Curiosity, confidence, courage: 6 tips and 60 quotes on how you can harness creativityMadanmohan Rao
In a world of speed, change and noise, it is creativity that will help you stand out and get ahead. This book shares valuable insights and quotes that will help you succeed in your creative journey.
Launched in 2012, YourStory’s Book Review section has insights from over 180 titles on entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, leadership, design and digital transformation. Also see our list of Top 10 Books of the Year for Entrepreneurs for 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.
What does it take to tap into your creative side? Published by London-based Arcturus Publishing, 1001 Ways to Creativity is an entertaining and insightful exploration of creativity. The compact book is almost shaped like a cube, and makes for an intriguing reading experience – in some cases, the quote takes up the whole page. Sadly, the authors are not named at all, and there are no pointers to references or other resources.
The 384 pages of the book are spread across eight chapters, and describe the nature of creativity, supporting habits, and workplace practices. Here are my six clusters of takeaways from the book, along with a selection of the excellent quotes provided.
1. How creativity works
The authors explain that creativity helps stoke the imagination, but it is also important to make creativity a habit and convert ideas into reality. Creativity is a combination of innate talent and regular discipline, connections and isolation, sensitivity and stubbornness, faith and doubt, work and play, abstract imagination and hands-on tinkering, dreams and reality, focus and drift, motion and meditation, rest and restlessness, heart and mind, rational and irrational.
Creative professionals view mistakes as springboards and not barriers, and can convert brick walls into pathways; they are not afraid to take risks and step out of comfort zones. Creativity is in the question and not just the answer; it draws from the big picture as well as the tiniest details. It involves staying the course even if there are no immediate results.
Creativity draws from fresh perspectives: not just from discovery, but re-discovery as well. Creativity is an aspiration but also a human need; it is a journey and a destination. Curiosity, confusion and conflict are all a part of the creativity process.
2. Habits for creativity
Habits and practices to nurture creativity include deep observation, questioning assumptions, being less judgmental, going beyond first ideas, note-taking, travel, people-watching, and imagining the life story of people you see (and even from tombstones!).
It also helps to connect to creative people and their works, and visit galleries, museums and exhibitions. Push yourself to generate ideas in long bursts, even if some of them may feel illogical at first – the good ideas will emerge from them, the authors advise.
“The creative person is an expert in having accidents,” they explain. They set conditions for creative collisions so that new ideas can emerge.
3. Emotions and attitudes
True creativity is driven by originality, honesty, sincerity, empathy, enthusiasm, passion, and lack of self-consciousness. It draws from feelings of the heart, and not just logic of the mind. Creativity also requires being comfortable with uncertainty, unpredictability, ignorance, and impermanence.
True creativity entails working for a cause, not just for applause. It searches for the universal in the ordinary and in the individual instance, and vice versa. It calls for engaging in brainstorm and “heartstorm” too; after all, there is a choir of voices in the heart, and not just a single voice.
“The more you feel, the more you will create,” the authors advise. Creativity involves learning new things as well as feeling new things. The final acts of creation evoke a sense of pride. “You will truly be living the dream when you dream for a living,” the authors poetically explain.
4. Creativity in the workplace
Creativity is not just about the self; it is also about encouraging and inspiring others to be creative. In creative teams, everyone is the leader. Continuous improvement, focus without distraction (especially in the age of social media), judicious use of breaks, and proper work-life balance help foster group creativity.
Even commutes can be tapped as sources of creative ideas. “Finding your own way of working is perhaps the most important part of the creative process,” the authors explain. “Lots of people work hard and play hard – but only creative people get to do both at the same time,” they add.
5. The creative spirit
True creativity requires connecting deeply with the inner and outer worlds. It is driven by belief in the transformative power of imagination, despite constraints and limitations all around us. Creativity is inspired by a higher purpose, and not deterred by mistakes along the way.
“There is no such thing as absolute creative success or absolute creative failure,” the authors explain; all creative acts are different, just like snowflakes. They build on contrasts and contradictions.
6. Staying the course
The creative journey also has phases of exhaustion, staleness, mediocrity, despair, doubt, inadequacy, and fear of failure. “Your fear of failure can only be defeated by your desire to succeed,” the authors urge. This involves confronting the first hurdle of the blank page, and then revisiting ideas, retracing steps, and challenging oneself after multiple drafts.
The creative journey can be hard and rough, which requires reaching out for support and guidance from others. Mistakes should be seen as a source of learning for future creative steps.
The authors explain that inspirational quotes can provide motivation in the creative journey. The book is packed with hundreds of beautiful quotes; it would be fitting to end this review with a sampling - 60 quotes - below.
True storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it. – Hannah Arendt
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story in you. – Maya Angelou
Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth. - Rumi
Fiction is the truth inside the lie. – Stephen King
Writing is both mask and unveiling. – E.B. White
Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear – and devils, too. – Graycie Harmon
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin
Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, saute it, whatever. MAKE. – Joss Whedon
The only joy in the world is to begin. – Cesare Pavese
If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. – Toni Morrison
I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done. – Steven Wright
I’m not a good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. – James Michener
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. – Samuel Johnson
A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer. – Karl Kraus
The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. – Marcel Proust
Imagination is the beginning of creation. – George Bernard Shaw
You can’t wait for inspiration. Sometimes you have to go after it with a club. – Jack London
Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. – Neil Gaiman
Fail, fail again, fail better. – Samuel Beckett
If you are not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you are not doing anything very innovative. – Woody Allen
The seed of your next artwork lies in the imperfections of your current piece. – David Bayles
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – TS Eliot
It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation. – Herman Melville
Every creator experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. – Isaac Bashevis Singer
We have to continuously be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. – Kurt Vonnegut
Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. – Mel Brooks
Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself. – Frederick Terral
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. – Henry Matisse
The earth has music for those who listen. – William Shakespeare
A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car. – Kenneth Tynan
You see what you are thinking and feeling, seldom what you are looking at. - Shiqin
To draw, you must close your eyes and sing. – Pablo Picasso
As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight. – James McNeill Whistler
One day we’ll all find out that all of our songs were just little notes in a great big song. – Woody Guthrie
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. – Ernest Hemingway
A piece of art is never a finished work. – Robert Engman
Art is the act of navigating without a map. – Seth Godin
Art is literacy of the heart. – Elliot Eisner
Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere. – G.K. Chesterton
Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. – Bruce Lee
No artist tolerates reality. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Great art picks up where nature ends. – Marc Chagall
True art takes note not merely of form but also of what lies behind. – Mahatma Gandhi
Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self. – Jean-Luc Godard
There’s no retirement for an artist, it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it. – Henry Moore
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Aristotle
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter. – Oscar Wilde
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul. – Henry Ward Beecher
Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn. – Gore Vidal
Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise person to be able to sell it. – Samuel Butler
It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. – Alex Osborn
A writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don’t dare reveal. – Elia Kazan
Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner
Creativity is essentially a lonely art. An even lonelier struggle. – Lou Dorfsman
I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. – Peter De Vries
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see. – Arthur Schopenhauer
Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true – but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife. – Jonathan Schattke
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. – Paul Cezanne
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. – Andre Gide
There is no escape from you. The only way out is in. – Spike Milligan
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. – Albert Einstein
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).