Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Creativity and improvement
I was reading an interesting article today about how geniuses differ from the rest of us. It lists eight strategies for creativity that are common among geniuses. This one is particularly interesting to me:
GENIUSES PRODUCE. A distinguishing characteristic of genius is immense productivity. Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents, still the record. He guaranteed productivity by giving himself and his assistants idea quotas. His own personal quota was one minor invention every 10 days and a major invention every six months. Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when he was sick or exhausted. Mozart produced more than six hundred pieces of music. Einstein is best known for his paper on relativity, but he published 248 other papers. T. S. Elliot's numerous drafts of "The Waste Land" constitute a jumble of good and bad passages that eventually was turned into a masterpiece. In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Dean Kean Simonton of the University of California, Davis found that the most respected produced not only great works, but also more "bad" ones. Out of their massive quantity of work came quality. Geniuses produce. Period.
Why should we make such a conscious effort to continuously improve? Doesn't that get in the way of actually getting our real work done? Well, it probably does get in the way of our routine work to an extent. But I would suggest that our real work is to get better and better. And the more improvements we make, the higher our chances for really significant change.
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continuous improvement, creativity