Creativity isn’t as mysterious as you think.
But it is a challenge.
Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
And yet, our fast-paced, career-minded, society has largely abandoned creative play.
Many companies have removed games from work computers and blocked interactive websites. But by grasping work too tightly have we lost the productivity that we seek? Albert Einstein believed creative fun was related to learning, effectiveness, and inspiration. I absolutely love what Hugh MacLeod had to say about our creative side,
“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”
Writing and Taking Breaks
(Why We Need Dancing Hamsters)
For that reason, it doesn’t seem odd to write this post after a post on goals. I’ve discovered that laser focus is wonderful when it happens, but it isn’t always possible. When your focus is on the fritz, many people have discovered that taking a walk, watching a show, or going out with friends is completely acceptable.
Allow yourself a break. Don’t browbeat yourself for a non-productive moment. You’ll likely short-circuit your creativity trying to be super-industrious.
Need proof? A recent study from the University of Illinois shows that brief diversions may increase focus and improve work performance. According to Alejandro Lleras, a professor at the university’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, attention doesn’t just run out after a lengthy period of focus. Instead, he likens it to a gas tank, which needs to be refilled during short breaks.
He went on to say, “We propose that deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,” he said. “From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”
I’ve been reading additional related research which I may share in another post. But for now I want to you to take a break. Not a long one. Not a distraction, but rather to pry open a door for inspiration.
Below are some quotes on inspiration, writing, and creativity. Below them are the folks who said them, but not in the correct order. Your challenge is to match up the quotes with the people who said them. Since we are all quotable at times, one of them is even by me. I think that a few are obvious, but maybe they’re not.
I challenge you not to simply use a search engine. Although, I have shared some of these on other posts or on my Twitter feed. So searching either of those is acceptable. I will post the correct answers on Wednesday.
If you want to make sure you don’t get overly productive and miss that post, you might want to sign-up for email updates.
The Quote List
- “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
- “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
- “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
- “If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or, “I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
- “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
- “I’m a writer and, therefore, automatically a suspicious character.”
- “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”
- “This is the sixth book I’ve written, which isn’t bad for a guy who’s only read two.”
- “I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
- “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”
- “Don’t be an “aspiring” writer. Be one today. Be a better one tomorrow. If you don’t say it, no one else will.”
- “I don’t dream at night, I dream all day; I dream for a living.”
- “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”
- “Humor is not the opposite of seriousness it is the opposite of despair.”
- “Fear is a poor chisel with which to carve out tomorrow.”
Can you match these quotes with the people who said them?
The Quotable List
- Andy Andrews
- Steven Wright
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Ray Bradbury
- Oscar Wilde
- Scott Adams
- Peter D. Mallett
- Isaac Asimov
- Dr. Seuss
- George Burns
- Mark Twain
- Thomas Edison
- Stephen Spielberg
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Conrad Hayes
As an added bonus on Wednesday, I will provide the quiz portion of this challenge as a downloadable PDF document so that you can easily print it out and have your literary friends try their hand at the challenge without having to be on the computer, or having the distraction of the internet. I hope this challenge helps you make other connections and stimulates many new ideas. Write on!