Harnessing the power of creative thinking

Einstein once said, “Every child is born a genius.” But the reason why most people do not function at genius levels is because they are not aware of how creative and smart they really are. I call it the “Schwarzenegger effect.” No one would look at a person such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and think how lucky he is to have been born with such tremendous muscles. Everyone knows that he, and people like him, have worked many thousands of hours to build up their bodies so they can compete and win in bodybuilding competitions. Your creative capabilities are just the same. They actually grow as they are used.


But you don’t need to spend thousands of hours to increase your creative-thinking abilities. By practicing a few simple exercises and applications, you can start your creative juices flowing, and you may even amaze yourself at the quality and quantity of good ideas that you come up with. 

Let’s start off with the definition of creativity. In my estimation, the very best definition of creativity is, simply, “improvement.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or an artist in order to be creative. All you have to do is develop the ability to improve your situation, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. All great fortunes were started with ideas for improving something in some way. In fact, an improvement needs to be only 10 percent new or different to launch you on the way to fame and riches. 

It has been estimated that each year, driving to and from work, the average person has about four ideas for improvement, any one of which could make him or her a millionaire. The problem is not that you don’t have the ideas you need to accomplish anything you want but, rather, that you fail to act on those ideas. Most people dismiss their own ideas because they think that those ideas cannot be very valuable if they were the ones who thought of them. 

Thomas Edison, arguably the most successful creative genius in human history, once said that creativity is 99 percent perspiration and only 1 percent inspiration. Extensive research on creativity tends to bear him out.
There are four generally accepted parts of the creative process: There is preparation, where much of the work is done. There is cerebration or rumination, where you turn the matter over to your subconscious mind. There is realization, where the idea or ideas come to you. And finally, there is application, where you work out the creative idea and turn it into something worthwhile. Of the four, preparation seems to be the most important, and it involves gathering the right data and asking the right questions. 

Your success in life will be determined largely by the quantity of ideas that you generate. It seems that the quality of ideas is secondary to the quantity and that if you have enough ideas, one or more of them will turn out to be prizewinners.

That idea you waved aside as dumb, might actually be the idea that would have made the difference. 

culled from creative thinking by Brian Tracy


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