What’s the common thread between Leonardo De Vinci, Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein? We all know they were extremely creative people but is that it? We probably know half a dozen people that are extremely creative…and although gifted, they have not achieved greatness.
Being creative alone just doesn’t cut it – you have to put “your money where your mouth” is and combine creativity with productivity.
So how do you do that? By studying how those three worked and interacted with their environment, I was able to isolate three distinct elements:
# 1 All of them shaped their environment to suit their needs
The more stimuli you surround yourself with, the more creative you are, right? In one respect, yes, but keep in mind that stimuli can also destroy your productivity. Make sure there is nothing that distracts you from the task at hand…The most creative people are often introverted, they’re open enough to communicate and explain their ideas, but they reach conclusions by themselves without any interruptions – solitude is a catalyst to innovation.
You are more than welcome to check Steve’s strange monk like behaviors, Albert’s “go into the cave to think” attitude, and Leonardo’s reclusive nature in their biographies.
# 2 The people they interacted with
Isolation gives you the ability to work but your interactions with people often spark creativity…your food for thought.
When it came to socializing all three were “mingling introverts”, learning from and exploiting the people around them to gain what they want, if it’s Leonardo’s court manors and his special relationship with Lorenzo Medici, Job’s up and down relationship with Apple’s co-founder Wozniak and Einstein’s disputes with Niels Bohr.
It’s important to interact with non-like-minded people because those interactions will inspire you on the “creative” and the “active” levels. They may know things you don’t and their different perspectives can ultimately help you tweak the way you work.
# 3 They all had a strong spiritual side that helped them unwind
Albert Einstein loved to play his violin; Leonardo De Vinci liked purchasing caged birds just to release them; and Steve Jobs was known for his Buddhist spiritual journeys and studies.
Unwinding is extremely important. When you feel stuck and can’t create, the best solution is to step down for a little while and engage in something totally different.
Think about it this way…
Our neural networks run on electricity, electricity = energy…no energy means your network has no power and needs to recharge, got it? (Although this is not a scientific explanation, it always convinces me to unwind.)
So in conclusion, in order to create something new, you’ll need to control your environment, exchange ideas with people that think differently, and unwind when necessary…and when you think that you nailed it, strike while the iron’s hot, and make it happen!
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