“Think Like a Freak”, Plus a Few Words on Creativity

Via freakonomics.com

As promised, I am writing a separate post about “Think Like a Freak”, by Stephen Dubner and Steven D Levitt. This book is scheduled to come out on May 13, and it looks like it’s going to be very interesting. In essence, what they’re trying to do here is to teach their readers how to think outside the box. They also promise to evaluate decisions we make in our lives and the morals we apply, and to show the readers tricks that will help in thinking better.

This is pretty much all that we can know right now, but if you’d like to get a better sense of how the book will deliver on its promises, you can click here to be taken to a post one of the writers made about it. On that link you’ll also find the table of contents.

To prepare for the release of this book, I wanted to discuss a few quotes that speak about creativity and its importance. It’s been known for quite a while that thinking outside the box is extremely important. Since this is the topic of this book, getting a sense of the ideas that paved the way to it would be quite interesting.

Via static.flickr.com

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

-Brené Brown

If you look through quotes on creativity, you’ll find that a lot of them speak about the idea that taking a risk is a crucial part of being creative. Of course, in order to take a risk, you have to accept that you’ll feel vulnerable. Creativity implies the danger of failure, but it’s not something we should run away from. If we fail, then we know what not to do, and if we succeed, well…then it’s all good.

“White. A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities.”

-Stephen Sondheim

This captures the way a creative person thinks very well. The “blank page or canvas” can be anything that needs work. For a writer, it is indeed a page, for an interior decorator, an apartment. But even a piece of wood, a rock, or an engine can all be considered the starting point for something absolutely amazing.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

-Albert Einstein

Knowledge is extremely important, but when it comes to creating something new, it fails miserably. That’s why creativity is so much more important: from it, new ideas can emerge. Imagination is the starting point for inventions, then knowledge comes to fill in the small details.

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

-Ayn Rand

Since I’m currently reading an Ayn Rand book, when I saw this quote by her I thought I should include it. Creativity, and what is born from it, are rewards in it of themselves, and thus, they you can find motivation in them.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

-Scott Adams

We’ve gone full circle with this last quote, which touches the same idea as the first. Making mistakes is normal in creativity. But among those mistakes, there might just be a few that are, in fact, not real mistakes. They might appear to be that because they’re unusual. That’s where the genius of creativity steps in, helping you realize which “mistakes” you should keep. That’s also how art begins.

I am very curious to find out what “Think Like a Freak” will add to the lessons thought by these quotes. In the meantime, if you’d like to immerse yourself in more quotes, make sure to head over to Quotery, which is where I found all the quotes I used in this post.

Have a wonderful day!

/Larisa

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Memory Month Day 24: Remembering is NOT the Same as Doing

Today has been a great day in terms of the challenge. In terms of taking action, however, today wasn’t the greatest…

DSCN0630I finally decided on the space I want to use as my Memory Palace. Not only that, but I also put it to use. How? Well, I had a list of things I had to do today. The most important item on that list was doing some research for my Cognitive Systems class. Despite its importance, I somehow managed to forget to do it a few days in a row, so I decided to change that. I imagined that on a stand close to the entrance in my Memory Palace there was a notebook that had “Cognitive Systems” written on it. Then, along the way I normally follow after entering the space, I “placed” other items that corresponded to the remaining things I had to do. One of them was studying for German (more on that below), and so I pictured my German textbook laying on the floor. So on and so fort. Oh, and just to let you know, I also had all these lists written down on my agenda. I needed a back up plan in case my Memory Palace would have crumbled! 😀

Thankfully, I was very much able to remember everything I had to do, and in the order I was supposed to do them. However, I also felt an ever so slight increase in stress, as I constantly went back to my Memory Palace to check whether I can remember everything. Of course, my reaction is due in part to a lack of trust in this technique, since I’ve never used it before. I’m hoping that as time passes, I will trust this technique more, and this will lower the stress associated to using it. Ideally, I should start to trust it as much as my agenda, though this seems a little too out of reach.

As for studying for German, I did most of it on the bus, which was great because this allowed me to do two things at once (travel AND study). Basically, it was vocabulary I had to learn, which meant that I could use last week’s visualization technique. For each word, I painted a very clear picture in my head of what it meant. At the same time, I repeated the word in German and in English, occasionally switching the order. For example, for the verb “to draw”, I imagined a piece of paper with a hand over it, drawing something. At first I didn’t go very detailed, but the more I repeated the words, the more I worked on the clarity of the scenario, until I could see even the pencil quite vividly.

These were my successes today. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, I also learnt today that remembering is in no way the equivalent of taking action. What happened was this: I had a list of six items I needed to get done today. The awesome part was that I remembered them all. The not-so-awesome part was that I could only do half. This was due to a time constraint so I don’t really mind not being able to do everything else. However, I will admit that it annoys me juuuust a little bit. I guess we all just have to accept that some victories come with lost battles as well.

Have you had a similar experience to this? Let me know!

/Larisa

  • Confused about what’s going on? Click here!
  • For the post that started this challenge, click here.
  • For yesterday’s entry, click here.