Paul was majoring in zoology at college. One semester he took a course in the study of birds – ornithology. For the final exam, Paul studied until he had the textbook nearly memorized. He knew his class notes backward and forward. He was eager to take the exam, certain of getting a good grade.
The morning of the exam, Paul took a seat in the front row of the big auditorium where the class was held. Over 100 students were in the class with him. On a table at the front was a row of 10 stuffed birds, each one with a sack covering its body so that only the legs were visible.
The professor announced, “For this test, which counts for 80 percent of your final grade, I want you to identify each bird up here by its legs, and then discuss its species, natural habitat, and mating patterns. You may begin.”
Paul stared at the birds. All the legs looked the same to him. After spending half the exam period in growing frustration as he tried to determine which bird was which, he picked up his exam and threw it on the professor’s desk.
“This is ridiculous!” he shouted. “I studied the textbook and my notes all night, and now you’re asking me to name these birds by looking at their legs? Forget it!”
The professor picked up the exam booklet and saw that it was blank. “What’s your name, young man?”
With that, Paul yanked one leg of his pants up. “Why don’t you tell me?”
Paul’s response probably didn’t earn him a passing grade, although I must admit, I admire his creativity!
“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea,” said English psychologist Edward de Bono. “Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more interesting.”
Everyone is born with the ability to be creative, but some people seem to lose it as they grow older, whereas others are better at accessing their creativity throughout their lives. Studies show that there is no correlation between IQ and creativity.
Here’s how to regain or retain your creative spark:
Creativity isn’t just a process. It’s a value. If you value success, get creative!
Mackay’s Moral: It only takes a little spark to ignite a great fire.
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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