September 15, 2017

by Mitch Ziems

Creativity.

It can be a daunting topic for those who have been led to believe that because they excel at ‘logical’ thinking that they are less able to be creative.

That’s wrong.

It’s a lie inspired by society’s romanticising of that which entertains, inspires, and awes us. But creativity is not the exclusive domain of the artist. Creativity is one of the key tools with which The 8 Percent, and all those who aspire to be The 8 Percent, have disrupted convention and ascended to the top of their industries, whatever that may be.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some of the key myths that have built a wall between you and your creativity, and start tearing them down.

Creativity is the Domain of ‘Right-Brained’ People

This is as good a place to start as any.

We’ve all heard of this before, I’m sure. The notion that our skills and talents are defined by whether we are ‘left-brained’ – which implies we are scientific, rational, logical – or ‘right-brained’ – creative, emotional, bold.

This myth is founded on the positioning of parts of our brain, but fails to take into account structure.

Creativity relies not on isolated regions of the brain, but an intricate network of synapses and functions that bridges components in unique ways that connect ideas and knowledge in ways we don’t rely on in our day-to-day routines.

In short, creativity is determined by all of our talents and experiences. It relies on everything we see, do, and know, meaning the more mentally diverse you are, the better.

Creative Output Hinges on a ‘Eureka!’ Moment

Archimedes realised how to measure density by drawing a bath.

George de Mestral invented Velcro because he got burrs on his pants after a walk with his dog.

Michael Jackson said the bass line for Billie Jean came to him as if a gift from god.

Yes, the eureka moment is real, but it doesn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, the word itself means “I’ve found it”, implying that is the destination at the end of a journey, not just one stumbled upon by chance.

Archimedes had spent days experimenting with different ideas for how he could determine whether his king’s crown was solid gold.

George de Mestral spent seven years to come up with the common form of Velcro.

Michael Jackson was one of the hardest working, most prolific musicians ever.

Their creations only took form in a single moment because of the untold number of moments that came before in which they didn’t take form.

Don’t wait for your eureka moment. You must work your way to it.

True Creativity Requires a Level of Genius

Writers often lament that any story worth telling has been told before.

Is it true? Possibly. But creativity doesn’t require the genius needed to come up with a whole new story. It only requires that you tell these old stories in new ways.

That’s why Wolfgang Petersen can tell the tale of The Iliad in a blockbuster film nearly 3000 years after the story was developed, or how Disney founded an empire on fairy tales his audience had already heard.

Finding inspiration in the work of others is not a sin. Embrace it, learn from it, and make it yours. Your audience will thank you for it.

It Takes a Certain Personality to be Creative

How can a tale of pain and woe come from a happy creative?

This question has borne one of the most ludicrous romantic images of the creative: the sorrowful, loner poet (who probably has an alcohol problem). In fact, we’ve grown so attached to the image that a recent study found that people were more likely to believe art was valuable if they’d heard it was created by an eccentric artist.

The truth is that even creators who fit this image publicly – Thomas Edison and Douglas Adams come to mind – don’t do so privately. Edison was supported by a team of scientists and engineers he called “the muckers”. Adams, on the other hand, had to be locked in a hotel room by his editor in order to ensure he finished some of his best selling work.

It doesn’t take a special type of person to be a great creator. As we see, it often takes many people, each offering their strengths to ensure positive results.

Create? I Don’t Have the Time

Here’s a graphic featuring the routines of a group of famous creators from across centuries. See what they all have in common?

Routine.

It’s not about what time you have. It’s about what time you can give.

If you want to know what routine looks like for a modern day member of The 8 Percent, look to our founder Leela Cosgrove, who recently had her daily life documented here. If you want to find the time to train your creative ability, you will. Nothing is holding you back but you.

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