Forcing Creativity

Some individuals seem to be more creative than others. I wonder why.

Skills and Abilities

A common misbelief is that you are born with innate abilities. In OutliersMalcolm Gladwell demonstrates that innate skills have virtually no impact – he states that you need about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

Things like your height are not changeable. Everything from how many things you can remember to the strength of your body can be changed. The former was beautifully demonstrated by journalist Joshua Foer, who became captivated with memory competitions and ended up winning it (TED Talk). The latter can be demonstrated by an athlete, just study the routines that Michael Phelps goes through each week.

This also applies to creativity.

Robert Rodriguez

When Rodriguez shot his first (demo) movie, he had a budget of 7.000 dollars. He came from a family of 10 and got part of the money by being a guinea pig in medical tests. He didn’t have a big movie budget, yet ended up winning the Audience vote at Sundance Festival.

He did this in many ways. He used the ranch of a friend, a bar of another friend, a dog of… etc. What also helped him was his experience with writing comics. He forced himself to draw every day. And yes, not every comic was great, but the one not-so-good lead to a better one.

Listen to an interview with Robert Rodriguez on the Tim Ferriss Show

Take Home

The take home is that all skills, creativity included, come from continuous practice. Mozart started making his phenomenal work only after the first 10,000 hours – but he did need that practice first.

On a personal note, I too am practising and are far away from mastering blogging. But I’m on the way and enjoying the ride. It has already brought me positive (financial) outcomes and teaches me skills I can use in other aspects of my life. Please also take home that learning itself (as mentioned yesterday) is fun too.