Saturday, June 21, 2014

Strokes of genius: Here’s How the Most Creative People Get Their Ideas

Strokes of genius: Here’s How the Most Creative People Get Their Ideas

Strokes of genius: Here’s How the Most Creative People Get Their Ideas

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Keith Sawyer tells an interesting story about breakthrough ideas in his book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity.

Researcher Vera John-Steiner wanted to know "What nourishes sustained productivity in the lives of creative individuals?"

She interviewed over 70 living creative geniuses and analyzed the notebooks of 50 dead ones (including Tolstoy, Einstein, etc.) to look at their work habits.

She assumed this was going to end up as a review of Eureka! moments in the greatest creative minds.

She even planned to title her book "The Leap" because it would be about those giant flashes of inspiration that led to breakthrough ideas.

But she was completely wrong.

Eureka! moments turned out to be a myth.

There was no inspiration moment where a fully formed answer arrived.

Strokes of genius happened over time.

A great idea comes into the world by drips and drabs, false starts, and rough sketches.

Via Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity:

Creativity started with the notebooks' sketches and jottings, and only later resulted in a pure, powerful idea. The one characteristic that all of these creatives shared— whether they were painters, actors, or scientists— was how often they put their early thoughts and inklings out into the world, in sketches, dashed-off phrases and observations, bits of dialogue, and quick prototypes. Instead of arriving in one giant leap, great creations emerged by zigs and zags as their creators engaged over and over again with these externalized images.

She heard it over and over again in the interviews and read it in different forms in every notebook.

Via Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity:

    • Albert Einstein always said he thought in pictures: "Words do not play any role in my thought; instead, I think in signs and images which I can copy and combine."
    • English writer Jessica Mitford engaged in a constant dialogue with her unfolding drafts: "The first thing to do is read over what you have done the day before and rewrite it. And then that gives you a lead into the next thing to do."
    • The painter Ben Shahn described creativity as "the long artistic tug-of-war between idea and image."
    • Poet May Sarton wrote, "The poem teaches us something while we make it; there is nothing dull about revision."

It was never a clean, linear process.

Via Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity:

Successful creators engage in an ongoing dialogue with their work. They put what's in their head on paper long before it's fully formed, and they watch and listen to what they've recorded, zigging and zagging until the right idea emerges.

What can we take away from this?

  • Stop expecting inspiration to deliver a finished product.
  • Write all your ideas down as early as possible. (It's no surprise so many of the geniuses kept notebooks.)
  • Stop discarding half-baked ideas. Those crappy ideas are the good ideas — they just need work.
  • Don't think your first idea is the right one. And don't think it's perfect as-is.
  • Wrestle with your ideas. Dissect, combine, add, subtract, turn them upside down and shake them. Get ideas colliding.

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Related posts:

What good work habits do nearly all geniuses have in common?

5 quick things you can do today to boost your creativity

Creative Teams – What 7 elements do they all share?


This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Another Amelia Earhart Plans to Circumnavigate the Globe

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Amelia Mary Earhart was an aviation pioneer—and international celebrity, and famed feminist—in an age when flying was anything but routine, especially for women. Her legacy inspired a generation of pilots and continues to fascinate anyone who's ever thought about jumping into a cockpit.

Which, of course, is why her disappearance over Howland Island in June 1937 while attempting to circumnavigate the globe was a jarring reminder that the skies weren't yet ours.

Now, another Amelia Earhart—Amelia Rose Earhart—is attempting to bear out her predecessor's legacy by completing the original flight plan. "As pilots, whenever we fly, we have a flight plan. We open that flight plan, and then when we return safely, we close that flight plan," Amelia Rose, who isn’t related to history’s Earhart, told CNN. "I started thinking, 'What if I could symbolically close Amelia’s flight plan for her?'"

Amelia Rose plans to take off from Oakland, California between June 23 and 26, returning two and a half weeks later; unlike Amelia Mary Earhart, you can track her progress online here. Godspeed.

WATCH: Here’s Every Death in Game Of Thrones Season 4

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Just like it says. This is bloody, Georgie.

Pope Denounces Mafia, Meets Father of Slain Boy

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 10:39 AM PDT

(CASSANO ALL’JONIO, Italy) — Pope Francis journeyed Saturday to the heart of Italy’s biggest crime syndicate, met the father of a 3-year-old boy slain in the region’s drug war, and declared that all mobsters are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

During his one-day pilgrimage to the southern region of Calabria, Francis comforted the imprisoned father of Nicola Campolongo in the courtyard of a prison in the town of Castrovillari.

In January the boy was shot, along with one of his grandfathers and the grandfather’s girlfriend, in an attack blamed on drug turf wars in the nearby town of Cassano all’Jonio. The attackers torched the car with all three victims inside.

The boy’s father and mother already were in jail at the time on drug trafficking charges. The pope had expressed his horror following the attack and promised to visit the town.

Francis embraced the man. He asked the pope to pray for the boy’s mother, who was permitted to leave prison following her son’s slaying and remains under house arrest. The pope also met two of the boy’s grandmothers.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Francis told the father: “May children never again have to suffer in this way.”

“The two grandmothers were weeping like fountains,” Benedettini added.

Calabria is the power base of the ‘ndrangheta, a global drug trafficking syndicate that enriches itself by extorting businesses and infiltrating public works contracts in underdeveloped Calabria.

During his homily at an outdoor Mass, Francis denounced the ‘ndrangheta for what he called its “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good. “

“Those who go down the evil path, as the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated,” he warned.

Francis greeted about 200 other prisoners during his visit there.

When Francis visited a hospice, a doctor there removed a bothersome wooden splinter from one of the pope’s fingers at his request, organizers said.

Iraqi Official: Sunni Insurgents, Baathists Fighting One Another

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 09:47 AM PDT

Sunni insurgents who are making their way across Iraq in a drive towards the nation’s capital clashed with their Baathist allies this week, Iraq security officials said Saturday.

Citing unnamed Iraqi security officials, the New York Times reports that the Sunni forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their Baathist allies fought one another in western Kirkuk late this week. An unnamed witness said the two factions fought over gas and oil trucks.

An Iraqi security official told the Times that ISIS tried to disarm the Baathists before eight Baathists and nine ISIS militants were killed in subsequent fighting.

ISIS has formed an unlikely alliance with the Baathists, the party of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The Baathists’ cooperation has helped the insurgents take over wide swaths of the country, but the two groups are ideologically opposed: the Sunni extremists are deeply religious and want to impose strict Islamic law across the region, while the Baathists are more secular. Their apparently fragile alliance is rooted in a mutual distrust of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-dominated government.

This week’s fighting could be taken as a sign that alliance is cracking. However, the Iraqi government has reason to make claims of in-fighting among the groups: such news could destabilize the partnership, giving Maliki’s forces an edge as ISIS and its allies continue marching towards Baghdad.

"We will not let them take any foot of our earth," Iraq’s head military spokesperson, Gen. Qassim Atta said in a briefing while discussing the fate of an oil refinery captured for a time by insurgents this week. "We are the ones who are making the attacks."


Transgender Priest to Preach at National Cathedral

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

(WASHINGTON) — An openly transgender Episcopal priest is set to preach at Washington National Cathedral.

The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, will be a guest preacher on Sunday. He’ll be the first openly transgender priest to preach from Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral.

The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, will preside at the service. It’s part of the cathedral’s celebration of LGBT pride month.

The service will also include readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Very Ref. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral, says he hopes Partridge’s appearance “will send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community.”

Soccer Star Hope Solo Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 08:14 AM PDT

National soccer icon Hope Solo was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly assaulting her sister and nephew at her Seattle home, police told TIME.

Solo, 32, was hosting a large party when she attacked her sister and nephew shortly before 1 a.m., leaving visible injuries on both of them, police said. Her nephew is a teenager and her sister is in her forties.

Solo is being held without bail at the South Correctional Entity Regional Jail under the name Hope Amelia Stevens on charges of fourth-degree assault. Her first court appearance is set for Monday morning.

The star American goalkeeper won two Olympic gold medals playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She currently plays for Major League Soccer’s Seattle Reign FC.

“I consider [Solo] a celebrity in Seattle,” Kirkland Police Lt. Mike Murray told TIME. But “she was very uncooperative. She can lose her temper very easily.”

The Seattle Reign FC said on Twitter they were gathering information about Solo’s arrest.

Solo’s then-boyfriend Jerramy Stevens, a former National Football League player, was arrested in 2012 for allegedly assaulting Solo shortly before the two married. After the incident with Stevens, Solo told the Seattle Times that she was living in the spotlight of misleading reports.

“At the end of the day, I can't really let myself get too angry about outside opinions that are or aren't true,” she said.

South Korean Soldier Kills 5 Comrades at Border

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korean media say a South Korean soldier is at large after killing five comrades and wounding another five at the border with North Korea.

South Korean military officials didn’t immediately return calls seeking more details. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Saturday night that a South Korean army private fled after opening fire on his comrades earlier in the evening at an outpost in Gangwon province, east of Seoul.

Thousands of soldiers from the rival Koreas square off along the world’s most heavily armed border.

There is no indication that the North Korea was involved. But tensions have been high recently, with North Korea staging a series of missile and artillery drills and threatening South Korea’s leader.

Park Your Drones, Say National Parks

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 07:00 AM PDT

Calling unmanned drones a dangerous harassment, the National Park Service is moving to ban them from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways across the country. A policy memorandum signed Friday instructs the National Park Service’s 401 park superintendents to prohibit the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft in their park.

Jonathan Jarvis, the park service’s director, said that drones can disturb birds’ nesting patterns, distract climbers, disturb hikers and harass visitors to locations from Yosemite to Mount Rushmore, the Associated Press reports.

“Imagine you’re a big wall climber in Yosemite working on a four-day climb up El Capitan, and you’re hanging off a bulb ready to make a (difficult) move, and an unmanned aircraft flies up beside you and is hovering a few feet from your head with its GoPro camera running,” Jarvis said. “Think about what that does to your experience and your safety.”

Officials in Utah’s Zion National Park already banned drones after noticing unmanned aircraft harassing youngster bighorn sheep, causing them to become separated from their herd. Other incidents in parks around the country have also led to drones being banned.

Many drone operators say unmanned aircraft flights can be made with respect for other park users and wildlife. Jarvis says he wants to regulate drones before their use becomes even more widespread, as unmanned aircraft get cheaper and more high-tech.


Man Who Killed 8 Children in Fire Sentenced to 35 Years

Posted: 21 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

A Cleveland man convicted of deliberately setting a house fire that killed nine people was sentenced to 35 years in prison late Friday.

Federal juries have twice found Antun Lewis, 30, guilty of setting a fire on the night of May 21, 2005 to a Cleveland house were eight children were holding a fourteenth-birthday sleepover, WKYC-TV, Cleveland reports. The eight children as well as one woman died in the blaze.

Evelyn Martin, the grandmother of six of the eight children at the party, said she rushed to the house the night of the fire and watched her grandchildren brought out of the house one by one. It was the deadliest fire in the city’s history.

“This defendant is responsible for taking nine innocent lives,” said U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach. “A coward in the night, he also stole the hopes and dreams of these families, who will never get to experience high school graduations, weddings, or the other things they had a right to enjoy.”

U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver ruled out the death penalty because of Lewis’ low IQ and eased the subsequent sentence. Oliver expressed doubts Lewis set the fire over drug debts, calling it his “most difficult case.” Many of the jailhouse informants who testified against Lewis were deemed unreliable witnesses and an earlier verdict was overturned.

“It didn’t matter if it was one year or one thousand years,” said the father of one of the victims, referring to the length of the sentence. “My son is still gone.”

[WKYC-TV Cleveland]


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