This post is a bit of a mixed bag personally in that many of you know that I advocate that creativity is a scientific truth and not just an art or some abstract personality-based thing … And yes, I even have the mathematical proof to support this creative science which I wrote about in Always Creative.
So part of the mixed bag includes sharing Dr. Wayne Dyer’s audio clip below about how to inspire and encourage children to become creative and develop fully into “no limit people.”
Okay – you can listen below and certainly his clip will help you help your children accelerate in creativity depts.
Yet somehow his audio clip seems to propagate cultural rumors that creativity is ellusive and a personality-based thing.
Even so, with the science of creativity aside, living creatively is also a mindset and two things recently reminded me of this.
Be a Perpetual Growth Person
First, I was in the process of digitizing many of the motivational tapes in my library, one of which was a six cassette series by Nightingale-Conant that featured Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “How to be a no-limit person.” Note I had purchased these tapes in the early 1980s long before CDs and MP3 Players hit the scene hence the cassette conversions.
At the end of that series, they gave a free sample lecture from one of Wayne’s other books, “What do you really want for your children” where Dr. Dyer talks about creativity.
In this sample lecture, which I’m including here in this post as mp3 audio clip, Dr. Dyer defines creativity as follows:
“You don’t become creative by being like everybody else …
Especially if you were raised to fit in and be like others … Creativity is about how you apply your own matchless-self to everything you do …”
To a great extent I like what he says and concur, but I have some problems in that he is giving a philosophical approach first without providing the scientific basis on which such philosophy can ride. Thus on some level he is promoting the idea of creativity as being merely an approach to life when that is only partially correct, which leads me to the other data point.
Enter the Pool Attendant
Around the time I was digitizing said cassettes, I enjoyed a lively debate with one of our pool attendants during a quiet afternoon when not many others were pool side. She started the conversation with, “I’m just not creative, at least not compared to my brother and this accounting class I’m taking is really soooo uncreative.”
I laughed. As a business school trained accountant, I told her that accounting can be extremely creative, just look at Enron, MCI-WorldCom, forecasts of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, etc. And one can quickly grasp how numbers and the numbering of numbers can get wildly creative.
There is even an old accounting joke to this effect that goes something like this:
An employer is looking to hire a new controller and interviews three people: one young, one middle aged, one older, all CPAs.
The employer asks the first prospect, the younger one, “How much is one plus one?” To which the young accountant says, “Two.” “Are you sure?” “Yes absolutely. One plus one is always two.”
Then the employer interviews the second prospect, the middle aged CPA, and asks the same question, “How much is one plus one?” To which the CPA said, “Well, it’s usually two, but sometimes it can be two and a half or one and three quarters depending on how you value inventory, spoilage, returns, etc., but yes, most of the times one plus one is two.”
Then the employer interviews the third CPA and asks the same question, “How much is one plus one?” To which the older CPA states, “What do you want it to be?”
Guess who got the job and guess why we have so much fuzzy accounting in governments and public companies despite our best efforts to legislate transparency 🙂
Back to the Pool Attendant
Ultimately our conversation got to how creativity-expressed comes in many shapes and styles – e.g., Your creativity might not look like others as she was comparing her creativity level to her brother’s and how he seemingly can riff with new ideas in a given dept and she can’t quite compete in said dept.; We spoke about how creativity comes in many forms and how visual creativity is different from accounting creativity which is different from music and/or painting and/or acting and/or physical creativity, etc…
Which brings me to the final point and that is of brainstorming. It seems like most people think that brainstorming is being creative when in truth, brainstorming and idea generation is only 25% of the creative science.
The other 75% of the creative process is where the rubber really hits the road. This includes selecting one or more of the ideas from the brainstorming process, implementing said ideas, measuring the results of said implementation, then analyzing the results by comparing them to where you were before you had the ideas you just implemented.
Even in Ad Agency Inner Circles
I’ve even heard this from the heads of top advertising agencies. In particular, one president was discussing a certain weight-loss food brand and he said, “Chuck, coming up with the new marketing ideas is the smallest part of the process, perhaps less than 10%, and yes it is the fun part. But, the implementation of the marketing campaign is the larger part of the process. Project management of getting all the items printed, out into the stores on time and within budget, without any mistakes in copy, colors, brand messaging, etc.”
This agency executive even went on to say that his team got paid $2 million per year to manage the account. One million was for the creative consultations and the other million was to manage and implement. He confessed that the second million was a royal pain and full of traps and gatchas and that he would gladly give up that second million but also knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would lose the first million if all he did was the creative. Thus while this executive could riff on new marketing ideas in his sleep, he also knew that creativity expressed and implemented is a package and not just brainstorming.