Where Does Creativity Come From?


Human mind does the tricks of forgetting and then remembering something completely different. Our memories as far as I understand are in “edit” mode when we retrieve them and “saved” again on each retrieval which causes the memories be falsified quite easily.

As for today’s case, I barely remembered anything from the book I read during the spring so I decide to revisit my highlights.

It was good to revisit the highlights as I had completely forgotten a key point on what results to creativity: the quantity.

In my previous points as well I’ve talked about the quantity x direction x quality = results approach that is common is sales. Somehow I’ve always connected this thinking to creative efforts as well, without quite remembering why.

Well I’ve admired artists who have produced vast amounts of art through their lifetime.

“Picasso’s oeuvre includes more than 1,800 paintings, 1,200 sculptures, 2,800 ceramics, and 12,000 drawings, not to mention prints, rugs, and tapestries— only a fraction of which have garnered acclaim.” – Adam Grant, Originals

World is governed by the probabilities and anyone who knows how probabilities work should understand that everything starts with quantity of chances then. In case of art it is the quantity of chances in front of critical audience.

Worldviews on what is successful, what is complete and what is sufficient differ a lot. Audience may love that which author has condemned already, or the other way around the piece that artist considers a masterpiece does not get the attention it deserves – at least yet.

Intrinsic motivation to create art regardless of what others say is a powerful engine in the long run when we need to be in for the quantity game.

When creating is fun, we learn and the process itself is rewarding. Art can also become something more: our livelihood or profession if we learn to couple it with skills such as sales. I live in understanding that Picasso for example was a great at sales as well.

When we learn to combine the intrinsic motivation, creative fun with actual possibility to livelihood we are very well off, life could be called passion.

The combinations of skills might be different too, rarely the artists are even recognized on their own lifetime. It’s not really easiest business to begin with, although expressing the range of human emotions and experiences is one of the most important ones. We all have the higher needs to be met, and as the artists we try to reach that higher self and convey part of it to the audience as well.

In the past and perhaps even now, I’ve had challenges with the fear of failure and all kinds of fears. It’s easy to feel inadequate, although few things in this world are complete or perfect. We should rather learn to embrace the process rather than the outcomes. Processes can be always improved upon.

I love what Seth Godin writes in the Linchpin book: “Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.”

Message is so clear and simple: if you plan to do it please do, don’t mind the result. Any result is better than no result. Yet we often fail to deliver any results.

It is exactly those who try, fail and learn who eventually create through odd probability and practice actually something worthwhile that manages to rise to the awareness of the mainstream.

Creativity comes through effort: creating a lot will eventually have also better chance of becoming something worthwhile. At very least you can always improve upon it.

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