(An excerpt from the bestseller How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds,
based on talks by Earl Nightingale)
The Profile of a Creative Person
REACH FOR IDEAS
The creative person realizes that his mind is an inexhaustible storehouse. It can provide anything he earnestly wants in life. But in order to draw from this storehouse, he must constantly augment its stock of information, thoughts, and wisdom. He reaches out for ideas. He respects the mind of others – gives credit to their mental abilities. Everyone has ideas – they’re free – and many of them are excellent. By first listening to ideas and then thinking them through before judging them, the creative person avoids prejudice and close-mindedness. This is the way he maintains a creative “climate” around himself.
Ideas are like slippery fish. They seem to have a peculiar knack of getting away from us. Because of this, the creative person always has a pad and a pencil handy. When he gets an idea, he writes it down. He knows that many people have found their whole lives changed by a single great thought. By capturing ideas immediately, he doesn’t risk forgetting them. [Note: a great way to save ideas easily is to Text-Message them from your cell phone to your main email account. You are rarely without your cell phone, and this allows you to record your idea for later review and action.]
Having a sincere interest in people, our creative person listens carefully when someone else is talking. He’s intensely observant, absorbing everything he sees and hears. He behaves as if everyone he meets wears a sign that reads, “My ideas and interest may offer the hidden key to your next success.” Thus, he makes it a point always to talk with other people’s interest in mind. And it pays off in a flood of new ideas and information that would otherwise be lost to him forever.
Widening his circle of friends and broadening his base of knowledge are two more very effective techniques of the creative person.
The creative person anticipates achievement. She expects to win. And the above-average production engendered by this kind of attitude affects those around her in a positive way. She’s a plus-factor for all who know her.
Problems are challenges to creative minds. Without problems, there would be little reason to think at all. She knows it’s a waste of time merely to worry about problems, so she wisely invests the same time and energy in solving problems.
When the creative person gets an idea, she puts it through a series of steps designed to improve it. She thinks in new directions. She builds big ideas from little ones and new ideas from old ones: associating ideas, combining them, adapting, substituting, magnifying, minifying, rearranging and reversing ideas.
BE CREATIVE FOR YOURSELF
Creative and productive people are not creative and productive for the benefit of others. It’s because they’re driven by the need to be creative and productive. They’d be creative and productive if they lived on a deserted island with no one benefiting or even aware of what they were doing. They experience the joy of producing something. That others benefit from it is fine, but only secondary.
This is a story of the painters who were before their time. Renoir was laughed at and rejected not only by the public but by his own fellow artists, yet he went right on painting. Even Manet said to Monet, “Renoir has no talent at all. You who are his friend should tell him kindly to give up painting.”
A group of artists who were rejected by the establishment of their time formed their own association in self-defense. Do you know who was in that group? They were Degas, Pissaro, Monet, Cezanne, and Renoir. Five of the greatest artists of all time, all doing what they believed in, in the face of total rejection.
Renoir, in his later life, suffered terribly from rheumatism, especially in his hands. He lived in constant pain. And when Matisse visited the aging painter, he saw that every stroke was causing renewed pain, and he asked, “Why do you still have to work? Why continue to torture yourself?” And then Renoir answered, “The pain passes, but the pleasure, the creation of beauty, remains.” One day when he was 78, finally quite famous and successful, he remarked, “I’m still making progress.” The next day he died.
This is the mark of the creative person … still making progress, still learning, still producing as long as he or she lives, despite pain or problems of all kinds. Not producing for the joy or satisfaction of others, but because he must. Because it brings pleasure and satisfaction.
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