Creativity Quotes

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Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
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Creativity Quotes Showing 1-30 of 94
“I mean, we’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are—as far as we know—the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“All our contemporaries...had some big ideology to live for. Everybody thought he had to either fight in Spain or die for something else, and most of us had to be in prison for one reason or another. And then at the end it turns out that none of these great ideologies was worth your sacrificing anything for. Even doing personal good is very difficult to be absolutely sure about. It's very difficult to know exactly whether to live for an ideology or even to live for doing good. But there cannot be anything wrong in making a pot, I'll tell you. When making a pot you can't bring any evil into the world. - Eva Zeisel, ceramist.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (มิฮาย ชิกเซนต์มิฮายยี), Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“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.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“In other words, if Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy showed more than their fair share of pathology it was due less to the requirements of their creative work than to the personal sufferings caused by the unhealthy conditions of a Russian society nearing collapse. If so many American poets and playwrights committed suicide or ended up addicted to drugs and alcohol it was not their creativity that did it but an artistic scene that promised much, gave few rewards and left nine out of ten artists neglected if not ignored.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Try to be surprised by something every day. It could be something you see, hear, or read about. Stop to look at the unusual car parked at the curb, taste the new item on the cafeteria menu, actually listen to your colleague at the office. How is this different from other similar cars, dishes or conversations? What is its essence? Don't assume that you already know what these things are all about, or that even if you knew them, they wouldn't matter anyway. Experience this once thing for what it is, not what you think it is. Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences - the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to. Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day. This is not because they are cheerful, enthusiastic types. Nor do they necessarily have something exciting to do. But they believe that there is something meaningful to accomplish each day, and they can’t wait to get started on it. Most of us don’t feel our actions are that meaningful. Yet everyone can discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. It could be meeting a certain person, shopping for a special item, potting a plant, cleaning the office desk, writing a letter, trying on a new dress. It is easier if each night before falling asleep, you review the next day and choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting. Then next morning, open your eyes and visualize the chosen event—play it out briefly in your mind, like an inner videotape, until you can hardly wait to get dressed and get going. It does not matter if at first the goals are trivial and not that interesting. The important thing is to take the easy first steps until you master the habit, and then slowly work up to more complex goals. Eventually most of the day should consist of tasks you look forward to, until you feel that getting up in the morning is a privilege, not a chore.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Second, to have a good life, it is not enough to remove what is wrong from it. We also need a positive goal, otherwise why keep going?”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“But consuming culture is never as rewarding as producing it.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“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, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail. If an ant fails, it’s dead.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“When people are asked to choose from a list the best description of how they feel when doing whatever they enjoy doing most—reading, climbing mountains, playing chess, whatever—the answer most frequently chosen is “designing or discovering something new.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“The insight presumably occurs when a subconscious connection between ideas fits so well that it is forced to pop out into awareness, like a cork held underwater breaking out into the air after it is released.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“no worthwhile effort in one’s life is either a success or a failure.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“After curiosity, this quality of concentrated attention is what creative individuals mention most often as having set them apart in college from their peers. Without this quality, they could not have sustained the hard work, the ‘perspiration.’ Curiosity and drive are in many ways the yin and the yang that need to be combined in order to achieve something new.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Now in his nineties, Spock is writing a book on spirituality. But his understanding of spirituality is a far cry from that of institutionalized religions: Spirituality, unfortunately, is not a stylish word. It’s not a word that gets used. That’s because we’re such an unspiritual country that we think of it as somewhat corny to talk about spirituality. “What is that?” people say. Spirituality, to me, means the nonmaterial things. I don’t want to give the idea that it’s something mystical; I want it to apply to ordinary people’s ordinary lives: things like love, and helpfulness, and tolerance, and enjoyment of the arts or even creativity in the arts. I think that creativity in the arts is very special. It takes a high degree and a high type of spirituality to want to express things in terms of literature or poetry, plays, architecture, gardens, creating beauty any way. And if you can’t create beauty, at least it’s good to appreciate beauty and get some enjoyment and inspiration out of it. So it’s just things that aren’t totally materialistic. And that would include religion.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Stern endorses Pascal’s maxim “To understand is to forgive.” In fact, one of the most exciting opportunities in being a writer, he feels, is to take a villain or criminal character and make him human by showing what caused him to be so.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Freeman Dyson said: “It is characteristic of scientific life that it is easy when you have a problem to work on. The hard part is finding your problem.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“So people take intelligence very seriously, because the mental ability we call by that name can be measured by tests; whereas few bother about how sensitive, altruistic, or helpful someone is, because as yet there is no good way to measure such qualities.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“It has been said that all the stories have already been told, that there is nothing left to say. At best, a writer’s job is to pour new wine in old bottles, to retell in a new way the same emotional predicaments that humans have felt since the beginnings of time. Yet many authors find this a worthwhile challenge; they think of themselves as gardeners whose task is to cultivate perennial ideas generation after generation. The same flowers will bloom each spring, but if the gardener slacks off, weeds will take over.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“creativity must, in the last analysis, be seen not as something happening within a person but in the relationships within a system.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“For Mark Strand, the poet’s responsibility to be a witness, a recorder of experience, is part of the broader responsibility we all have for keeping the universe ordered through our consciousness:”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“When do we get to the interesting part—the tortured souls, the impossible dreams, the agony and the ecstasy of creation?”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“at the height of the Romantic period, an artist who was not more than a little savage and mad would not have been taken very seriously, because these qualities were de rigueur for creative souls.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“In the 1960s, when abstract expressionism was the reigning style, those art students who tended to be sullen, brooding, and antisocial were thought by their teachers to be very creative.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“creative persons definitely know both extremes and experience both with equal intensity and without inner conflict.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“what drove me on to be my own boss was that the thing that I wanted most was to be able to have a nap every day”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“creative people usually enjoy not only their work but also the many other activities in their lives.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“A large majority of our respondents were inspired by a tension in their domain that became obvious when looked at from the perspective of another domain. Even though they do not think of themselves as interdisciplinary, their best work bridges realms of ideas. Their histories tend to cast doubt on the wisdom of overspecialization, where bright young people are trained to become exclusive experts in one field and shun breadth like the plague.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
“Assimilating the style of predecessors is necessary before one can develop one's own. Only by immersing oneself in the domain can one find out whether there is room left for contributing creatively to it, and whether one is capable of doing so.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

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