How to Become a Creative Badass

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Want to be more creative? This free book lays out an easy-to-implement 9-step guide towards mastering the creative process. Ignite your creative performance and innovative potential. Become a Creative Badass Download the full (and still free) copy at

Text of How to Become a Creative Badass

  • 1. How to Become aCreative BadassA 9-Step Guide to Masteringthe Creative Process

2. i 2014, CreateLearnLive.comPlease feel free to pass this (free)book around the web to your family andyour friendseven your enemies... but please dont alter any of its contentswhen you do. Thanks! 3. What isCreativityAnyways? 4. Without creativity, it would be difficultiiito distinguish humans from apes. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discoverand Invention 5. Lets face it feeling like an ape is no fun. We all want to be more creative. Regardlessof our profession or situation, we all strive to enrich our lives and our work throughbringing forth unique value to the world.Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. Most things that are important,interesting, and human are the results of creativity. When we are involved in thecreative process, we get a sense of engagement and excitement that surpasses the usualmoments that occur in our lives. We feel alive and invigorated.ivBut you probably already know this. 6. vWhat you might not already know, however, is that your own creativity can becultivated.In other words, you can learn how to be more creative in your life and work. 7. Creativity is not just a rare talent that only the worlds greatest geniuses can wield. Itdoesnt only happen spontaneously or out of ones control. One does not need to beslightly mentally unstable to create. And you dont have to be on magic mushrooms tovirealize your creative potential.There is a process you can learn and master that (if implemented into your dailylife and practiced regularly) will transform you into a true Creative Badass. 8. Researchers have been scientifically studying creativity since 1950 when J.P. Guilford,viithe American Psychological Association president at the time, strongly urgedscientists to focus their efforts on understanding the creative process and what makessome people creative.Luckily, many of them listened. Thanks to six decades of solid scientific work fromsome of the worlds most brilliant researchers, we now have a pretty good idea of whatit takes to think and act like a creative badass.And what is even more importantwe know that anyone can adopt these ways ofthinking and acting into their own lives in order to take their creativity to new heights. 9. viiiIn this (free)book, I will walk you through the 9-step process that will transform youfrom beingto...This guy... This guy. 10. ixAfter reading the easy to implement advice found within these pages, you will go frombeingto...This guy... This guy.Sound good? OK, lets do this. 11. xPop QuizQ1: Whats more important for becoming aCreative Badass?A. Being Really, Really Good atSolving ProblemsB. Being Really, Really Good atFinding ProblemsC. Being Really, Really Good-LookingCheck AnswerQ2: What skill is most critical for unleashing thehighest levels of creativity and innovation?A. Coming up with Good AnswersB. Coming up with Good QuestionsCheck Answer 12. Step 1AskBetterQuestionsTo Find the Right Problem or Opportunity 13. If you answered, being really, really good at finding problems, and comingup with good questions in the pop quiz, then congratulations, you are veryawesome. Being really, really good-looking has not, to my knowledge, beenscientifically linked with being a creative badass.Solving problems is relatively easy compared to finding them. When you arein problem-solving mode, you typically have a decent idea what informationyou need to use, what parameters or constraints you are operating within,and what your end goal is. All it takes is some time and effort and poof your problem is solved.Finding the right problems and opportunities to devote your energy towards,however, is a whole other beast. Just as Einstein alludes to in the quote tothe left, true innovation occurs when one leverages the power of raising newquestions and looking at things from completely different angles. For thisreason, being good at finding the right problems is even more importantthan being able to solve problems.Decades ago, my advisor, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (just call him Mikeif you ever see him) and a team of researchers from the University of Chicagoset out to answer the questions, How do creative works come into being?and What makes some creative works more creative than others?QUOTE FROM ACREATIVE BADASSThe formulation of a problem isoften more essential than itssolution. To raise newquestions, new possibilities, toregard old problems from a newangle, requires creativeimagination and marks realadvances in science.For the detective the crime isgiven. The scientist mustcommit his own crime as well ascarry out the investigation. Albert Einstein 14. To answer these questions, Mike and his team recruited about 30 student artists to participate in anacademic study. In this study, the artists were asked to first examine a table full of various objects andthen were asked to create a piece of artwork based on these objects as the researchers observed theircreative process.From the observations, it became quite clear that the student artists either approached their creativework with either a problem-solving style or a problem-finding style.The artists who approached their work in a problem-solving style took about 5 minutes to select a fewobjects, and then right away they began getting to work on their artwork spending most of their timerefining and adding details to their piece. Their approach was to quickly formulate a visual problem, andthen focus their effort on solving this problem.The second group of artists took quite a different approach to their creative work. In this group, theartists spent a great deal of time arranging and rearranging the objects on the table, making choices andchanging their mind often. They started their artwork, but then often would completely erase their workand start over from scratch. These artists would spend up to one hour formulating and reformulatingtheir ideas, and then would complete their piece in about ten minutes. Contrary to the first group ofartists, who took a problem-solving approach, this group spent much more time simply finding the rightproblem or opportunity to work with.13 15. So which group produced the most creative pieces of art?14 16. From the title of this section, it is probably obvious that the problem-finding group consistentlyproduced art that was judged by expert artists as being more creative compared to the problem-solvingartists works.But what might not be so obvious is that the long-term career success of these artists could also bepredicted by which style they used. Those artists who took more time to ask themselves better questionsabout how to proceed in their work actually had more successful careers in the art world, were morerespected by art critics, and had more paintings in reputable art galleries compared to those artists usingthe problem-solving approach.The essence of this first step is quite simple: creative badasses ask questions that no one hasever thought of before or questions that no one has yet seriously considered. They take time tomake sure that they are working on the right opportunity, and they spend time reformulating andadjusting their problem before getting down to the problem-solving work.15 17. How to Ask Better QuestionsThe first and most important step of becoming a creative badass is to start off by choosingthe right problems to devote your time and attention towards, and this stems from beingable to ask the right questions. Without identifying the right problems or opportunities,you likely will end up doing things that are not very creative.Here are five strategies that will help you ask better questions: 18. 1 ReflectFirst and foremost, it is imperative to dedicate time to just pause and ask yourself(and others) questions.When you do pause to reflect, ask lots and lots of questions! The more questions youask, the higher the probability that you will find the right one. 19. 2 EvaluateWhen you are reflecting, ask yourself questions like:Is what I am doing working?How and in what ways can I make improvements?Am I even working towards the right goals?Am I excited about the direction I am taking? 20. 3 ReinterpretTry to view your problem and what you are hoping to achieve from completelydifferent angles.How might someone else approach this problem? What if I did _____ instead?What would it look like if I decided to do the opposite?Even ask yourself really, really bad questions. Often a string of absurd, ridiculousquestions can spark a more creative reinterpretation of what you are working on. 21. 4 Challenge AssumptionsWhat assumptions or biases might I have that may be potentially holding my creativityback?What if anything were possible?Am I assuming that just because something hasnt been done before, that it can neverbe done?Try using the George Costanza approach:What might happen if I believed the exact opposite of my normal beliefs? 22. 5 Time TravelGo to the future.What does the creative realization of my goal look like? What exists then thatdoesnt now?Now go back to the past.Did the problem or opportunity even exist in the past? Why or why not? What wasdifferent back then? 23. Step 2Go BeyondWhat isComfortableBreak Free from Your Safe Zone 24. Do you ever get that anxious feeling in your stomach when you are about todo something a little bit risky? When you are just not quite sure if you willsucceed or fail miserably at something?If so, you are on the right track to becoming a true creative badass. If youcant empathize with what I am talking about, then it is time to really peelthat safety blanket away, pull your thumb outta your mouth, and get your assoutside of your comfort zone.NOW. OR ELSE.I am serious. I will find you and I will yell at you.QUOTE FROM ACREATIVE BADASSFor some reason, that I cantreally explain, at the beginningof Radiolab, it always