Goals – Creativity and Ideas
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ― Albert Einstein
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” ― Steve Jobs
“I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multi planetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet—to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness—then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.” – Elon Musk
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ” – Pablo Picasso
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company
Creativity is the real mark of excellence in any endeavour or task. The differentiator in all skill and effort is the extra creativity put in it. The innovators rule the perch and are revered more than the imitators. We value those that come up with better and efficient ways of executing tasks.
Creativity is what adds the spark to life. Without creativity and innovation the human spirit and flame dies. We are enthralled by movies because they explore the human creative spirit. We only remember and celebrate significant creations that add that bit of magic in our lives.
Study creativity and innovation the great individuals and companies who leave a legacy are reknown for these two aspects.
Crunch Time- Apollo 13
It was the year 1970 and Apollo 13 was on it’s way to the moon. Without warning a sudden explosion occurs and the air filtration system in the astronaut’s capsule has been damaged. Carbon Dioxide levels are building up.
The astronauts only have a few hours to live and an emergency filtration system has to be built. Down on earth at the command and control center in NASA Florida a solution has to be quickly found. All hands on deck is the rallying cry.
In those precious few hours, with the clock ticking down, a solution is crafted. It works and ultimately saves the astronauts lives. Creativity under immense pressure had worked.
Individuals who have excelled at creativity
Albert Einstein is the father of the Theory of Relativity and the atomic bomb. He postulated one of the greatest theories in modern physics. He was a German born Physicist who was born in the year 14th March 1879. He invented the mass – energy equation E=MC2 and also received the Nobel prize in Physics in 1921.
He was a prodigious scientist who published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 papers of non scientific work. His most significant works published were in the year 1905 his miracle year. He published four (4) original ground breaking papers which included the photoelectric effect theory, an explanation on Brownian motion, special relativity and mass-energy equivalence
An unknown fact about Albert Einstein that many people overlook was that he was also a good musician. He was adept at playing the violin and participated in public performances. He had a fondness for Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
He expressed his love for Mathematics and Physics from a young age. He was self taught in calculus and by the age of 14 years old had mastered integral and differential calculus. He had already proven the Pythagoras theorem by the age of 12 years. He was a child prodigy who was fortunate to have had the chance to immerse himself in his favourite subjects early in his formative years.
Key to his creativity was overwhelming focus in one scientific area- physics, his work ethic and his ability to connect the dots. He also read widely in other topics especially philosophy and his hobby in music.
Leonardo Da Vinci (Renaissance Man)
He was an Italian born in Florence, Italy at around 15th April 1452. He was a genius who was widely read in several areas which included invention, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, paleontology and cartography. He was called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture.
He is also considered one of the greatest painters of all time. The Mona Lisa and the Last Supper are two of his most famous pieces of his art works and the most popular portraits of all time. His early education was in an art studio and he apprenticed there for quite some time.
One of his paintings the Salvotor Mundi was sold at USD 450.3 million dollars during an auction in New York in the year 2017. This was the highest price ever paid for any painting in the world. Apart from his paintings he was also a scientist and conceptualized many artifacts such as flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine and the double hull.
He also made many discoveries in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics, and hydrodynamics. His early formative years were critical to the nurture of his creative genius. He was an apprentice in art studio for close to 7 years but also learnt technical skills including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics, and wood-work, as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting, and modelling.
The novelist Matteo Bandello observed Leonardo at work and wrote that some days he would paint from dawn till dusk without stopping to eat and then not paint for three or four days at a time. He was very prodigious and talented. He made detailed notes in over 13,000 pages of notes on his various observations. That is how prolific Leonard Da Vinci was.
His work ethic, ability to focus on his masterpieces and his ability to read widely, connect the dots were some of his excellent habits that propelled him to fame.
Steven Spielberg was born on December 18th 1946 in Cincinnati Ohio. He is one of the best film directors and producers to have ever lived. His father was an electrical engineer and his mother was a restaurateur and concert pianist.
He grew up making amateur films at home using an 8 mm film camera. He joined the boy scouts at the age of 12 years. To get his photography merit badge he had to take still photographs. His dad’s still camera was broken and he asked to carry out the project using a motion camera. He shot a nine minute Western called the Last Gunfight and won his merit badge.
From there he continued making more movies. At the age of 13 he won a prize for shooting a 40 minute movie called the Escape to Nowhere. From then on he went on to shoot 15 more 8 mm films. At the age of 16 he wrote and directed his first independent film a 140- minute science fiction adventure called Firelight financed by his father and was shown in a local cinema.
His family moved to Los Angeles and this is where he came in contact with the Hollywood movie industry. He joined the State University of California and managed to get an internship in Hollywood. He directed his first 35 mm film called Amblin that went on to win several awards.,
He dropped out of college and started producing TV productions and films. He went on to co-found Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks Pictures. His break through film was Jaws produced in 1975 and he went on to produce more critically acclaimed films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993). The Color Purple (1985), Empire of the Sun (1987), Schindler’s List (1993), Amistad (1997), and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Munich (2005), Lincoln (2012), Bridge of Spies (2015), and The Post (2017).
He has also served as a producer or executive producer for several successful film trilogies and more including the Gremlins, Back to the Future, Men in Black, and the Transformers series In his career he has won several awards he has won the Oscars Academy Award for Best Director twice.
Some of his movies are also among the highest grossing films, while his total work makes him the highest grossing film director in history. His net worth is estimated to be more than 3 billion USD dollars.
The sheer volume of his works produced and his film directing genius have enabled him make his mark in the film industry and the world as a whole. This encapsulates the power of creativity at it’s best.
Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco California on February 24th 1955. He was a business titan, industrial designer and investor. His key roles were chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Apple Inc. the world’s premier electronic gadget company.
Other key roles he held were chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar an animated movie company, a member of the Walt Disney Company’s board of directors after it acquired Pixar, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT.
Steve Job’s adopted father Paul Jobs was a machinist and built a work bench for Steve early in life. He fell in love with electronics as early as the age of 10 years and was working on his own electronic projects by that age. When he went on to high school his two key interests were electronics and literature classes.
Steve Jobs studied calligraphy in college but dropped out early as his adopted parents could not afford his tuition fees. He went on a year sabbatical tour in India and returned home a focused individual. He was fortunate to be living in the epicentre of the personal computer revolution which was in San Francisco and took advantage of this opportunity early on.
Most of his key achievements and fame were garnered from his company Apple. He is recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. They mass produced the Apple I and Apple II computers and gained an early fortune.
Apple’s key speciality was in computer graphics. Apple was recognised as the forefront personal computer in the desk top publishing field. The Macintosh was the personal computer model that propelled Apple to it’s early fame. Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 but after it floundered he came back in 1997 to lead it once more.
Together with his chief designer Jony Ive they created iconic products which included the iMac, iTunes, iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPhone, App Store, and the iPad. Steve Jobs accumulated over 450 patents in his life time. Even on his death bed he was still designing and trying to simplify his oxygen respirator.
Beware always aim to develop skills that enable you to live long lasting legacies that are not bound by time. The late Steve Jobs of Apple stated it in 1995 “poke life you never know what you will see on the other side.”
Steve Jobs poked life and did manage to get wonderful outcomes at the other end. Apple and Pixar are two companies where his insistence on creativity gave the world products that became cultural icons. His work ethic and his insistence on elegance and design triumphed at the end.
His enduring example has ensured that the technology arena never rests. Apple set the pace and all companies in this field have had to raise their standards to match it’s relentless innovative match. The world continues to be dazzled by the array of products that continue to be churned out by the technology companies.
Elon Musk is a South African born entrepreneur who was born in 1971 and is currently a resident and citizen of the United States of America. He is a billionaire who is famous for his exploits in Space Research, Solar and Electric vehicle research.
His key mission is to push for human colonisation of mars to act as a safeguard of the perpetuation of the human race in case of an extinction level event. To execute this idea he has pursued combined interests in space, electrical and solar engineering. He is the Chief Executive Officer of three famous companies: Space X, Tesla and Solar City.
His interest in electronic engineering was sparked by his father’s profession and he started experimenting at an early age with electronic projects. He has garnered many achievements and Space X has successfully managed to become the primary launch vehicle for space logistics and supply missions for the United States Government and jointly for the International Space Station.
The Tesla electric cars are also starting to make a mark in the car industry but commercial success is still a long way off due to oil supply availability. Research still continues to improve electric car technology and one should never discount his efforts
Elon Musk can be regarded as the true paragon of modern renaissance man in the 21st Century. He is pushing the envelope and making stuff happen. Key attributes that contribute to his success are his work ethic , competence and passion for his areas of interest.
He is obsessed and committed to make his ventures work. He breathes , eats and lives Space, Electric and Solar research. This is a model of creativity pushing past barriers.
When we aim to differentiate ourselves and become creators we are reaching out to the other side of the universe. You become the best version of you when you get the ability to create, transform or improve other people’s lives for the better.
There are many problems that have still not been solved. Aim to solve the hard problems, create different experiences for your fellow men and women.
Aim to create works that outlive you. These are works in the form of books, research papers, new products and inventions, music, articles, software, paintings, sculptures, building companies, architectural master pieces, new medicines, better processes and methods.
What Drives Creativity?
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ goes the saying. Necessity indeed has driven man through the ages to improve his circumstances.
Harsh weather and the elements forced man to build shelter. Droughts forced man to build dams and the wheel was invented to ease transport.
Diseases and epidemics have forced man to search for cures. Necessity is the greatest driver of innovation. Conflict and wars have always led to rapid advances in technology. The Atomic bomb, nuclear energy and rocket technology are all products of the 2nd World War.
Deprivation, hunger, disease are factors that have our backs are against the wall and have forced man to reach deep within his reserves to counter these forces.
Posterity and Legacy
Another driver of creativity is posterity and legacy. Man is a special creature that wants to leave an impact and imprint in the planet. The pyramids in Egypt, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal are all testament to our need to leave monuments that last for generations to come.
Man’s innate need to search for knowledge
Another major driver of innovation is man’s need to explore and add to his reservoir of knowledge. Man was born a thinking animal. We are always thinking about better ways to accomplish and carry out tasks.
We are always seeking to simplify our lives and make them more convenient. This thirst for convenience drives us to invent and create.
Thus creativity is sparked by both pressure and serependity. We are both creative at leisure and when we are under immense pressure. Deadlines do work and also meditation and reflection do work. Combine and alternate these factors to raise your creative output.
The Modern Age and ideas
The world is an oyster for those who create and improve constantly. The ability to communicate instantly and share ideas is the key differentiator in the 21st century. We are communicating at the speed of thought.
We have the ability to transform and improve lives all over the globe in an instant. Ideas are the real currency of mankind. All the objects and products we use begun as ideas and thoughts in the brains of individuals.
We are all born with one special innate skill and it’s our task to try, test and explore to bring out the best of our creative skills into the world. We are the only known species of animals with the ability to think in abstract form, adapt and create.
Ask yourself what can you create? What product can you improve? Why do things have to be this way? Push yourself to the higher realms of thought; your creative being is there and ever present. We only have to ask the right questions. Why? What? and How?
Raising Personal Standards
It all comes back to pushing past self limiting beliefs. The impossible can be done. When we have that belief we will always seek ways to achieve targets and goals that surpass our current level of belief.
Five inventions have radically changed man’s present conditions; harnessing the use of fire, the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invention of the oil engine and harnessing electricity. These five inventions have enabled mankind to radically transform the environment.
The onus is on you and I to keep on breaking and pushing past new barriers and self imposed limitations. Thinking out of the box is essential to living an uncommon life. Challenge yourself to try and experiment with new ideas or try new experiences.
Move out of your current sandbox and try experience a different sand box. You will get surprised at the outcome. Try write a book, publish an article for a magazine, newspaper, write, sing a song…
Learn a different language, learn a programming language, present a talk, invent a new product, improve a process, create a blog, create a website, create a podcast, create your own radio station, draw a painting, set up a new business, carry out your own research.
It just takes the belief to take the first step and keep on moving forward. There are literally many things that you can do that can push you out of any self limiting belief or thought
Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance
Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
The Expanded and Annotated My Life and Work: Henry Ford’s Universal Code for World-Class Success – Henry Ford, Samuel Crowther , William A. Levinson