If you want to be creative, don’t try to look good

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If you want to be creative, don’t try to look good

In creativity there is no pride, no dignity, and no cool. Creativity is anything and everything, wherever and however. Looks and image don’t matter


One of the most important aspects of creativity (and one of the most difficult for people to accept) is the idea that when you need your creativity (for that time) you have no pride, no dignity. For those moments you’re not looking good, and you’re surely not cool. Cool is “been there, done that, seen it all, nothing impresses me”. Creativity is the opposite. Everything impresses highly creative people. They’re curious about everything, interested in everything, fascinated by everything, and also everyone. Yes, you’re often exhausted, but you’re also energized and exhilarated.

When you need your creativity you’ve got to go beyond yourself, beyond your desires, wants, fears, and personal experiences. When you need your creativity you don’t exist, you’re in another dimension, you look, observe, feel, listen, you crawl into someone’s heart and out yet another orifice, you’re seeking, searching, learning, and then “bang” you’re back, you’re you again. You’re like an actor or actress, who when they walk onstage “becomes” someone else, only to return, when the curtain falls, to their normal life.

“There are two ways to live your life.

One is though nothing is a miracle and the other is though everything is a miracle. “

Albert Einstein

When you need your creativity you have to be able to think anything, no rules, no restrictions, or limits. You have to be able to go beyond social rules, and that includes going to look for life, instead of waiting for it to come to you. Social rules say that we should wait.

When you need your creativity you have no pride, no dignity.

Our adult lives are dominated by pride and dignity. Yet at certain moments of strong emotion, in tragedy, when we cry, in illness, in love and in the act of sex, we have no pride, no dignity. Creative people need to be able to find ideas anywhere. To do that we need to be able to go anywhere, do anything. We need to stop being afraid of our emotions, stop being someone “in control”.

“I have no pride. I’ll do anything that’s necessary to get people involved.

I am a dispenser of enthusiasm”.

Benjamin Zander, Conductor, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

Most children are creative and yet the creativity of children is more often than not unfocused. Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must be combined with the passion of the adult, yet many adults are “put off’ and even embarrassed by emotion and passion.

“The essence of art and creativity is the expression of sharing of emotion”

Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist

When we confront death, we drop social rules. There is no dignified death, just as there was no dignified birth. We come into the world kicking and screaming and we go out the same way.


What pride?

How many times have you had an argument with someone you love? You fought and then there was a painful period of silence between you afterwards, hours or days of bad feelings, and yes, hurt pride. Which one of you apologized first? Did you make up? How long did it take? Did you still think you were right? Probably.


The 100 dollar auction

This is an interesting exercise, which is often studied in decision-making. In the exercise, a 100 US dollar bill or banknote is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The rules for the auction are:


  • Once the auction starts, no communication is allowed among the bidders
  • Bids can be made only in multiples of 5 dollars
  • Each bid must not exceed 50 dollars
  • The two highest bidders both have to pay what they bid, even though the 100 dollar note goes only to the highest bidder

What happens in the beginning is that people are motivated to bid because of greed and opportunity. You are pulled into the auction by the possibility of winning 100 dollars for a bid of 5 dollars or maybe a little more. The bidding quickly progresses and the first interesting point is when the bids exceed 50 dollars. Here the bidders are still interested in making money, but the holder of the auction is now guaranteed making a profit since the final two bidders BOTH have to pay what they bid. (Because of this, the auction is illegal in many countries)

In the final stages of the auction, there are almost always only 2 bidders. (more often than not, the two are men) The next interesting point is when the bids exceed 100 dollars. You opponent

just bid 105 dollars. Your last bid was 100. Why would you bid 110 dollars to win a mere 100? If you don’t bid, you will have to pay 100, while if you win with a bid of 110, you will only lose 10. You are thus minimizing your losses. But there is more at stake in this auction than economics. The real issue is one of pride and dignity. Pride makes you go on. You’ve gone too far to back down. In effect, the two last bidders are silently saying, this is crazy. Stop! But each expects the other to crack first. Why should I stop, you stop! Each expects the other to give in.

In an argument who apologizes first? The circumstances are different, but it’s the same question. Each person only sees their own side and each expects the other to give in first.

Creative people are usually the first to apologize. After all, creativity tells you who cares who’s right or wrong. In fact there is no right or wrong, it all depends on your perspective.

“There are no facts, only interpretations”

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

When you are not burdened by pride, you can go to anyone, anytime. If you wait for people to come and find you, (which is what everyone does) you’ll never be found, why?

Because everyone is waiting, and very few people are looking

Go out and look, you’ll find that a lot of people are waiting for you. Who stops you from looking? You do. Who stops you from being more creative? You do, you stop yourself. Stop waiting, go out and meet life. But when you need your creativity, leave your pride at home.


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