Habits to Spark Creative Genius

Evolution, Creation, and Stimulation

Why We Have an Evolutionary Need to Create

By Jeannine McGlade & Andrew Pek | Posted 7/5/10 | Updated 10/5/20

If feeling more alive and excited about work and life isn't enough to inspire you, perhaps you should think about evolution — that's right, evolution.

Each of us has an evolutionary need to create. From the first language systems and the first wheel to the airplane and our many forms of modern technology, the new ideas and developments of each age have borne witness to humanity's insatiable drive to adapt what we have in front of us. That drive is crucial to our success. It's not the strongest who survive, but the ones who adapt best. And in order to adapt, we need to create, and in order to create, we need stimulus, and in order to get stimulus, well, you need to read this book! Seriously, the need to create is a basic human need that, it could be argued, is not only an evolutionary imperative, but a spiritual one as well.

"Blocked creative expression is as detrimental to your wellbeing as a drug addiction." — Caroline Myss, author of Invisible Acts of Power

According to Caroline Myss, author of Invisible Acts of Power: Channeling Grace in Your Everyday Life, "Every single person is born with something to create — that creation might be a child or a business or a garden or a circle of friends or a peace accord. Whatever it is will be personally beneficial as well as beneficial for others." Myss reports that when people aren't doing what they are called to do or when they feel stuck or uninspired — in our parlance, not stimulated — she sees ill heath, stress, and chronic suffering time and time again.

Creativity is often misapprehended as a purely artistic or intellectual inclination . . . but working with your creative energy is as essential to your health and overall well-being as breathing and eating. Creative energy is a basic survival instinct; it motivates us to become part of society, to become productive, bring things to life, and to distinguish ourselves from others by what we make, the crafts we pursue, the skills we develop in business or in cultivating friendships, the entrepreneurial ideas we conceive, the problems we resolve, and the children or communities we birth and nurture. Yet many people have creative ideas and yearnings that they do not pursue out of a fear of financial failure or embarrassment, or because they are reluctant to step outside of their normal way of life and change it.

Myss makes the point that whatever the creation, it is critical that we each create. Imagine a world without creative expression — no artistic masterpieces, no music on the go, no overnight mail, no instant communication with your family in the next room or a stranger across the globe. Creativity is vital to advancing society and our potential as individuals. Each of us has the ability to leave a unique thumbprint on our world, and we do so through our creative expression. As you read, interact with, and put into practice the stories, exercises, and tools in this book, think about your circumstances at work and at home so that you can find the answers that will help motivate and inspire you and give you the creative energy necessary to live a meaningful and rich life.

Once you realize you are already creative (and you are already creative!), find new ways of creating the right conditions to get stimulated, and understand that getting stimulated and being creative are a way of life, then you will be on an exciting lifelong journey that will leave you and those around you inspired.

The many people and organizations we have had the privilege to work with, learn from, and "study" have produced creative expressions ranging from converting mouthwash into "film strips" and implementing wide-spread organizational change to launching on-demand TV platforms and inventing a natural remedy to heal wounds. While what they actually did was different, each demonstrated a pattern of behavior that could be considered magical, a gift of creativity bestowed only upon them. However, the individuals and teams who came up with these wonderful innovations were not necessarily creative in the way many of us imagine when we think of creative individuals.

Typically, when people think about someone creative, they tend to head straight toward the Picassos of the world. Of course Picasso was an extraordinary creative talent. However, it's not about being Picasso — there are many hardworking "regular" men and women who have produced many creative outcomes over their lifetimes. How'd they do it? Well, they become like Picasso, perhaps, and, by implementing a specific set of habits on a daily basis, they maintain a regular state of stimulation. Without these habits they couldn't get stimulated, and without getting stimulated, they couldn't be creative, and without being creative, they couldn't be innovative. Cultivating these habits (which you will learn about in this book) will give you the potential to become extraordinarily creative.

"Inspiration does exist but it must find you working." — Pablo Picasso, Spanish Cubist painter

The Extraordinarily Ordinary Creative

You don't need the next Picasso to teach you to be creative. In fact, often it is the more ordinary creatives we can learn the most from, and whose example we can use for sparking our own creative genius. So, as you are thinking about becoming more Picasso-like, take some time to answer the following questions:

Think of someone who is creative.

  • Why do you feel she is creative?
  • What specifically does she do that makes her creative?

Now, think of your own creative expression and ideas.

  • What can you learn about creativity from this person?
  • What can you take from how this person behaves and apply to your own creative expression?
  • How might you implement one of these behaviors tomorrow as you go about stimulating your creative genius?

Whatever your incentive to be creative, the question now is, How can I become and stay creatively fit to adapt to the ever-changing world and stay effectively engaged, stimulated, and motivated to create that which will do great things for me, my team, my family, and my organization? For starters, we need a plan, a regimen, a road map, a framework for getting stimulated — a way to ready ourselves to create.

©2010 Jeannine McGlade & Andrew Pek. All rights reserved.

Habits to Spark Your Creative Genius

Jeannine McGladeJeannine McGlade and Andrew Pek are authors, speakers, trainers, and thought leaders in making innovation and creativity a habit. more