Everybody talks about it.
Everyone wants it.
Most want more of it.
Is it something we can see, feel, touch?
It’s a difficult concept, isn’t it?
While we understand its byproducts, we know little about its origins.
Let’s begin with a definition:
Creativity speaks to the act of creation, to making something new, to improving a process.
Creativity involves inspiration, imagination, the ability to invent, evolve, or reorder elements into something original, something fresh that hasn’t existed before.
Why is it so important?
I think we need to consider its absence to understand its value. Without it, we stagnate; our societies suffer. If you’re willing to look, you’ll find thousands of books on the subject: how to become more creative, how to reach a flow state, how to access the subconscious….
It just might be the most powerful force on the planet.
Creativity encourages progress and revolution, driving every advancement in science, technology, sports, and the arts. Everything we value (and take for granted) began in someone’s imagination.
Without creativity and its manifestations, life might seem meaningless.
- So, why is it so difficult to harness?
- What makes it so elusive, so rare, so prized in our culture?
- Why do the best creative minds struggle to bring their vision into material reality?
While these questions are timeless and important, we could spend a lifetime searching for answers. The best answers are often hiding in plain sight.
Today, thanks to the internet, we can consult the best and brightest minds from the past and present for advice, for their unique experiences with creativity. They can provide us with a look behind the curtain, a look at the moving parts of the creative process.
From Leonardo Da Vinci to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain to Steve Jobs…
Every successful person relied on creativity to improve their work, to improve their perspective.
And they’ve enriched our lives in the process.
Consider the technology you’re engaged with now. People can write down their thoughts and share them with the world in an instant. That’s a powerful innovation, a powerful byproduct of someone’s creativity.
So, allow these well-known entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, writers, and musicians to share their unique relationships with creativity. Allow them to spark your imagination, to guide you toward your own creations, breakthroughs, and innovations.
Enjoy these 99 remarkable quotes on creativity.
“Creativity is an act of defiance.” ― Twyla Tharp
“Great art picks up where nature ends.” ― Marc Chagall
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda
“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” ― Julia Cameron
“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” ― Beatrix Potter
“Art is the only way to ascend to God, doing what our divine Master did, create.” ― Paul Gauguin
“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.” ― Cecil B. DeMille
“Creative thinking is more than just coming up with new ideas. It is about living life in a way that is open, authentic and curious. It is a mindset and approach to everything we do.” ― Cyndi Burnett
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.” ― Neil Gaiman
“To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” ― Ray Bradbury
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath
“Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” ― Leo Tolstoy
“The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” ― Oscar Wilde
“My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” ― Miles Davis
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story–to vomit the anguish up.” ― James Baldwin
“The thing is to become a master and in your old age to acquire the courage to do what children did when they knew nothing.” ― Ernest Hemingway
“The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.” ― Edith Södergran
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” ― Erich Fromm
“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” ― Michelangelo
“It is absurd to look for perfection.” ― Camille Pissarro
“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ― Albert Einstein
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” ― Pablo Picasso
“I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.” ― Leonard Bernstein
“Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one” ― Stella Adler
“The writer’s curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.” ― Criss Jami
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren
“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
“Destruction leads to a very rough road, but it also breeds creation.” — Red Hot Chili Peppers
“You’re swimming in the transcendent twice a day, and when you swim there, the world gets bigger, and you get wet with that, and the creativity grows.” — David Lynch
“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” — Deepak Chopra
“The unfolding of the unexpected becomes the energy that drives you. You discover how thirsty you are for exploration without analysis. You become strangely at home in a place you can’t define. You are truly creating.” — Michele Cassou
“Everyone who has taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that makes a difference.” ― Nolan Bushnell
“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.” ― Pablo Picasso
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” ― Mary Lou Cook
“If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up – to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way.” ― Natalie Goldberg
“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.” ― Madeleine L’Engle
“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ― George Washington Carver
“Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.” — Carl Jung
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” ― Marshall McLuhan
“Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.” ― Michael Michalko
“To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head – and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It’s an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that’s not the most important thing. It’s the work itself.” ― Alan Moore
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ― Martha Graham
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
“Poetry, like jazz, is one of those dazzling diamonds of creative industry that help human beings make sense out of the comedies and tragedies that contextualize our lives.”
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”
― Albert Einstein
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
― Ken Robinson
“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.”
― Salvador Dali
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
“Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”
― Arthur Koestler
“Creativity is the state of consciousness in which you enter into the treasury of your innermost being and bring the beauty into manifestation.”
— Torkom Saraydarian
“Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature – all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.”
― Twyla Tharp
“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
― Marc Chagall
“Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”
― Pablo Picasso
“The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.”
― E.B. White
“Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order”
― Virginia Woolf
“Blessed are the weird people: poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours, for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”
— Jacob Nordby
“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller
“When the creative impulse sweeps over you, grab it. You grab it and honor it and use it, because momentum is a rare gift.”
― Justina Chen
“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies.”
― William Faulkner
“Art – the one achievement of man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised”
― James Thurber
“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.”
― Albert Szent-Györgyi
“Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.”
― Leonard Bernstein
“I spoke fire, laughed smoke, and madness spilled forth from my inspiration.”
― Arthur Holitscher
“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty, they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”
― Hugh MacLeod
“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.”
― Virginia Woolf
“Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure. . . Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”
― Maya Angelou
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
― George Bernard Shaw
“Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
“Creativity is as important as literacy”
― Ken Robinson
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”
― Red Haircrow
“Non-judgment quiets the internal dialogue, and this opens once again the doorway to creativity.”
― Deepak Chopra
“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”
― Austin Kleon
“Keeping busy is the remedy for all the ills in America. It’s also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed.”
― Joyce Carol Oates
“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”
― Robert Henri
“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man.”
― John Steinbeck
“A good traveler is one who knows how to travel with the mind.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
― Pablo Picasso
“Creativity takes courage.”
― Henri Matisse
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
― Scott Adams
“When I am completely myself, entirely alone, or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.”
― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
― Steve Jobs
“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.”
― Rita Mae Brown
“Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of what he created.”
― Jacob Bronowski
“If the painter wishes to see beauties that charm him, it lies in his power to create them, and if he wishes to see monstrosities that are frightful, ridiculous, or truly pitiable, he is lord and God thereof.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
“Art is to console those who are broken by life.”
— Vincent van Gogh
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
— Thomas Mann
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
— Albert Einstein
“All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.”
— Eckhart Tolle
“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”
— Fred Rogers
“The ‘Muse’ is not an artistic mystery, but a mathematical equation. The gift are those ideas you think of as you drift to sleep. The giver is that one you think of when you first awake.”
— Roman Payne
“The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”
— Katherine Mansfield
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
— Maya Angelou
Now, it’s your turn.
Share your favorite creativity quote. Join the conversation below.