“Do you feel inadequate, that you’re not as talented as others? Good. Feeling inadequate is a driving force to do better. The self-satisfied are not the ones producing great things. They’re sitting back feeling smug and conceited.”
This is the introduction to one of the chapters of Rod Judkins The Art of Creative Thinking, a wonderful book that seeks to inspire you to think more confidently and creatively.
If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you’ll be aware of the famous ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, which took you on a different path at the end of each chapter.
Well, Rod Judkins seeks to do the same with The Art of Creative Thinking, encouraging you to ignore linear reading and dip in and dip out. For example, at the end of the aforementioned chapter, you are given this:
“More? If you liked doubt, you’ll love ignorance on p.129
Less? If you’ve had enough of self-doubt for now, try p.77″
The main aim of the book is to confound your existing thoughts and smash prejudices, thus opening up your brain to new ways of thinking and coming up with new ideas.
On ignorance, Judkins has this to say:
“Don’t be ashamed of being ignorant. Ignorance is natural. Creativity exists in not knowing. You have to be happy to admit you are ignorance and may never had a solution… Be willing to look stupid, to risk the emotional pain of getting it wrong.”
This speaks to that unnatural action of asking someone when you don’t understand something. Asking questions is something that people don’t do often enough.
Take a different route
In another great chapter Judkins covers taking an unusual path as a way of seeing the world differently.
“We all develop habits… We find ourselves behaving automatically. We stop being aware of what we are doing, but to think creatively you have to be constantly aware. Awareness means that whatever you are doing you are in the moment and doing it with completely consciousness. Lacl of awareness means that you are no alive to possibilities – you are missing opportunities.”
Of course, habits are extremely powerful and – in themselves – can help us immensely, for examples Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama make their wardrobe choices very easy.
But what Judkins is talking about is making changes to well-worn routines if we want to come up with new ideas.
“If you always take the same path, you will know where you are, but you will lose yourself. If you always do the same things in the same way, you will get the same results… Change is good, even if it just changing your desks around or moving the photocoier. Growth is painful and change is painful, but nothing is more painful than staying in the wrong place.”
The Art of Creative Thinking is a truly thought-provoking book and for anyone who feels the need to come up with new ideas and inspiration, it’s required reading.