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5 Boring Ways to Become More Creative

https://markmanson.net/boring-ways-to-become-more-creative

markmanson.net

5 Boring Ways to Become More Creative
Creative people are anything but boring, but the creative process itself involves a lot of mundane work and boring consistency.

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Creativity is exciting

Creativity is exciting

It triggers some degree of surprise or excitement within us and gives us a new way of seeing things that we could not see before.

However, history and science teach us that the process of creativity is actually completely boring. And that is great news for us.

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What it means to be creative

Creativity is often thought of as creating something unique. But, most of what we experience as "new" is simply old stuff presented in fresh or unexpected ways.

Creative work also adds some kind of value to the world. If something is novel but doesn't add value, we won't consider it. If it adds value but isn't new, we consider it to be a rip-off.

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Combining novelty and value

Combining novelty and value requires a lot of trial and error. It requires feedback. It requires understanding your audience and their values. It requires shaping and perfecting your craft over many years. For every great idea, there are hundreds of failed ideas.

And that is why creativity can get boring. It appears that creativity is really a skill you can practice and get better at.

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The myth of the creative moment

The idea that creativity happens due to a moment of inspiration is false. Inspiration happens when you put in the time to be creative.

  • Mozart and Beethoven each composed over 600 pieces of music. Their contemporaries composed less than 100.
  • Picasso created more than 50,000 pieces of art. Most other professional artists produce a few hundred.
  • Nobel prize winners produce nearly twice as much work compared to their colleagues.
  • People like Beethoven or Picasso slogged away at their craft for decades to end up with a handful of brilliant pieces.

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Creativity and doing “normal” things

An ordinary life allows creative people to put food on the table and hone their crafts at the same time.

  • Ernest Hemingway, one of the most famous American authors in the past century, had a day job during most of his literary career.
  • Salman Rushdie was a copywriter during the day and worked on his novels at night.

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Be bored, not distracted

Boredom itself allows creativity to flow. However, modern society with all its gadgets has gotten really good at distracting us from this boredom.

In the right environment, boredom fuels creative people. Instead of staring at your phone, stare at the blank page. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, sit in front of the canvas.

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Copy the most creative people in your field

Creativity isn't an invention; it's reinvention.


  • The process of creativity starts with immersing yourself in the domain you're interested in. You first have to get good enough to at least emulate it. Then try and better it. 
  • Find people who you want to emulate and start emulating them. Then do more of your own.


This foundation provides a well of knowledge and experience that can be remixed to generate new creative work.

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Treat ideas like investments

Buy low, sell high. Look for opportunities that are more valuable than most people believe they are, refurbish it and change it into something of a higher value that people can enjoy and value.

Personal computers were seen as impractical and pricey until Bill Gates created software that was simple enough for everyone.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Creativity

The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognizing relationships between concepts.

While being creative isn't easy, nearly all great ideas follow a sim...

The 5 Step Creative Process

  1. Gather new material directly related to your task as well as learning general material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
  2. Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind.  Examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
  3. Step away from the problem. Next, you put the problem completely out of your mind and go do something else that excites you and energizes you.
  4. Let your idea return to you. After you have stopped thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and renewed energy.
  5. Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.

Creativity is learned

Some people are primed to be more creative than others.

However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

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We're not born creative

Some of us are better at making new connections between concepts. But this is in most cases the result of hard, deliberate work, not an accident of birth.

Walking and creativity

  • Walking helps you to get away from your daily sources of stress, thus reducing anxiety in the short term.
  • Walking improves the process of creating new analogies in your brain.

Keep your hands busy

Doing something intricate with your hands – a Rubik’s Cube, squeezing a ball, fiddling with dice – excites various parts of your brain and might actively change the way you are thinking.

Pamela Slim
“We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our liv..."

Pamela Slim

Creativity is complex

It means producing something novel or original, evaluating, solving problems, whether on paper, on stage, in a laboratory or even in the shower.

Knowing how to think

Geniuses know “how” to think, instead of “what” to think.

People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together.