10 Things You Didn’t Know About Exceptionally Creative People

I recently completed Dr. Keith Sawyer’s book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the subject or curious about how to enhance their own creativity. (Visit his blog at keithsawyer.wordpress.com) In Zig Zag, Dr. Sawyer outlines a variety of exercises and tactics to help you along the creative process. He also provides valuable insight into the nature of the creative process itself. In his book, I learned some surprising things that exceptionally creative people all have in common. Below I have listed 10 things that you (probably) didn’t know about exceptionally creative people.

exceptional creators

  1. Exceptional creators sleep more hours than the average person. (Harvard researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen found that after sleep, people are 33% more creative!)
  2. Researchers have found that people who have lived in more than one country (multinationals, biculturals, immigrants ect.) are more creative.
  3. Exceptional creators aren’t born that way. Creativity is close to 80% learned and acquired (according to Hal Gregerson, a professor at INSEAD Business School).
  4. Successful creators are curious by nature. They ask questions and listen closely to the answers, even when the information has no obvious relationship to what they’re working on at the moment. In other words, exceptional creators are experts at “connecting the dots”.
  5. Exceptional creators are masters of the discipline of play, the ability to imagine and envision possible worlds and alternate realities.
  6. Most exceptional creators are working on multiple projects at a time. (They’re using these various areas of focus to make even more connections and thus advance their work!)
  7. Creative people are exceptionally self-aware. They are constantly reflecting on what they’re doing at any given moment and they’re constantly listening to themselves.
  8. Creative people work harder than most other people, usually at researching and acquiring new information. Paradoxically, they also take more time off.
  9. About 25% of the world’s most exceptional creators engaged in the creation of elaborate imaginary worlds as children. (So think twice next time you want to make fun of someone’s “imaginary friend”! 😉
  10. Exceptional creators make a conscious effort to introduce change into their lives, or to put themselves in situations in which they’re more likely to experience the unexpected.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ” – James Michener

Conversation with God on Time

SlaveToTimeFinal2 Last night God asked me, “Why do you behave as though time is your master and you its slave? Worrying about when you will do this or finish that. Did I not create the sun to rise and the night to fall?

Indeed, I created time for you. Not the other way around. Time is precious if you use it wisely, but worthless if you let it use you. To know your days are numbered is wise, but to idolize your time is foolish.

So I ask of you, Child, as you go about your daily duties, will you remember me? Will you seek solace in my presence which transcends time? Better still, will you place your time in My Hands, so that My Good and Perfect Will may be done?”

 

Maya Angelou Tribute

mayaangelou

As many of you who follow me probably know, Maya Angelou has been a great source of inspiration for me. I frequently quote her on this blog and more frequently, I write posts inspired by her words and poems.

I am deeply saddened to hear of her death. The world is surely a bit darker without her shining light. However, Dr. Angelou has graduated and I’m sure today when she met the Lord, He smiled at her and said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Maya Angelou will never know the full extent of lives touched by her work here on Earth. She’s inspired millions who will go on to inspire millions more. A job well done, indeed.

I remember watching her on Oprah Winfrey’s network series Master Class around this same time last year. Even through the television screen, I could resonate with her calming presence. The stillness, grace, and peace that she resided in, also resided in her. Her light could not be dimmed.

I remember in that Master Class, Maya said something that I will never forget and has since changed my life. She told Oprah, “When you learn, teach. At our best, we are all teachers.” Aside from being an accomplished poet, author, civil rights activist, singer and dancer, Maya Angelou was also a professor at Wake Forest University in my hometown of North Carolina. But Maya assured others, you don’t have to be a professor to be a teacher.

The most powerful part of Maya Angelou’s testimony is that not only did she share wisdom through speaking, writing, and teaching, but she lived out her own advice. She was a walking, breathing example of her own wisdom. A rare accomplishment in this life.

Today, I have gathered some of my personal favorite quotes by Dr. Angelou in honor of a life well lived.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

God – The Master Craftsman

birds

This morning as I was walking my dog before work, I had a moment of clarity and awe that I want to now share with you.

The weather is getting warmer here and the birds were out in full force this morning. It occurred to me just how complex their way of being is. Together, they formed a cacophony of sounds which I can only assume were claims of territory. They all appeared to be staking out their domain in preparation for Spring.

God, who made us, also made these birds and formed the complex system by which they operate. How amazing! Knowing this, I wonder, how can we ever doubt God’s goodness and love?! It only takes a few short minutes of observing the birds to know that He is a master of detail.

This should put a lot into perspective when you really stop to consider it. As complex as He made the birds, He made us with that much more precision. And although this complexity contributes to much of our anxiety and confusion on Earth, it shouldn’t. It is this very complexity that should, instead, overwhelm us with wonder and direct out eyes in awe towards the Master Craftsman who created it all.

Each of us are beautifully and uniquely designed in our own right, by a God who cares deeply about every last detail of our lives, even the birds.

O Divine Master

O Divine Master, ask that I not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying to self that we are reborn

to eternal life.

-St. Francis

Is dog really man’s best friend?

Dogs are masters at forgiveness. They do it instantly, without hesitation. And they never forget. Which makes their forgiveness all the more powerful; they love us despite remembering all the times we’ve hurt them. Much like God, actually. But to take it even further, God also knows every wrong we have yet to commit against Him and He still forgives us…In fact, He already has.

best-friends

People think dogs are a man’s best friend. But I think they’re more like a reflection, a tiny glimpse into the love that our True Best friend is.