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Jim's Gems: Creativity

July 1, 2014
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Have you ever noticed a work of art so impressive that you were in awe of the genius behind its creativity? When thinking of creativity, we might consider people such as Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci, whom many still consider to be among the world’s greatest artists. But they were much more than artists.

Leonardo de Vinci, in addition to being a painter and sculptor of renown, was also a writer, architect, mathematician, engineer, geologist, musician, botanist and inventor. He was filled with curiosity, imagination and creativity. De Vinci left behind visualizations of flying machines, armored vehicles and numerous other creations of anatomy, optics and hydrodynamics.

Certainly Michelangelo and de Vinci are in a league or their own to which very few throughout history have been able to match. However, each of us can be creative in our own unique ways.

Are you as creative as you'd like to be? Most of us are not, but we could be.

The first thing we need to do is get rid of the idea that all creative people are born that way. Michelangelo and de Vinci definitely had something unique, but they were also apprenticed to artisans for years to hone their skills and techniques.

I'm not saying that anyone can learn the genius that these masters used to create. However, we can learn to be creative.

Start by dismissing the old saying, "You either have it, or you don't." How we are raised has a lot to do with it. No matter how we were brought up, when we become an adult, our life is in our own hands, and what we become is up to us.

So, if you want to be more creative, consider the following tips.

The mind is like any other muscle: the more we use it, the stronger it gets, and  the more we are able to use it. The best way to come up with great ideas is to gather lots of ideas and throw all but the best ones away.

It is important to realize that creativity is enhanced by routine and stimulated by doing things a little differently. In fact, creativity is doing something differently. So, shake up your routines if you want to be more creative.

Thomas Alva Edison, arguably the most productive modern inventor with more than 1,000 patents, said that during all his years of experimentation and research, he never once made a discovery based solely on his own creativity. Results were achieved from invention based on theory of others and persistence.

Edison said that most people who give up don’t realize how close they are to success. When inventing an artificial light source, he considered more than 3,000 different theories before hitting on a workable solution. This led to him say that “success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”

The late Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.”

Remember that creativity can be manifested in just about every activity under the sun. You don't have to be an artist, musician or writer to be creative. You can bring creativity into your life no matter what your life is like.

Next week, we will discuss how to make creativity bloom. If you don't already know how, I think you will be surprised by how good it feels!
 

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