How to hack your creativity – Part 2: Steal and collaborate

4 minute read

What’s the point trying to hack your creativity when every idea under the
sun has already been thought of? 

It’s true that no fundamentally new ideas exist. Every ‘new’ idea is based on the thinking of the previous era. This means that when we have ‘new ideas’, they are really just mashups of previous ideas. 

“What is originality? Undetected plagiarism” – William Ralph Inge 

So, why bother creating anything if we can’t do anything original?

a) I don’t know, creativity makes us feel good?

b) Enter deep philosophical answer…

I would say that it has something to do with art being a reflection of life. When an artist paints, they do so within the context of how they were raised, their beliefs, their insecurities, their physical attributes, their influences and so much more. So, while there is nothing new under the sun, each individual can still contribute to the pool of creativity with their own interpretations.

How to steal creatively

Great creativity is just successful kleptomania (not getting caught). But, the goal is to reverse engineer, not to plagiarize. You can hack your creativity by learning how to digest and interpret these inspirational works.  

We already know that art is performed through the context of the artist’s background. So, when we are influenced by someone’s works, we should really be trying to get into their heads as to why they made the choices they did. We definitely don’t want to plagiarize their ideas, instead, we want to get on their mental wavelength. Once you get a feel for how this individual thinks, move onto another creative mind that inspires you, and get into their heads, too.

The point is to ‘steal’ creative inspiration from the people you admire, not to steal their creations.

“I don’t believe in art, I believe in artists”Marcel Duchamp

Great ideas come from collaboration

We often think that some people have oceans of creativity while others draw from arid desserts. This is not completely true, creativity is not solely an individual phenomenon. It actually develops through collaboration between many minds and ideas. “Good ideas come from the collision of small hunches and something bigger than themselves” Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson explains how good ideas really come to fruition:

1. “Ideas need a lot of time to incubate, and they spend a lot of time as a hunch that is not fully fleshed out.”

2. “More often than not, what turns a hunch into a breakthrough is another hunch that is lurking inside someone else’s mind.”

3. “The biggest driver of scientific and technological innovation has been the unprecedented connectivity that we have today through the internet. This lets us share ideas with other people and to borrow their hunches and turn them into something new.” 

Even the greatest minds had partners…

Thomas Edison worked with Nikola Tesla, Einstein had his wife (Mileva Maric), Bill Gates had Paul Allen.

History shows that people are more creative when they are sharing ideas and working with others. This is not surprising when you consider that humans are one of the most social animals on the planet – it’s written in our genetic code. Revolutionary ideas were not created in vacuums. They were built upon the knowledge of the best thinkers of that time.  

A Final Thought

When an artists paints or a musician performs; it is an invitation for the external world to take part in the splendour of their craft. The ideation process has to involve learning from the masters – those who came before us, or even our contemporaries and peers. when it comes to creativity, there is no competition. The greats are passing the baton over to us through their works – and we get to decide which parts to take and what to omit in our works.The empirical nature of creativity is something that invites, inspires and connects with the people that need it at the time.

We see that creativity is a collective state of being because it creates a paradigm where both the artist and the consumer engage in a dialogue; in which the artist projects meaning through their art, the consumer must decipher this meaning through within their own personal context. 

Please see How to hack your creativity – Part 1: Schedule it

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