Truly, there aren’t any original ideas. Any innovative idea is a often mashup of other ideas. I don’t care how the fuck egoistical you are, you are no fucking creative genius. Don’t ever tell me that you came up with the fucking idea all by yourself with zero help.
Look at the iPhone. When it was first presented by Steve Jobs in 2007, it was a truly revolutionary phone. Why was it? Because it has everything a phone could do, calls and text messages, listening to music, and on top of that, it had a mobile browser that scrolls like butter. Rather than a clunky phone, it had the most important factor over all other phones in the market — usability.
But it isn’t unique at all. The phone of a phone wasn’t unique. Touch screen capabilities wasn’t unique. Phone calls wasn’t unique. Text messages wasn’t unique. Mobile browser wasn’t unique. Keyboard wasn’t unique. Speaker phone wasn’t unique. Portable music player wasn’t unique. Camera wasn’t unique. iPhone was a fusion of all these technologies, plus the usability factor. Wired ran an amazing article with tons of backstory.
Steve Jobs summarised creativity as:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.”
Okay if creativity is just about connecting things, then was can I do to be creative?
There’s no magic formula to it. There’s no one true way of reaching the creative state. But I do have some thoughts on how to start:
- Get exposed to as many experience your bank account allows;
- Learn concepts or conceptual models, this unlocks big picture thinking;
- Learn mental models, this allow you to see different perspectives;
- Talk to interesting and creative people, surround yourself with similar minds;
- Keep your eyes out for inspiration, they can be found anywhere.
- Take copious notes because there’s so much your mind can absorb. Also, you can lay out all the notes and try to find connections between unrelated subjects;
At the end of the day, the most important thing is taking intentional action in reaching the creative state. As with anything, mastery comes with practice. The more hours of deliberate practice, the better you get. You can’t expect to be creative without practice.
When do you actually create something amazing, as you will one good day, don’t forget the sources of inspiration. Make sure to give credit where it’s deserved. Just as you are given credit for finding connections and creating something amazing. Your work will one day be the source of inspiration for someone else. You wouldn’t want to be plagiarised. It does no harm to give credit, yet it does every harm to uncover uncredited inspirations.
If there’s any video that you watch in this article, let it be this: