Creativity is an often debated idea by intellectuals and those in the creativity business. While there are different ways out there supposedly on how to reach creativity and different definitions for what creativity is, why not just ask those who have proved themselves to be creative and see what they believe creativity truly is.
Let’s start with a gentleman who we all know and who helped us understand the make-up of light a bit more. Albert Einstein. It was Albert Einstein who once said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” That’s self explanatory wouldn’t you agree. A quote accredited to Pablo Picasso states, “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” So, what are these magnificent men referring to? Do they really mean to steal someone else’s work? Well, to answer that question we have to understand their level of genius. They knew and understood what another genius knew and understood who coined the phrase, “there is nothing new under the sun,” so what one person has done someone else has already beat them to it.
Creativity comes in two ways, but generally we can condense it into one. Creativity is the availability of resources that are pulled together from different sources to create something seemingly new. I like to think that creativity is the borrowing of ideas merging them together and perfecting the “crap” out of them. Making the idea your own to the point when someone thinks of your innovation or borrowed idea that you perfected, your name pops up. Think Michael Jackson. Many people do not realize that Michael did not invent the moonwalk; he just perfected the “crap” out that particular dance move and made it popular. He was taught by a guy named Cooley Jaxson, a break-dancer. His entire genre of dance is borrowed, but he worked at his craft with so much dedication that he made it his own.
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I believe they should squeeze in there that imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but creativity is the strongest form of flattery. Creativity is inspiration. When I was growing up Michael Jordan was the household name, and everyone wanted to be like Mike, but the question is who Mike wanted to be like. Maybe he had a combination of Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe. All great people admire great people and strive to be greater. Even the comedian, Jerry Seinfeld says that he was inspired by the acts of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
When someone creates, they are inspired by some other source. Inspiration is truly what gives life to our world.
So in closing, what is creativity?
Creativity is first to be inspired by more than one source, then study their work, then synergize those findings and include into your performance, study, work, and activities, and then perfect the “crap” out of it. This means constant beating on your craft (borrowed from Will Smith). That my friend: is creativity.
Here are some links on Michael Jackson’s inspiration. Enjoy: