Personal Development

The three pillars of creativity

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There are hundreds methods to boost one's creativity and to reach the new ideas or solutions. Not all of them can be applied all the time and not all of them are equally successful. Some of them are based on group or team effort. Others rely on tools, like mind mapping software or sets of cards.

However, our creativity is in ourselves, being creative is actually very easy, and we don't need much to be able to use it productively.

3_pillarsDo it alone

While team-based creativity methods, like brainstorming, can do much to boost our creativity and lead to new ideas and solutions, our most creative times are when there is no one there to distract us. Archimedes was alone (at least history doesn't mention anybody else) in a bath when he jumped shouting "eureka". Newton lay alone below the tree when apple fell on his head. Even in successful collaborations such as those of Gilbert and Sullivan, Simon, Garfunkel, Lennon, and McCartney there was only one (main) composer. Remember that no symphony has ever been written at a meeting of musicians.

While teamwork is still useful and sometimes unavoidable in case of cross-functional problems, we are more successful in finding a solution when we work alone. So, set aside time when you can be alone and not be disturbed by anyone. Since those times are rare and hardly found, be careful not to waste them to a routine work but instead devote them completely to some creative work.

Do it with available tools and materials

You don't need that fancy new camera with zillions of features to be creative. Indeed, lot of those who own them are not, but that's another story. Creativity can be expressed with any tool available at the time. There are many groups of enthusiasts who are committed to create wonderful pictures using only film (do you remember that?) or even pinhole camera. In addition, there are lot of innovative works there.

Beethoven advised his pupils to never use the piano while composing. Although sounds radical, this proves that we don't need any tool except a basic recording equipment, to show our creativity.

The newest plug-in for your image processing software will not help you to become more creative. It can even stop your creativity and misguide you in a belief that your work is original when it is merely the result of using a tool in very limited manner. Not all sculptures made if Italian marble are David's. However, there are great sculptures made of nails. The quality of the result depends only on if you know how to use the tool or material in a creative way before you get any of them.

Do it anytime, anywhere

in a bath or under the tree. Good ideas often come to our minds suddenly, without any preparation or effort. To be ready, it is good to have a mean to record everything that comes to your mind. You can use a peace of paper, notebook, palm PC or a voice recorder. It is only important that it is always with you and always ready for use. I use small Moleskin cahiers and a pen. They are very convenient because they fit in any pocket and I don't have to worry if they will broke or stop work. Nabokov was a master of using small peaces of paper and writing at unusual places. He wrote Lolita on a set of index cards, which he used as a portable office while his wife drove him in a car.

There is nothing wrong with having a dedicated working place where you feel comfortable and that helps you to express your creativity more easily. This is particularly true if you need special and not easy movable tools, such as woodworking or sewing machines. However, this is not a reason to be unprepared for those moments of inspiration that can catch you in a bus, in a shop or at the street.

Being conscious about the importance of those three pillars of a creativity will help you to build upon them. After you master them, you can find a good partner, acquire a new tool or setup this fancy workshop and then nothing can stop you anymore.

About the author

grigor coricGrigor Ćorić is the blogger behind the glasses and is continually trying to improve himself in his country of Zagreb, Croatia where he stays with his wife and child.

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Grigor Coric