When thinking of the celebrated minds of history for their accomplishments to mankind, the natural reaction is to assume they are highly intelligence with above average IQs. If you were to talk to men such as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and even Jimi Hendrix for his unique gift for guitar playing, they would tell you that the mental component often overlooked is creativity.
To contribute to humanity in the form of insightful information, invention or music, a person must first embrace their ability to create a new beneficial entity to the collective, the entity in creation first comes from your imagination. Intelligence alone cannot manifest into physical form from your imagination. A person needs to hone their skills in creative thinking and creative action.
According to TIME magazine 83% of people believe creativity is important to professional development, but only 25% of people view themselves as creative. The below suggestions might be like second nature to the 25%, but let’s fill in the gap and take a look at some advice from highly creative individuals.
1) Improve Your Natural Talents
Sometimes your natural abilities are hard to detect because they come so easily you can often take them for granted. Making a commitment to enhancing your special skill with discovering your true self, you can excel to higher heights. Jimi Hendrix did have a natural gift with guitar playing, but he also practiced ALL the time. He became a master guitarist because he constantly practiced his craft. His ability to boost his superpower inspired guitarists and musicians for many generations to follow.
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky” –Jimi Hendrix
2) Log Off and Recharge
Taking breaks leads to greater productivity and a higher quality of work versus putting in long hours. It was rumored Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle. Repetitive tasks such as gardening, running, swimming, showering and folding laundry helps to settle the conscious part of your mind allowing the random thoughts of genius to pop into your mind out of no-where. Make sure to write down these thoughts when you have them! They come and go quickly.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― Albert Einstein
3) Trust Your Gut
To access your creative stream, become aware of your initial instincts instead of over analyzing with rationality or with thoughts of what you should do. Apple founder Steve Jobs learned calligraphy after dropping out of Reed College. Jobs’ says, “It all just came to me.” The first Macintosh computer was the first with beautiful typography. The Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts if he never dropped in on that single college course – calligraphy. In addition, Jobs’ interest in Zen Buddhism assisted Jobs with the aesthetic touch that puts Apple products in high demand.
“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny….” –Steve Jobs
4) Follow Your Heart
Our creative gift often becomes clear when we embrace our passions instead of pushing ourselves to conform to fit the picture perfect life envisioned by someone else. Michelangelo was physically abused by his father whenever he stumbled upon him painting instead of performing his duties as a cloth merchant. Author of the best-seller The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, was placed in a mental institution because his parents wanted him to be an engineer. Every person has had the experience of a nagging sensation that will not go away for extended periods of time in our lives – if not forever. Your calling is reaching out to you.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” – Paulo Coelho
5) Pressure is Good
This piece of advice is perhaps counterintuitive to achieving the natural flow of creativity, but sometimes when you do not have the time to over analyze, outburst of creative genius in the form of ideas and actions can come through. Most importantly, a deadline can force a person to finish a project which can be an issue for those who are not self-starters or those who are so creative they lose track of the end goals hoping from unfinished project to unfinished project. Stan Lee is exactly the type of person described above. Stan Lee, the creator of popular stories like the adventures of Spiderman and The X-Men, says he does better when he must rush to meet a deadline and if he is given enough time to complete a project he will wait until its closer to the deadline to complete it.
“I try not to do anything that’s too close to what I’ve done before. And the nice thing is we have a big universe here. It’s filled with new ideas. All you have to do is grab them.” – Stan Lee
6) Dream BIG and Take Risks
In this instance, going with the flow is a negative choice that prevents those big dreams from coming into physical reality. Elon Musk is a man who values taking big risks. Musk co-founded PayPal, created America’s first viable all-electric car company and funded his own space ship to Mars. Elon Musk might be the real-life Tony Stark from the Ironman comic books.
“Don’t just follow the trend. Now is the time to take risks….do something bold, you won’t regret it.” – Elon Musk
7) Rise Above Failure and Setbacks
Overcoming adversity is part of evolving into the best version of yourself. Sometimes we have to fail a few times, or many times, to finally discover our truest creative expression. With virtue alone you will improve just by showing up and aiming for success. Naturally, you will grow. Oprah Winfrey was demoted very early in her career as a news anchor and the reason was due to the belief she did not have the “it” factor needed for TV. She pushed forward and reinvented daytime talk shows into what they are today after a long and successful career as host of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” –Oprah Winfrey
8) Inspiration is Reality
The inspired thoughts that swirl around in our mind from history, nature or other people can invent links to new creations. George Lucas wrote the famous series Star Wars with inspiration from mythology and religious beliefs. The idea behind the force holds strong universal appeal. In an interview with Bill Moyers, George Lucas stated: “I’ve tried to take the ideas, to cut across most cultures, because I’m fascinated by that, I think that’s one of the things that I really got from (Joseph) Campbell (late mythology and culture expert), was to find the common threads through the various mythologies, through the religions.” It is rumored philosophies and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and the Samurai Warrior Code influenced the Jedi model. The main idea of Star Wars was to complete the circle and find a balance between good and evil. The idea of finding balance and raising awareness was known in ancient Egypt as raising the Djed – common day named raising the kundalini. The purpose was to preserve order and repel chaos. In ancient Egypt, the Djed Eye (Jed – I) was a wizard who held the staff of power also known as a wassar staff that contained electrical conducts of power. George Lucas pulled together a large amount of history and invented this world that later inspired others to create gadgets like Ostendo Technologies’ tiny projector to put in phones or watches than can later be turned into a form of holographic communication just like in the Star Wars movies.
“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” –George Lucas