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Monday, September 29, 2014


Is this being creative?  David Brooks of the New York Times today had an op ed on creativity.  In essence, he indicated that creativity doesn't just pop up in your mind.  No, it takes routine, stability, order, repetition. high discipline and all the other synonyms coming from stability.

On the other hand, the blog site REAL SIMPLE says:

I’ve spent the last hour warming up my imagination muscles: I devised 50 new uses for a spoon (drumstick, mini catapult, ineffective shield). I surrounded myself with blue, since a University of British Columbia study showed it’s a creativity-enhancing color. I played the violin as Einstein did. (Actually, I don’t own a violin, so I played my son’s ukulele.) In short, I am using as many creativity-boosting strategies as possible. (Well, I’m not taking LSD, which may have helped Steve Jobs achieve those world-changing insights.)


My first call is to Rex Jung (left), an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, who specializes in the brain and creativity. He tells me that we tend to think of creative people as churning out one work of genius after another, but brilliance is a numbers game. Creative people tend to be prolific, and usually the misfires far outnumber the hits. “I recently went to a museum in Germany, and they had a Picasso exhibition,” says Jung. “But the paintings were terrible. I think I saw every lousy Picasso out there. He created about 50,000 works, and not all of them were masterpieces.”

Hmm...somewhat similar to Brooks' contention, but can you actually teach creativity.  Yes, says the BBC:

The belief that schools are failing to nurture creative skills has grown in recent years. The educator and author Ken Robinson, for example, argued in an influential TED talk in 2006 that current education practices crush student’s innate creative talents. Robinson clearly touched a nerve – this became the most watched TED talk of all time (see below).
(If you clicked on play, and that did not work, click on that link just above this box.  You can see the talk on a full screen by clicking on that icon at the bottom right.  To return, click on esc at the top left of your keyboard.  By the way, this talk has had more than 28 million pings.)

The School of Life can teach you to be creative.

Einstein said we’re all born geniuses. This is good news: we need all the ingenuity we can get to thrive in our evermore rapidly changing times. So why do we still let ourselves be inhibited by that old myth that creativity is a rare gift? How can we reclaim our creative potential instead?
This class is devised to help us gain practical techniques for improving our creativity through experiment and discussion. We’ll discover how to boost our creative confidence. We’ll explore why intuition, play and daydreaming are essential to innovation. We’ll find out how blocks and boredom can become creative triggers. We’ll take an honest look at what motivation we need to sustain us. And we’ll examine ancient and modern wisdom on how to handle criticism, constraints and failure more easily. 
At the higher education level, creativity institutes seem to be now proliferating:

What kinds of techniques are taught? Gerard Puccio (right) teaches his students that creativity comes in four stages – clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing. Clarifying is ensuring you’re asking the right question; ideating is about exploring as many solutions as possible; developing and implementing are making sure the idea is practical and convincing to others.

And to continue:

Joydeep Bhattacharya (left) of Goldsmiths University in London has shown that people in a relaxed mood are more likely to arrive at creative solutions when problem-solving. And another study by Australian researchers showed people are more likely to solve puzzles lying on their back than standing up. Perhaps it’s because when people are mellow, their wandering mindencourages them to review a diverse array of ideas, rather than get stuck in a more focused, narrow mode of thought.

Christine Kane indicates creativity is a process.  It is slow.  It must be cultivated and allowed to happen.  She even provides 21 ways to be more creative, beginning with "Stop watching TV" and ending with "Stop watching TV."

There are, of course, books and more books.  I won't even attempt to list them.  But who has time to read those.  You want one blog posting to show you the way.  And here they are, above.  The problem is that all of those techniques work depending on time, circumstances and who.  One sure thing, though:  don't just sit on a couch and think.  Maybe the enhancement of magic truffles can jiggle something up there, but you need to be in Amsterdam for that.  

You want my assessment?  There is something to what David Brooks said at the top of this page.  Maybe Malcolm Gladwell's (right) 10,000 hour rule provides a clue.  I've continued this blog site for more than six years now...everyday (well, I skipped a few days while in China because the government largely prevented me from downloading, except I actually found a porthole through Russia for a couple of postings, and, anyway, had more than one article on several days)...and I usually  have no idea what to write about until I start.  Creativity happens when you do things.  The more you do, the more creative  you can be.

Tropical Storm Phanfon just appeared east of the Philippines, is predicted to attain Category 4 strength and head straight for Japan:


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