I'm going to cite the portion of a book I've already mentioned on here, because the story they tell and the point they draw from it is incredibly valuable — whether you consider yourself creative or not creative:
Teachers, parents, business leaders, and role models of all kinds have the power to either support or suppress creative confidence in those around them. At the right age, a single cutting remark is sometimes enough to bring our creative pursuits to a standstill. Fortunately, many of us are resilient enough to try.
And this is where it gets interesting:
Sir Ken Robinson told us a memorable story about talent that almost went to waste. He was born in Liverpool and made a discovery one day while talking to fellow Liverpudlian Paul McCartney. Apparently, the legendary singer-songwriter had not done especially well in his musical studies. His high school music teacher had neither given McCartney good marks nor identified any particular musical talent in him.
George Harrison had the same teacher and has likewise failed to attract any positive attention in the music class. "Let me get this straight," Sir Ken asked McCartney in amazement, "this teacher had half of the Beatles in his classes and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary!?" Lacking encouragement from the person best positioned to nurture their musical talents, McCartney and Harrison could have played it safe and gone to work in Liverpool's traditional manufacturing and shipping industries. But that "safe" route would have put them in the centre of a downward economic spiral. Liverpool's heavy industry declined precipitously in the following two decades, leading to dizzying unemployment in their hometown.
Do you have creative scars? Has someone ignored, stunted, or altogether obliterated your creative potential? I can remember being criticized by my kindergarten teacher for assembling my creative booklet in what she called "the wrong way." Seriously. I was in kindergarten and received a failing grade on a creative booklet. What kind of teacher does that? To this day, I still struggle with confidence in my ability to do anything within the realm of visual art, and after reading the above quote, I realized that it probably has roots in that first experience with creative shaming and the self-consciousness that resulted in my teacher's assessment of my artistic capability. And from there, there would be many other people along the way who would question creative decisions I made.
Even as I think about it, my history of getting in trouble/kicked out of class for "talking too much" was less of a symptom of me being a disobedient student and more of an expression of the fact that I am a verbal processor and learn most through dialogue — which, believe it or not, is one of the oldest and best forms of education (see Socrates).
I'm sure as you read this, you might be able to instantly recall when and where you experience your creative scars. Well, now's the time for us to reflect on those, and let them go. Move on. Start fresh, and reassess our assessments of our own creative potential.
If you need help with that, read this book.