The two things you need to be creative

Failure is the condiment that gives success it...

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. -Truman Capote (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)


I was happy to find out last night that there are only two basic requirements for creativity. The first is that you must be endlessly curious about everything. This is something that children are really good at, but as adults we somehow lose the ability to wonder about things. Most of us are familiar with stories of people inventing or discovering things by accident, but for some reason we feel that we shouldn’t try out new ideas just in case they don’t work. We fear looking foolish as if this were the most important thing in the world.


This leads to the second requirement which is courage. We need to be brave enough to try new things, knowing that a good many of our attempts will end in failure, and that this is ok. Failing is a really effective way of working out what works and what doesn’t work. The only way to protect yourself from failure is to not do anything at all and this is a pretty dismal way to live your life.


The important thing is how you respond to failure. If you are devastated when you fail, you’ll find it pretty hard to get up and try again. If you regard failure as a necessary part of the learning experience you might feel a momentary setback and then you’ll just move on to the next experiment.





3 thoughts on “The two things you need to be creative

  1. M. Hatzel says:

    Writer and researcher Brene Brown observed that the TED Talks (of which she was a part) is really the ‘failure conference’ because those who speak of their wonderful, gifted insights and innovations also tell the story of the many more failures they encountered before achieving success.

    • Margaret says:

      Hi there and thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I am a great admirer of your writing so I would encourage any other readers to check out your blog (which should be showing in my blog roll).
      I agree that we take failure far too seriously and don’t think of it as a natural part of trying. Children are willing to try over and over again, but as adults we often give up after one unsuccessful attempt. I think this is because we fear being ridiculed, what do you think?

      • M. Hatzel says:

        I think we learn that vulnerability can lead to painful experiences, and we adapt by hiding our true selves. I’ve discovered many stories, however, of people encountering a challenging (often painful) transition period mid-life (or via a traumatic upheaval) that leaves them at peace with their authentic self, calmer in the fear of being vulnerable. This process, of return to the self, seems to be part of our normal journey through life. Rather exciting to know that we all eventually can get there!

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