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Inspirational and Insightful Quotations #11 --- Creativity
Quotations on Creativity
If you would have your work count for something, put yourself into it; put character, originality, individuality into everything you do. Don’t be satisfied to be an automation. Determine that whatever you do in life shall be a part of yourself, and that it shall be stamped with superiority. Remember that everything you do of real value must have the impress of yourself upon it, and let that be the evidence of excellence and superiority. You will find that devotion to your work will pay. Superiority of method, progressiveness, and up-to-dateness, leavened with your own individuality, are permanent.
---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., February 1903.
The surest, most practical secret of happiness is to know how to turn labor into craftsmanship.
‑‑‑Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., April 10, 1916.
Originality blazes a new track while eccentricity runs on one wheel in an old rut.
---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., Oct. 7, 1899.
To make IDEAS pay study this formula: I-nspiration, D-evelopment, E-nrgelemt, A-pplication, S-uccess!
---Hazen Conklin, East Oregonian, Pendleton, Ore., Dec. 30, 1914.
The most successful employer of all is the man who employs ideas.
---Hazen Conklin, East Oregonian, Pendleton, Ore., March 17, 1915.
An inspiration is the opening wedge for a new idea.
---James L. Gordon, Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., April 28, 1917.
Originality is more likely to spring from the heart than from the mind.
---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 19, 1958.
The great happiness of labor is in seeing something created under our efforts.
---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 24, 1937.
Steps for nurturing creativity are:
(1) The development of sensitivity for or an awareness of self, others, and the world around one.
(2) Incubation following the period of sensitivity. Incubation is a period of warmth, security, belonging, and human understanding. It's length varies in intensity and amount with the individual. During this period past learnings and understandings are related to new problem‑solving situations which cause the reshaping and the reorganization of old patterns of learning.
(3) Intuition, inspiration, or illumination. This third step is characterized by new insights and greater understandings. It is a period of expression. As the individual gains understanding he can't resist the opportunity to express himself.
(4) The "hammering out" period, marked by self‑discipline and application. Through perfect concentration, drawing upon the wealth of resources within plus the desire and skill to produce, life's endeavors are consummated by a period of creative productivity.
The potential is within each individual. As it is nurtured and cultivated it comes alive and is expressed in many ways, glorifying one's creator.
‑‑‑Etta L. Cosner, Midland Schools, Des Moines, Iowa, December 1960.
There comes a time in human affairs when precedents fall like beams in a burning building and wherein salvage can only be affected by powerful, new and untried currents of application. At such a juncture, the man who knows ways and means, if not answers, rates as an idealist when in reality he is the practical mind. Ideas are always at a premium; and ideas do not spring most promising from snap judgment nurtured on outward precedent but from constructive minds more concerned with the basic reasons of problems than with their superficial aspects of solution.
---Burrows Matthews, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 7, 1934.
Hard work must be interfused with imagination. The faculty to recall what has been is reproductive imagination. We can look ahead with vision. This is creative imagination. In human relations this power is akin to sympathetic understanding of others. In science, business, and industry it is the beam of light which pierces the future. In trouble and sorrow it is faith and hope. In hardships and disappointments it is the healing shadow of a sense of humor. In human culture imagination expresses in literature, the plastic arts, architecture, philosophy and religion. Imagination lifts the face of man from the clods to the skies. It transforms drudgery and dreariness into freedom of spirit for daily work. It is truly one of the deep wellsprings of human happiness.
-‑‑Jesse P. Bogue, Saints' Herald, Independence, Mo., Feb. 9, 1959.
Manual, creative work (in the sense that making anything is creative) has always been an essential part of human nature; it is even more essential today, when the machine age has tended to routinize our jobs, to give us a sense of inferiority by thrusting us into a complicated economic system in which our individual efforts seem to be insignificant, mechanical motions which could be performed just about as well by the next fellow. And particularly in these troubled times, when established values are tumbling all around us, people need the sense of self‑confidence, self‑respect, that comes only from seeing something take complete form under their own hands.
-‑‑Boris Blai, American Magazine, Springfield, Ohio, January 1940.
Creativity depends on keen perception, skillful use of materials and tools, clear expression, high motivation, and good physical and mental health. One must have high ability to distinguish elements, to handle materials, to manipulate apparatus, and to express self in a unique way which improves self‑confidence and enhances relations with others. Creativity involves great capacity for self‑sustained and self‑motivated work. It occurs more oft interests lie. Physical energy and mental ability must be high in order for the individual to persist in his creative endeavor. Creative people work long and hard at their tasks. Creativeness is a sort of state of experimentation, being dissatisfied with what we have, feeling that perfection is something never quite attained but constantly being sought, expressing and trying new ideas, and evaluating results.
Creativity is not sheer volume of work or novelty of expression. It is not simply a matter of intellect or high I.Q. It is frequently found in the non‑conforming rebellious, "inner‑directed" child, who enjoys the uncertainty of the unknown, displays an unusual degree of originality and innovation, and gauges achievement by unconventional standards. Creativity may, at times, be troublesome and even dangerous. Flexibility in thinking and imagination, freedom to deviate from stereotype repetitions, and experimental attitudes seem to be especially noted in children who are engaged in creative work.
‑‑‑E.C. Hunter, Louisiana Schools, Baton Rouge, La., January 1966.
New and brilliant ideas are no monopoly of men of high station. A public man, well known throughout the country, possesses the best facilities for propagating his ideas, but there is often nothing new or original about them. In fact, many men get credit for originality who do nothing more than exploit ideas which they have gotten from someone else. They have perhaps developed the faculty of taking an idea in crude form, dressing it up in high sounding language and putting behind it the force of their own personalities, thus making it appear to be a veritable discovery.
One to whom worthwhile ideas come owes it to himself and to the world to give them public expression. If he should fail to attract any attention at first, it should be no cause for discouragement. Some day, if he continues to cultivate his powers of expression, he will hit upon an idea which will, in content and felicity of phrasing, attract attention.
Ideas are the product of thinking, but unless the thinking finds outward expression, it will cease to be fruitful of ideas. One may give vent to nine ideas which will apparently fall flat, but it is something to have sent them forth. The tenth idea may be the one upon which his fortune will be founded. There are plenty of men, of course, whose fortune or fame results from their having hit upon one good, productive idea. A new idea if it is worth thinking out is worth the trying out.
---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 24, 1918.
The power of invention and discovery is an endowment, and as such should be cultivated; its exercise is an art and may be acquired. To cultivate or acquire such demands above all else an unmixed love for truth and an unflinching perseverance in the pursuit thereof. The discoverer labors without a selfish thought as to the personal gain or the material benefit to result from his studies. True discoverers [are] hardy miners who brought from the deep and dangerous passages of the unknown flashing jewels of truth and fact. They took those precious gems and gave them setting worthy of their usefulness and beauty.
Another governing feature in ths constitution of the inventor’s mind is a degree of self-dependence and reliance upon its own power. Originality of thought is too often sunk in the regard and reverence for the words of books–reliable or otherwise. Books are the result of thought; they cannot direct us through the wilderness of the undiscovered, except as they record the journeyings of some former traveler through those deserts.
The realm of the unknown is immeasurable; its horizon extends with every step we take. One the sea of discovery there is room for every sail; in the firmament of knowledge is space for everything. Nature should be studied–that is the model; art is the copy. Books are but aids in the pursuits. As students of the things about us, we are too apt to mistake the artificial for the natural.
There is much indeed to impel men to thought and action, such as may terminate in discovery. The Creator has endowed him with the dominant trait of curiosity–a hook, as it has been called, which brings more fish from the waters of knowledge and the rivers of truth, than all others. Man begins to contemplate nature through curiosity; but he must needs end his gaze with reverence and praise.
The teacher should be a discoverer. The human mind, with is intricate combinations and mysterious operations, is not yet studied to its full. The germ of discovery should be planted within the pupil’s nature–even he can find out much–written, if indeed written at all, between the lines of his book. Every man and woman should be a discoverer–his own body and soul are proper subjects for his thought. Let this great endowment of the mind be cultivated to its full–such a labor is worthy of the teacher’s dignity.
—James E. Talmage, Utah Enquirer, Provo, Utah, July 13, 1888.
No one should go through life being a ditto.
No one should always wait to see what someone else says and then say “me too.” No one should always watch what someone else does and then do identically.
Sometimes we are too timid about our own thoughts and convictions. Sometimes we say what we think we are expected to say rather than what we really think.
And sometimes pride plays too big a part in our expressed opinions. Sometimes we echo the opinions of others because we hope to impress other people.
What we think may be as important as what anyone thinks (and for us it may be much more important). But sometimes we are so much concerned about the impression we are making on other people that we forget all about being ourselves.
And when all of us try to impress one another there is an air of artificiality. And in such an atmosphere, friendships are shallow—and so is conversation. And we may keep much of our best thinking inside of us.
Sometimes when we don’t feel sure of ourselves, we confine our comments to casual and commonplace things—such as conversation about the weather. “Change of weather,” said Thomas Fuller, “is the discourse of fools.” It is the discourse of many of us when we haven’t anything else in mind that we feel to say.
Sometimes we hear other people say things that we have long thought, but which we haven’t had the courage to say. Or perhaps we didn’t think our thoughts would interest anyone else.
And yet, we later find that many of our thoughts have already been thought by others—and may already have been written. This happens often—perhaps because all great thoughts come from the same source.
“In every work of genius,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. The highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what (other) men thought, but what THEY thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind. . . . Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.”
If we don’t place a proper value on our own thoughts, “tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take . . . our own opinion from another.” (Emerson)
We can and must learn from others. But we also have a right to our own thoughts, our own preferences, our own opinions. We have a right (and an obligation) to be ourselves.
And whenever we suppress an honest opinion merely because we are too timid, or merely because we think it wouldn’t be popular, we may be suppressing that part of our thinking which would have been of most worth to the world.
This doesn’t mean that we should say everything we think. It doesn’t mean that we should talk loosely or carelessly. It doesn’t mean that we should place too much important on our unstudied or superficial opinions. It doesn’t mean that our snap judgment should have as much weight as an opinion that some other sincere person has seriously considered.
But we do have a right to our own ideas. And we shall never contribute much to our own generation (or to any other), so long as we wait for others to think all our thoughts for us, so long as we wait for others always to speak our minds for us.
People who go a long way in life, people whose opinions are highly respected, are often merely people like us—but who dare to say what we have thought, but haven’t said, and who dare to do what we could have done if we had had the same courage and the same faith in ourselves that they have.
Ditto marks can be very uninteresting. And the “me too” minds don’t add much that makes the world move forward.
---Richard L. Evans, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., May 8, 1949.
There are men that live and die without ever having what really may be called an IDEA, and there have been men that, with one single idea, have done more for the world and for other men than ten million ordinary men of ordinary ideas could do in a whole lifetime. … Ideas are the motive power of civilization and all progress. Whatever of real importance has happened on this earth has always begun in the brain of some human being IN THE SHAPE OF AN IDEA. Ideas have worked and pulled men forward on this earth from the beginning. … Every step in our progress has been based on an idea. Behind every forward movement has been the power of an idea and nothing else. It was always ideas that provided the solution of all problems and removed all difficulties.
With too many of our people the trouble is not too little thinking but no thinking at all. We sit, taking in and never creating, never giving out. Fortunately, one man’s idea, or one woman’s idea, can benefit many generations. The maker of a fundamentally important discovery in science benefits all of the human race for all time to come. But the face that a few can do so much for many does not excuse the many that drift through life allowing their brains to remain idle and unproductive, like money hidden under the floor, drawing no interest.
Ideas are the interest, the PROFIT on our thinking power; the possibility of profit is absolutely unlimited. Fortunately, the tendency of modern interest is in the direction that MUST inevitably stir up more thought. The first hundred steps that a little child takes are the hardest. Firm walking and swift running follow those first few faltering steps. Firm thinking and real progress come to him that concentrates his energies and time on the precise formulating of ideas.
There are ruts in the mind as there are ruts in a muddy road. Millions live and die in mental ruts. Many, through ignorance, imaging that routine living, mental inactivity, are the natural, inevitable lot of the ordinary man, and that ideas come of their own accord, without training or trying, to especially gifted individuals. It is not so. A man can learn to think as he can learn to play the violin. He can train his mind to form ideas by feeding his mind with good books, serious conversation. Ideas will take you wherever you want to go. And there is no other moving power.
---Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 27, 1929.
A person who works with his hands is a laborer, a person who works with his hands and head is an artisan and a person who works with his hands, head and heart is an artist.
—Ed Armstrong, Dallas Times Herald, Dallas, Texas, June 22, 1988.
The key to all inspiration is self-inspiration, leading to individuality in motivation. Inspiration is the infusion and arousing within the soul of some idea or feeling, especially one that leads to creative, purposeful action. Inspiration is the self-activation of positive impressions within our reservoir of thoughts.
—Don H. Rasmussen, Amo Servitum, Los Angeles, Calif., April 1968.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in a mad chase of evanescent profits.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 5, 1933.
The chief business of life is to keep growing. To vigorous personalities the chief joy of life is the joy that comes from constant growth. Where there is creative life there is growth. When human growth is complete and joyful, it includes the whole man–body, mind and soul. A growing individual moves freely and naturally from one level of experience to still higher levels with courage and confidence that defy fixation or stagnation. There is no joy comparable to that joy which springs from a fully integrated life built upon the pattern of growth. Such an aim of life lifts one out of the mood of resignation, regression, neutrality, inactivity, self-complacency, and instills within one a courage that dissolves every conflict which puts a tension on life. Such [an aim of life] is the breaking through the crust of individuality, conventionality, and merging oneself with that spirit of creative growth which is bigger than oneself.
—John Walter Houck, New York Times, New York, N.Y., Jan. 14, 1929.
There is always room for improvement in every profession, in every business. The up to date businessman is constantly breaking up old systems which have been handed down from father to son for many generations. The progressive man knows that the world is new every day and that it requires new treatment. He looks toward the light, he holds his mind open. He does not care how many people have done the work before, or in what way they may have done it, or how many superstitions engirdle the thing he is working upon; he does his work in his own way. The present state of the world's progress is the result of the constant breaking away from the past, the elimination of worn out machinery, of cast off ideas, foolish superstitions, prejudice and worn out methods. Resolve that, whether you accomplish much or little in the world, it shall be original, your own. Do not be afraid to assert yourself. Originality is power, life; imitation is death. Do not be afraid to let yourself out. You grow by being original, never by copying; by leading, never by following. Resolve that you will be a man of ideas, always on the lookout for improvement. Think to some purpose. There is always a place for the original man.
—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., April 5, 1920.
Creativity in the individual has no timing service, no set sequence, no prescribed method, and there is no magic formula for its application. Just how creativity generates or is generated, develops or is developed, expresses or is expressed, remains one of the mysteries of human phenomena. Creativity is possessed by all people. Some find it but never use it, some seem never to find it, some find it and use it to advantage, while others find it and abuse it. For the mysteries of creativity to be better understood, some young man or woman must "traffic" in ideas and delve into the conscious and the subconscious. They must traffic in ideas to the extent that they can search for both harmony and conflict of the creation of ideas. Perhaps one of the basic obstructions to an enlarged understanding of creativity is the underlying habit of an unwillingness to fuse abstract truths, principles and laws with the needs of man in our thinking. We are often unwilling to propose several possible solutions to a given problem or situation. Once we find a solution, we seem content to accept that solution without exploring further, and consequently certain truths and needs of men go untended. Recognizing factors of creativity point out that solutions to a problem or situation must be looked upon as a complete spectrum--with no limits at either end. There is always a better solution or perhaps a worse solution, if we are but willing to search beyond that first solution. To search beyond one solution to a problem or situation requires an active curiosity. This means an individual is willing to ask even embarrassing questions, is willing to gamble on his or her ability, and will make every effort to see beyond the immediate and the obvious.
—Richard Morley, Gull's Cry, Panama City, Fla., Nov. 16, 1961.
The greatest satisfaction in life comes from the consciousness that you have done good work, produced something, been creative, accomplished something definite. We work because the creative impulse is in all of us. Without the consciousness of successful, creative effort, life would be a treadmill on which we only staggered, waiting for the mill to stop.
—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., June 4, 1931.
Two conspicuous elements stand out in every great leader: ability to create and see through and all around a constructive program; ability to execute that program. Some men are able to plan wisely, but lack ability to execute. Some men can execute with marked ability the program that is put in their hands, but have no ability to create a program. These two elements are a rare combination.
—M.O. Patterson, Baptist Record, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 2, 1917.
The more creative and productive in character our calling is, and the less parasitic it is, the more fundamental is our contribution to social well-being.
—Elmer G. Peterson, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 28, 1929.
The living in a creative atmosphere is healthy, happy and wholesome. I have never heard of anybody being accidentally bad or gloomy. We have to make an effort to be gloomy. The same expenditure of energy and time will in being cantankerous if directed in helpful channels would change an atmosphere of negative living into one of creative experiences and spirit.
—Floyd Poe, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 25, 1955.
Regardless of how we may look at the question of the equality of men, the fact remains that the mass of people are dependent upon a few individuals for the creation of those things which provide clothing, food, and the luxuries of life. The mass of people is also dependent on the genius of the few, which creates employment in the production of these utilities. Without the creative few we would still be laboriously plowing the soil with a crooked stick, transportation would be carried on the backs of animals. Life would drop back to its simplest elements and drudgery, common place drudgery, would come again. Mankind has always benefitted when one, here and there, seems to and does depart from the usual and the normal; one who dares to use his brains as well as his muscle. Such are the contributors to the comforts of the world.
—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., July 28, 1937.
Nothing gives one more pleasure than realizing that he has done something creative. Creations make impressions that last. Development of the creative sense is more difficult than construction of the material side.
—C.C. Grimes, Canyon News, Canyon, Texas, May 28,1936.
It is the surprising experience of those whose avowed business of life is self-expression, to find that the more they express, the more they have left to express. There is no higher joy to be found on earth than the joy and the liberty of self-expression. This is the joy of the artist, the musician, the writer, the public speaker. And, after all, is not this the joy of every enthusiastic worker, no matter what his job may be? To do anything and to do it with all one's might and do it well, is a form of self-expression. Is it selling goods, is it taking dictation, is it polishing mental, is it turning a lathe, is it cutting out patterns? All this is, in a sense, the work of an artist and the expression of that artistic instinct, which, to a greater or less degree, is in us all. Robert Louis Stevenson always held that it paid to write, whether one ever printed a word of what he had written, or not–paid in the joy of it. The same thing may be said of any other form of self-expression which, after all, is artistry. It pays to do anything and do it well, just for the joy to one's self and just for the development of one's powers.
—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 26, 1919.
Unless a man loves his work and is proud of it he cannot put his full ability into it. That statement is so true on the face of it as to need no further argument. No man can put his full ability into his work unless that work will also admit something of his own individuality. To create, to stamp one's own imprint upon a thing, to "leave his mark," as the saying goes, is what reaches down into a man and brings up abilities and resources which even he did not know he possessed.
—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 28, 1920.
Every soul has a creative urge. Adequate education usually directs that urge to useful expression. Ignorance may lead it into crooked byways to the injury of itself and its environment.
—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 19, 1924.
Ideas are the greatest gems ever mined.
—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., April 1, 1927.
The greatest pleasure in work is in creating something.
—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., April 13, 1935.
The aim of all pleasure should be the re-creation of our creative powers.
—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Oct. 2, 1940.
The people who stand out from the crowd today in their creativity are those who have the qualities of resourcefulness, courage, and the independence of judgment that have characterized the men who have really made history.
—J.A. Southern, The Southern Baptist Educator, Nashville, Tenn., March 1965.
The basic principle of creativity has been stated as making use of one's old experiences to come up with new ideas--or something new out of something old. One who creates takes what he knows, what he feels, what he visualizes, what he can do, and puts them together to solve a problem, satisfy a need or a desire, or to express an interest. Imagination, resourcefulness, freedom, and invention are all aspects of the creative process. Creativity is relative and complex. It is what one sees, feels, and knows. It cannot be measured or evaluated by mechanical systems nor by set criteria. Creativity in any area is likely to follow anyone of various possibilities. One's individual creation may be as different from another's as day is from night, yet each may provide a new, fresh, and valid contribution. The one main reason for creative activity is to communicate an idea or an image one has in mind. Very likely the word creative has been overworked and abused and very probably some person in the areas of art and design have felt that they were the only ones capable of being result of human activity, and the bringing together of all the learned elements of our culture into new relationships is creative ability. Such activities produce progress and progress demands continuous discovery of new relationship. But I believe that there is at least one concept prevalent today that tends to stifle creativity: the concept that creativity is produced by competition. Competition demands necessity and calls for expediency, not self-expression or release of imagination.
—Marcus V. McWaters, Louisiana Schools, Baton Rouge, La., September 1962.
The power of imitation is not to be despised, but the capacity of independent and original work is the characteristic of genius. I believe there is at least a spark of this celestial fire within the nature of every man, but in few instances is it shielded and fanned so that it becomes anything more than a spark. You should work for the love of work, seek truth for its own sake. Strive to be great, and every good man is great. Put forth your exertions willingly, unreservedly. It is required of you that no effort shall be spared, that no labor shall be considered too arduous. ... Shun the delusion that best efforts are to be made only on special occasions.
—James E. Talmage, Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 10, 1895.
Creative labor involves one's whole personality. It is the kind of labor which results from having a mind to work. It calls into play one's initiative and originality. It employs all his resources.
—J.E. Lambdin, The Baptist Training Union Magazine, Nashville, Tenn., February 1942.
Would you like to have a creative job? Creativeness is a quality of the person–not the job. Anyone who takes a job that limits his creativeness sells his soul.
—John W. Harold, Midland Schools, Des Moines, Iowa, November 1959.
Giving birth to an idea is one thing; raising it to maturity is another.
—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., May 1, 1929.
When you spend more time in creative thinking, you devote less time to worrying.
—Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Oct. 20, 1946.