One of the most famous quotes of Einstein is when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Einstein was putting value on creativity here. His theories and ideas were all about creativity. When he made a working box car for his son out of shoe string and some boxes, that was creativity. When he was down and out and needed money and posted an ad for tutoring lessons; that was creativity in making money.
Since Einstein accomplished some of the greatest thoughts of our time, an argument could be made that he was one of the most creative people of all time. You can know more about your product than anyone and have more degrees than anyone you know, but if you don’t have a little bit of creativity to take advantage of what you do have, then it is useless.
Credentials and knowledge will do you little good if you lack the creativity to take advantage of them. Einstein once said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” I think he was being a little humble and a lot humorous here, but he was once again acknowledging the importance of being creative!
So you may ask yourself, “What is creativity?”
That is an excellent question — let’s go straight to the source to answer it. Einstein said, “CREATIVITY is seeing what others see and THINKING what no one else has thought.”
Robert Kennedy said the same thing this way, “I look at things that are and I ask why? I look at things that never were and ask why not?” Robert Kennedy was talking about creativity, just as Einstein was.
So how do you do it? How do you model the creativity of Albert Einstein?
First of all, we need to address the idea of the limiting belief that you are not creative.
There is a prevailing belief that creativity is an inborn trait – you are either creative or you’re not. Well, while creativity is an inborn trait, we are all born with a creative brain (your right cerebral hemisphere) and have many creative skills. Children are naturally curious and eager to explore the world around them and spend hours playing with toys, making up imaginary friends and pretend games. But as we get older, we begin to lose some of our natural creativity as we learn and use more left-brain thinking skills in school and at work. Research shows that our propensity to generate original ideas reduces from 90% at age 5, to 20% at age 7 and even further to 2% as adults! However, unless you have suffered brain damage in your right hemisphere or had it surgically removed, you still have a creative brain; so you are still creative. It’s just that maybe you don’t use your creativity skills as much as you used to.
Now for the good news! You can reawaken your creative brainpower.
What would Einstein tell you in regards to increasing your creativity? Well, we don’t have to guess on that one, because he did tell us. He said, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Develop the curiosity of a child. Leonardo Da Vinci, who is said to be one of the greatest geniuses of all time, also had this creativity. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that Leonardo and Einstein were both extremely creative and that so many years after their deaths we are still talking about them.
Let me give you a few of Da Vinci credentials:
500 years ago he:
– drew blue prints for the worlds first helicopter
– drew blueprints for a submarine
– built an extendable ladder that is still being used by fire departments today
– built the world’s first hydraulic jack
– built a rotating stage
– and 500 years ago he build a water powered alarm clock!
Those are some pretty amazing credentials if you ask me.
Curiosity might have “killed the cat” but it can help you think like a genius. Leonardo Da Vinci had a book of questions. In this journal of sorts he would write down questions as fast as they would pop into his head. He would write down questions such as:
why do birds fly?
why do they slow down as they land?
what do their feathers do?
The interesting thing is that he didn’t worry about the answers. He simply wrote down the questions because he knew something about the power of the human mind. He knew the subconscious mind was powerful and if he wrote down the questions his subconscious mind would continue to work on the answers.
Creativity is defined by Webster as “creative ability or intellectual inventiveness.” This is a skill that everyone has to some extent. There are ways to improve your ability to create and generate new ideas. Not everyone can be a great artist or a creative genius, but it makes sense to make the most of the potential we are given.
Brainstorming is an extremely good way at practicing creativity. A brainstorm can work with an individual or a group. This technique requires the generation of as many ideas as quickly as possible to solve a problem.
It does not matter how outlandish an idea might be, all ideas are written down. The ideas need to be written down, and a time limit should be imposed for accepting ideas. If this is a group brainstorm, an individual should be appointed as recorder to write down the ideas. If this is an individual project, the person should write as the thoughts come. Remember the less judgment of ideas the greater the number of ideas generated. Although many of the ideas may be unreasonable and ineffective, they may lead you to the idea that will really work. It is helpful to set a goal for the number of ideas you wish to generate. This will give you something to work toward, and may unleash the perfect solution.
Journal your thoughts for future use. This includes writing down dreams, insights, experiences, quotes, problems with friends, and any other information that is pertinent to you. This should have some kind of organization so you can look back on it periodically. You may find the answer to a problem in last month’s dream, so remember to review these personal logs frequently. This system will compliment the complex subconscious mind, and allow you to retrieve from this boundless resource.
Allow your ideas to develop and follow through on them. It is said that a good idea is worth fifty cents, and the plan to implement that plan is worth millions of dollars. It has been said another way as well: Anyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It is the man who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that changes the world.
As you learn about creativity and the techniques that work best for you, a whole new world will open up to you. Creativity can be helpful in problem solving, dealing with people, and creating success in all areas of your life. Take the time to tap into your greatest power, the power of the imagination and increase your creativity in all areas of life.
Sometimes when we face a problem we struggle with our thoughts so much, our energy is spent. The stress that comes with this kind of problem solving also affects how we think. If the anxiety level becomes too high, parts of the brain will shut down and it is impossible to generate the ideas needed to deal with the problem. When faced with too much stress the mind goes into the “fight or flight” mode. This allows the mind to deal with only two alternatives, fighting the opponent or fleeing the danger.
You can avoid these mind numbing emotions by altering your environment. When you feel yourself getting stressed out or you begin losing your focus, walk away from everything for a change of scenery. Allow yourself to focus on another task. Some people, golf, juggle, or exercise to get away from their mind blocks. When you return to this important task, you will have shifted from your stressed out mind set to a new relaxed and ready to conquer attitude.
Blaise Pascal said, “Almost all of the problems of mankind arise from the inability to be alone with oneself in a room for any period of time.”
Getting away from the problem allows your subconscious mind to problem solve, while your conscious mind is occupied with other things. Sometimes you will find the solution to your problem in your sleep. This is when the subconscious mind is most active. Basically, all your experiences and learnings are stored in this part of the brain. This is where your creativity gets turbo-powered. If you can tap into this force you will have creative powers beyond your wildest expectations.
Another good way to help your creativity is to read. That is right, read.
You see when you read your subconscious mind is automatically creating pictures whether you like it or not. So develop a passion for reading and watch your creativity increase. Both Einstein and Da Vinci were avid readers. Model this behavior and watch your creativity increase.
Einstein said that he would simply imagine it so and then go about to prove it. In other words the creative process occurred before the experiments.