Helping Creative People Create

There is a fallacy rooted in the minds of many who wish to become rich — the fallacy of the great idea. Having a great idea is not enough. It is the manner in which ideas are executed that counts. Implementation will always trump ideas, however good those ideas are.

Good ideas are like Nike sports shoes. They may facilitate success for an athlete who possesses them, but on their own they are nothing but an overpriced pair of sneakers. Sports shoes don’t win races. Athletes do.

Excerpt: Maxim Founder Felix Dennis on the Fallacy of Big Ideas – Jeff Bercovici – Mixed Media – Forbes.

A photo shoot of Steve Jobs home office from 2004. Not as minimal as you’d expect.

Photo shoot by Diana Walker (Aug 2004).

I always enjoy reading fiction–also known as 90 percent of all start-up how-to guides and articles. The dreamscapes they paint always seem to I’ve a knack for happy endings.

Follow your dreams.

Turn your passion into profits.

Do what makes you happy.

This is lovey-dovey utopian nonsense. This sort of advice would have you believe that if you simply put your all into something you will be successful. Bottom line: if the start-up idea your passionate about isn’t capable of generating revenue, your passion will bankrupt you—as was almost the case with my first failed start-up, which I dissect in detail in my book Never Get a “Real” Job.

Why ‘Be Passionate’ Is Awful Advice.

Now I Know: Redefining Nemo.

And you’ll never think of Nemo the same again.

The website /Film reported on Friday about author J.K. Rowling’s method for organizing her books. Using pen, notebook paper, and a simple grid, she plotted out the direction of her stories. Pictured here is the chart for chapters 13-24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

Organize your writing, J.K. Rowling style | Unclutterer.

Other research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.

She says pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.

And one recent study of hers demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

How Handwriting Boosts the Brain –

But we all knew this, right? ;)

Paradoxically, when we seek happiness as the ultimate state, we’re destined to be disappointed. Absent unhappiness, how would we even recognize it? If we’re fortunate, happiness is a place we visit from time to time rather than inhabit permanently. As a steady state, it has the limits of any steady state: it’s not especially interesting or dynamic.

To seek happiness as a permanent state derives from two primitive evolutionary impulses: avoiding pain (which we associate with danger and the risk of death) and seeking gratification (which helps ensure that our genes get passed on).

But it also turns out that pain and discomfort are critical to growth, and that achieving excellence depends on the capacity to delay gratification.

When we’re living fully, what we feel is engaged and immersed, challenged and focused, curious and passionate. Happiness — or more specifically, satisfaction — is something we mostly feel retrospectively, as a payoff on our investment. And then, before very long, we move on to the next challenge.

Happiness Is Overrated – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

Fantastic read. I love pretty much anything Tony Schwartz publishes.

But it’s the neurological impact of sustained aerobic fitness in young people that is especially compelling. A memorable years-long Swedish study published last year found that, among more than a million 18-year-old boys who joined the army, better fitness was correlated with higher I.Q.’s, even among identical twins. The fitter the twin, the higher his I.Q. The fittest of them were also more likely to go on to lucrative careers than the least fit, rendering them less likely, you would hope, to live in their parents’ basements. No correlation was found between muscular strength and I.Q. scores. There’s no evidence that exercise leads to a higher I.Q., but the researchers suspect that aerobic exercise, not strength training, produces specific growth factors and proteins that stimulate the brain, said Georg Kuhn, a professor at the University of Gothenburg and the senior author of the study.

Phys Ed: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? –

(via the99percent)

John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity | Open Culture.


We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.

Two is the magic number: a new science of creativity. – By Joshua Wolf Shenk – Slate Magazine.

Interesting new series on extremely creative duos. I’m liking it already.

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