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Creativity Defined


 A collection of my favorite thoughts and reflections on creativity. ( Audio recording at the end of the post)

” Through art alone are we able to emerge from ourselves, to know what another person sees of the universe which is not the same as our own and of which, without art, the landscapes would remain as unknown to us as those that may exist in the moon.

Thanks to art,

instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, send us still each one its special radiance.” – Marcel Proust/ Novelist




Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives for several reasons. Here I want to mention only the two main ones. First, most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity. We share 98 percent of our genetic makeup with chimpanzees. What makes us different-our language, values, artistic expression, scientific understanding, and technology- is the result of individual ingenuity that was recognized, rewarded, and transmitted through learning. Without creativity, it would be difficult indeed to distinguish humans from apes.

The second reason creativity is so fascinating is that when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. The excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab comes close to the ideal fulfillment we all hope to get from life, and so rarely do. But creativity also leaves an outcome that adds to the richness and complexity of the future. “ -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.







” In fact, any form of creative process, of making, be it painting, acting, composing, dancing, singing, choreographing, writing, sculpting, programming, or translating can be framed as an empathic conversation.

And when they are framed in this fashion, the maker simply tries her best to realize their empathy in relation to the various others involved in the process, yet this gives rise to a plethora of side effects ranging from the acquisition of new knowledge, to creativity, insight, innovation, to maturation, connection, relational transformation, and beyond. And all these side effects feed into the general feeling of euphoria. A feeling powerful and addictive enough to convince the maker that the act of making is not merely about the product, but also about the process.” – Seung Chan Lim/Realizing Empathy




We often confuse respecting with accommodating. 

We often confuse listening with hearing.

We often confuse considering with thinking.

We often confuse acting with doing.

We often confuse humility with modesty.

We often confuse courage with naive forms of risk-taking.

~Realizing Empathy



” What we ultimatley gain from making, from engaging in an empathetic conversation, is not just a thing, or even the experience, but the ability to trust ourselves and others that make up the world at large.


It is the ability to love. 

And with love, we bring into this world the necessary energy to sustain each other’s lives, to give each other the means to wake up the next morning ready to make more.

And when what we make inspires others to engage in the kind of empathic conversation it took us to make, it can provide them with their own sources of trust.

As simple and as powerful as that can be,

That is the function of Art. 

So whatever it is you make,

whether a chair, a piece of software, a story, a service,

an organization, a building, a city, or a movement,


that unless it becomes a source of your trust,

unless it activates your soul, unless it empowers

you to love, and find hope, unless it gives you

a reason to sustain your life, to live another day,

you have not finished your work.

So here’s to finishing our work.

Stay beautiful.


~ Realizing Empathy

“While we cannot foresee the eventual results of creativity- of the attempt to impose our desires on reality, to become the main power that decides the destiny of every form of life on the planet- at least we can try to understand better what this force is and how it works. Because for better or for worse, our future is now closely tied to human creativity. The result will be determined in large part by our dreams and by the struggle to make them real.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“The world would be a very different place if it were not for creativity.

We would still act according to the few clear instructions our genes contain, and anything learned in the course of our lives would be forgotten after our death. There would be no speech, no songs, no tools, no ideas such as love, freedom, or democracy. It would be an existence so mechanical and impoverished that none of us would want any part of it.

To achieve the kind of world we consider human, some people had to dare to break the thrill of tradition. Next, they had to find ways of recording those new ideas or procedure that improved on what went on before. Finally, they had to find ways of transmitting the new knowledge to the generations to come. Those who were involved in this process we call creative. What we call culture, or those parts of our selves that we internalized from the social environment, is their creation.


If one accepts these conclusions, it follows that human well-being hinges on two factors: the ability to increase creativity and the ability to develop ways to evaluate the impact of new creative ideas. “

~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

On Defining Creativity

” First, creativity must represent something different, new or innovative…. creativity must also be appropriate to the task at hand.A creative response is useful and relevant. “

~James C Kaufman/ Creativity 101

” I defined creativity as the process of becoming sensitive to problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, dis-harmonies, and so on; identifying the difficulty ; searching for solutions, making guesses, or formulating hypotheses about the deficiencies; testing and retesting these hypotheses and possibly modifying and retesting them; and finally communicating the results.

~ Paul Torrance/ educational psychologist

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