One of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln is “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Not only have I found that be extremely true over the years, but the originator of the quoted pretty much lived it himself. Lincoln’s mother died when he was nine years old, he lost jobs, had failed businesses, suffered from a nervous breakdown, his sweetheart died, he was defeated running for congress, defeated running for senate, defeated for a vice-presidential nomination, and when he did finally marry and have a family — 3 of their 4 children would die before reaching adulthood. (Jeez, I’m getting depressed just writing about it.) But none of these setbacks prevents him from eventually becoming one of our nation’s greatest presidents.
I’m no Lincoln, but I’ve been thinkin’ (that’s right, I went for the rhyme) the same principle applies to creativity…
“People are about as creative as
they make up their minds to be.”
So many people I speak with at events say things like “oh, I could never come up with ideas like that.” Well, of course not! Not if you’ve already made up your mind that you’re not creative. Why can’t people make up their minds to BE creative instead of expending so much mental energy convincing themselves to the contrary?
I’m not good at sports, I’m no good at math, I could never get up in front of a group of people to give a speech, I just don’t understand computers, I can’t paint, I’m too clumsy to learn how to dance, and on and on and on…
In Earl Nightingale’s recording “The Strangest Secret” he reveals the core truth that “we become what we think about everyday.” The message is that whatever it is that you consistently think about and focus your mental energies upon, the universe will strive to bring into reality.
The problem is, the universe doesn’t care whether the thing you’re thinking about is positive or negative. It doesn’t matter if you’re telling yourself that you ARE creative and see ideas everywhere, or that you’re NOT creative and can never come up with a great idea.
- What if… you made up your mind to be creative?
- What if… you saw ideas EVERYWHERE?
- What if… you saw an opportunity to take a new direction at every roadblock you encountered?
- What if… you took ideas from outside your own area of focus/industry/job title and adapted them to your specific situation?
- What if… you never missed the chance to record an idea that popped into your head? Just one nugget of an idea that you take the time to write down every day would result in 365 new ideas per year.
Not bad for someone who “isn’t creative!”