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John Hegarty Creativity There Are No Rules

Published in 2014, John Hegarty‘s book Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules discusses how to recognize and respect talent. And if you’re one of the few talented creatives, how to earn a living doing it.

From phone apps to movie scripts, from blog posts to business models, ideas are the foundation for creativity. Everyone has ideas, and everyone can be creative. However, not very many people are actually able to make money from their creative ideas.

Here may be a few reasons:

  1. You’re afraid, so you keep your ideas private and never share them with the world, so they never have the chance to inspire others and provoke change.
  2. You’ve lost your childlike curiosity and replaced it with responsibilities.
  3. You haven’t asked ‘why’ enough times to get to the core of your idea.
  4. You haven’t specialized into one specific focus; you’ve such a generalist mindset that all your ideas are generalist. Boring and available everywhere.
  5. The curious side of your creative brain is out of shape; it isn’t used to watching, listening, absorbing, processing, thinking, and forming and re-forming ideas.
  6. You spend the majority of your life with boring, uncreative, unstimulating, unambitious people.
  7. Every time you go into public, you do everything you possibly can to block out the world you only have one brief lifetime to experience; sitting in the metro with your hat, sunglasses, sound-blocking headphones, and bury your nose in your book or smartphone, hoping to get from point A of your life to point B as unconsciously as possible.
  8. The ideas you are having aren’t simple enough; they’re overly complex or confusing.
  9. Your idea is too logical and not enough emotional.
  10. You’re not angry enough; Anger can be a driving force for creative change if you use it constructively rather than letting it destroy you.
  11. You mistake technology’s ease of ‘creating’ as creativity.
  12. Your idea hasn’t been communicated into a persuasive-enough story.
  13. Your ideas are not ‘original’ or profound enough; You’re reading the same books and sources, and looking in the same direction as everyone else.
  14. You’ve found a good idea, and you’ve settled for it, rather than fight to make it great.
  15. You’re so busy following other people’s ideas and rules for creativity that you’re forgetting that you can create your own.
  16. Your curiousity has turned into an obsession; you’ve watched, listened to, absorbed, processed, thought about, and formed and re-formed your ideas into a bore.

Not all ideas are equal, and ‘original’ ideas come from an obsucurity of your sources: the more diverse your library of sources and inspirations, the more ‘original’ your ideas. As James Randi explains in his lecture Critical Thinking: Keys to Critical Thinking & Thinking About Dubious Claims, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Read shit and you’ll think shit and you’ll create shit.

Unless you aspire to shit; then that’s what you should do.

But what does ‘original’ mean anyway? As far as humans are aware, God was the last one to actually create something original, and everything since has been but a copy of a copy of a copy.

Lastly, from a creative and ambitious perspective: respect don’t revere,  because reverence implies hierarchy; that an idea is better than every other idea. But:

  • Every idea should be a stepping stone for the next better idea.
  • Every generation should be a stepping stone for the next generation.
  • Every failure should be a stepping stone for the next…