The Principles of Creativity

Creativity is largely a matter of effort. The mind is like a muscle; it grows with use and atrophies with lack of use. Muscles do not develop automatically without a planned program. As with an athlete, if you don’t practice, your mind grows flabby and out of shape.

Quantity is essential to quality in the creative process.  Embrace the principle that quantity is the shortest possible distance to quality. Scientific evidence suggests that it is only a maximum of 6% of ideas that are good. So how many ideas must you generate to get one good idea? And how many good ones must you generate to get a great one? The conclusion is obvious: The more the better.

Results of which are good, bad or indifferent are welcome. Don’t pass judgment at the outset of the creativity process; you have go to withhold it. Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. Therefore list every conceivable idea you can as to how the problem might be solved. Be sure to defer judgment while doing this. Then, after you have mentally exhausted listing alternatives, go back and apply judgement in selecting the one(s) you feel have the most potential.

Incubation generates illumination. Put your ideas on the back burner. Put time between thinking of ideas. Then don’t be surprised when a moment of inspiration of how to complete it arrives! Putting ideas on the back burner allows them to simmer like a soup.

Group effort stimulates creativity if you learn how to listen. We are trained to speak but not to listen. It has been said that there is a reason why humans have been given two ears and only one mouth. Listening is a crucial activity yet one we devote so little effort to improving.


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