the results are both depressing and very telling." - And as depressing as they may be, You do this year after year. I applaud your resilience!

"I tell them that there are no talent-less, gift-less, or un-creative people." - Awesome! I tell people myself that we are actually all mutants/super-heroes so, each one of us has to work at finding out our own special powers! : )

I found Mr. Rcrumple's comment about his daughter interesting. It reminded me of the story of the "Two Wolves" ( - I do wish I have not linked it previously for You ... I am starting to lose track of what I sent to whom. My apology if I just repeated myself.

I don't really know what to say on the topic of telling people what they want to hear because it is the easier way out. If I am to take the easy way out of a situation, that means I would be weak and in need of an easy road. Perhaps that is a way in which I have tricked the Ego into welcoming challenges and only backing up in order to gain a better footing to go forward.

I remember being bummed-out when I began thinking of leaving the university studies. I felt like I was done there even though I did not have a clear degree finished and I went to speak to one of my philosophy professors who was a pillar of support for me for many years.

He wished me then that I "will find a way to use my talent". I never asked him what my talent was? I never thought about my talent(s) then and I was curious what talent he was talking about. I may still be somewhat. The paradox is, as much as I was or may still be curious, I have the possibility in asking him what he meant ... yet, I actually no longer care. I found my trail now and slowly making my way along.

Thank You for yet another great read, Mrs. Theresa!

All the best.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning White Wolf -- Thank you for the link. Like you I forget which songs, which poems, which links I have sent to which friends and family members, Your professor was often we tell people to focus on a specific career that should lead to wealth; how much better and more affirming to encourage people to search out work, projects, work that make use of our natural talents and gifts. We will be so much more contented and so much more of a blessing to those around us.

I believe it is a sign of maturity and of being who and where you are meant to be that you have no need to ask him for the specifics of what he meant. The world would be a much better place if more people had come to the place you have. I am well aware of how fortunate and blessed I am to be earning my living doing something that I both find meaning in, love doing, and am good at, all at the same time. :) I know so many people who never seem to have all three components at the same time. Very tragic.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. We are down to low eighties in the daytime and low seventies at night -- I have become a much nicer person. :) Take good care. Theresa

John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 4 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

An excellent story phdast7. Our eldest daughter had a story published when she was 10, but put it down to pure luck and hardly wrote a thing after that - but she has found the talent that she enjoys; looking after the mentally deranged.

Her younger sister found her talent early on; animals. She is still looking after animals 30 years later and ironically, she is now getting commissions as an artist, to paint portraits of dogs and other pets.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I appreciate your kind comments John. Each ofour children takes a different and unique path don't they? Its always fascinating (and meaningful of course) to watch them develop. Have a great week. :)

Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


I enjoyed reading this very well written interesting hub. You are absolutely correct that we are all creative and talented in different ways. When I was younger, I first thought that I could become a doctor, and then after failing to get into med school, that I could get at least a Master's Degree in chemistry. Only when I got into grad school did I really start to come to grips with the reality that even though I loved chemistry, I didn't have the talent to do research and get a Masters. I really didn't find my talent until I started learning Chinese and working teaching EFL and ESL. Voted up as interesting and sharing.

DON BALDERAS profile image

DON BALDERAS 4 years ago

Everybody is creative and talented. Only they vary. I have always affirmed it.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Yes they are, Don. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Happy Holidays. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Paul - Your life narrative is like so many others I am aware of . . . so often when we are young, it really isn't clear to us yet what we will be good at or what we will genuinely love doing. It is such a blessing and privilege when those two come together. I think this is especially true of teaching where the pay can be low and many of the hours are tedious (grading, for example), but the experience of teaching, for the right person, can be both challenging and full of joy. :) Been teaching college level history for 18 years and I still love it. :) Have a wonderful Christmas in Bangkok. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article