Creative Thinking Hub

Sharing ideas and resources to help you think more creatively

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Einstein explains why your imagination is so important

We all know that Albert Einstein had one of the greatest scientific minds in history. What many people don’t know, is that Einstein was also a passionate artist, who called upon his artistic imagination to see into the mysteries of the universe and unravel them.

Here’s a quote from The Saturday Evening Post in 1929, which shows the importance Einstein attributed to his artistic imagination:

“I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Yes, it is essential for us to build our bank of knowledge. However, it is just as important to embrace the power of our imagination and develop our creative thinking skills.

Knowledge alone is not enough. As Calvin Coolidge famously said, the world is full of educated derelicts.

Living your dreams?

Those who make a difference — those who improve their lives, their communities and their world, are doers. People of action. Dreams are fantastic, but we need to live our dreams if we want to make them real… if we want to make a difference. This requires intelligent activity.

Chanting to the universe… Cosmic Ordering. These act as a narcotic, to ease the pain of being less than you can be. They distract their advocates from the very real fact that the clock is ticking. They provide an alibi for those scared of doing… after all, it’s not THEIR fault if the universe isn’t listening to them, they say.

Here’s what we know works, from every great artist who has ever lived: Intelligent action is required.

The need for action

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.” – Pablo Picasso

“Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” – Joss Whedon

“You are what you do.” – C.G Jung

“Imagination means nothing without doing.” – Charlie Chaplin

“A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” – Henrik Ibsen

“The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.” – C. S. Lewis

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli.

If you want to make a real difference, you need to get real and start LIVING your dreams.

Cicero offers some great advice to artists and creators

“What one has, one ought to use: and whatever he does he should do with all his might.”
- Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Translate your good intentions into good deeds

The book you intend to read, won’t teach you anything… until you read it.

The book you intend to write, will never be read… until you write it.

Intentions and deeds

It’s wonderful to have good intentions. However, our results are going to be determined on what we do, rather than what we intend to do.

Read the books. Create the art. Translate your good intentions into good deeds.

If you want to be noticed

be so good

It works.

The secret behind the world’s best problem solvers!

This article is about one of the keys to creative problem solving.

It starts with an understanding that the best problem solvers and idea developers, know that most questions have more than one correct answer.

For example, if your question is; how can I write upside down, using a pen and a pad?’, there are lots of correct answers.

These include:

  1. You could spend weeks, months or maybe years, learning how to re educate yourself, so that you can write upside down.
  2. You could simply turn your writing pad upside down and write normally. Then, as soon as the pad is turned the correct way, your writing will appear upside down.
  3. You could grab a pen and write the words ‘upside down’ on your writing pad. This is a play on words, but it’s still a possible answer.

All those answers are correct, depending on what you want to achieve.

  • If the reason for asking that question, was to learn a new skill, then the first answer is what you are looking for.
  • If the reason for asking that question, was to find the fastest way to solve the problem of writing words that appear upside down, then the second answer works.
  • If the reason for asking that question, was to develop a party trick, then the third answer is what you need.

Creative and traditional problem solving

Creative problem solvers search for as many answers as they can find. They then determine which answer is the most valuable to them.

Typical problem solvers look for THE correct answer, as if there were only one. When they find it, they stop looking. The challenge with this approach, is that the first correct answer we find is not always the best answer. It’s just AN answer.

Problem solving tip

Once you have clearly defined your question, keep looking for answers. Aim for at least 5 possible answers. 10 is even better. Then, evaluate the answers and determine the one you believe to be most valuable.


How to unlock your creativity

Maybe the biggest enemy of creative thinking, is the fear of failure. After all, we all want to succeed, to be appreciated and valued.

Therefore, it’s little wonder that we often choose not to develop a new idea or create a new piece of art, when we focus on things like:

  • What if I create something and it flops?
  • What if I create something and people criticise it (or criticise me)?
  • What if I create something and it doesn’t turn out the way I had hoped?

Creativity and the freedom to fail

Those people who are known for the quality and volume of their creative output, choose to frame the idea of failure very differently. They see it as feedback… not failure. They see feedback as useful, rather than seeing failure as frightening.

Here’s how it looks:

  • If they create something and it’s a smash hit, they win.
  • If they create something and it flops, they win… because they learn from it and invest the lesson in their future work. This is also a key to progress and learning!

The only way they can fail with that feedback mindset, is to do nothing. So, they eagerly get their art out there and embrace the feedback.

A huge part of your creative potential can be unlocked, simply by reframing failure as feedback. Give yourself the freedom to fail, knowing that the feedback is invaluable.

PS: Here is an insight into Steve Jobs’ creative mindset.

Video: Where do good ideas come from?

Like many people, I always assumed that great ideas came from a sudden flash of inspiration. Then, a couple of years ago, the author Steven Johnson offered a better theory.

Steven Johnson: Where do good ideas come from?

Moreover, Steven’s theory explains how we can encourage more great ideas and insights, when we embrace what he calls the slow hunch. This insight has allowed me to become increasingly creative and today, I’d like to share it with you.

The following video is taken from a TED talk Steven gave, where he answers the question: where do good ideas come from?

If for any reason you can’t see the video, you can watch it using this link.

The starting point of progress

Raise the bar

All progress starts, with the decision to raise the bar on what you are willing to accept.

Photo credit: Netsnake

The thing about music

Stop what you’re doing and listen to some music!

Music will take you there, wherever you are.

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