Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
There’s no shortage of smart people in the world. But there is a shortage of creative people in the world. Thinking is the hardest and most valuable task any person can perform. Don’t stifle it, encourage it. Remember, there’s no correlation between IQ and creativity.
Why aren’t more people creative? Sometimes people are afraid of trying something new and getting ridiculed for it. Sometimes people don’t believe that something could be better so they don’t bother trying to be more creative.
Whatever the reasons, the biggest risk can sometimes be not taking a risk.
In the book “The Creative Executive,” Granville Toogood says that we are by nature creative, but most of us fail to recognize our creative potential. We race through our careers often never recognizing that creativity is as important to business as DNA is to evolution. And when creativity pops up around us we are often quick to mock it. Corporate cultures talk creativity, but the herd favors mediocrity, he says.
How can you improve your life? If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re only going to keep getting what you already have. To get a better life, you need to do something different, and it all starts with being creative.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” That particular piece of wisdom is from the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.
What may seem obvious for a software engineer at Apple seems utterly amazing to me. Who would have ever imagined the power of the Internet? Twenty years ago, who would have ever imagined that you could have the entire Internet in your hand?
Certainly, great artists, writers and composers come to mind when the discussion turns to creativity. But did they all create something new? Artists work with the same three primary colors plus black and white. Writers all start with the same 26 letters. Beethoven and the Beatles used the same musical notes.
In all those cases, they’ve taken the familiar in a different direction. They didn’t reinvent the wheel. They just changed the wheel’s course.
Anyone can do it. Being creative is not the same as being original – that is, you don’t have to start from scratch to be creative. Consider this advice:
How’s this for a creative approach? A man bet a friend that he could make a million dollars selling rocks. After his friend took him up on that offer, he packaged rocks in cardboard cartons that looked like pet carriers, filled them with straw, and called them Pet Rocks. Do I need to tell you that he made more than a million dollars?
Mackay’s Moral: “Creative genius” is a misnomer – you don’t have to be a genius to be
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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