Category Archives: Creativity Around The Web

A collection of striking stuff from around the world

Bizzare Habits That Helped Their Creativity

If you want to be successful, you may need to get a little weird!

Looking at the lives of immensely successful people, it becomes clear that strangeness has its benefits. From Marissa Mayer’s eccentric sleeping schedule to Ludwig van Beethoven’s affinity for composing in the bathtub, here’s a look some weird habits that have fueled success.

According to Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson, eccentric people tend to be more creative because of something called “cognitive disinhibition.”Basically, creative folks have less of a filter on their thoughts and actions, which makes them more likely to do things that don’t follow the norms of behavior.

1. Yoshiro Nakamatsu would starve his brain of oxygen to get big ideas.
Yoshiro Nakamatsu would starve his brain of oxygen to get big ideas.

image credit: Wikimedia commons

At 85, Nakamatsu is one of Japan’s greatest inventors. He patented the floppy disk back in 1952 and has racked up 3,300 patents. He’s the father of the karaoke machine, the sauce pump, the taxicab meter, and the digital watch.

To feed his inventiveness, he likes to push his brain and body to the limit. He regularly goes swimming and holds his head underwater to the point of nearly drowning.

“To starve the brain of oxygen,” he once explained, “you must dive deep and allow the water pressure to deprive the brain of blood. Zero-point-five seconds before death, I visualize an invention.”

Then he jots down his inspiration on an underwater notepad and heads back to the surface.

2. Jonathan Franzen works with a blindfold to keep his concentration.
Jonathan Franzen works with a blindfold to keep his concentration.

In an era of 140-character messages, Franzen composes serious fiction. His books “The Corrections” and “Freedom” capture the endemic weirdness of American families.

But to write his 500-page novels, Franzen goes beyond just boycotting social media. He blocks out all sensory stimuli. As the New York Times reports, he writes with earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold when he really needs to concentrate.

”You can always find the ‘home’ keys on your computer,” he said. ”They have little raised bumps.”

3. Ludwig van Beethoven developed his ideas in the bathroom.Ludwig van Beethoven developed his ideas in the bathroom.

image credit: Public domain

Though he famously went deaf, Beethoven became one of the world’s most influential composers with works such as “Moonlight Sonata.” Surprisingly, baths were a part of his workflow.

His student and secretary Anton Schindler wrote that the composer would stand at “his washstand and pour large pitchers of water over his hands, bellowing up and down the scale or sometimes humming loudly to himself.”

Then he’d stride around the room rolling his eyes, writing down notes, and continue pouring water and singing. While the splashing annoyed his neighbors, Beethoven was onto something: We get our best ideas in the shower.

“These were moments of deep meditation,” Schindler said, “to which no one could have objected.”

4. Thomas Edison refused to sleep when he was on a roll.
Thomas Edison refused to sleep when he was on a roll.

image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress

While Edison would sneak in a power nap, he usually slept as little as possible — only three hours a night. He thought sleep was “a heritage from our cave days” and a waste of time.

That’s why he would work for a reported 72 hours straight before finally closing his eyes. That marathon work ethic led to the invention of the phonograph, the alkaline battery, a better lightbulb, and some 1,093 patents.

“We are always hearing people talk about ‘loss of sleep’ as a calamity,” he wrote in a 1921 letter. “They better call it loss of time, vitality, and opportunities.”

5. Marissa Mayer has slept at her desk for maximum productivity.
Marissa Mayer has slept at her desk for maximum productivity.

image credit: Magnus Höij

Mayer likes to get deeply invested in a project to encourage breakthroughs. When the Yahoo CEO was working at Google, she would devote 130 hours a week to the search company. To do so, she would sleep at her desk and get “strategic” with her showers. It’s all part of maximizing her waking hours, and one reason you’d rarely find her without a laptop.

How does she prevent burnout? She’s reported to take a week-long vacation every four months.

6. Charles Dickens liked to solve morgue mysteries to train his brain.
Charles Dickens liked to solve morgue mysteries to train his brain.

image credit: Public domain

When Dickens wasn’t writing “Great Expectations” or pointing his writing desk to the north, you could find him at the Paris morgue, looking at dead bodies.

This was part of his “attraction to repulsion,” which also brought him to crime scenes where he liked to play detective.

Trying to solve the crimes, some argue, trained the writer in critical thinking — the kind needed for his complex novels.

7. Maya Angelou kept a hotel room to block everything out and write her best works.
Maya Angelou kept a hotel room to block everything out and write her best works.

image credit: Amazon

To say that this author and poet is prolific is an understatement. In over 50 years of writing, she’s produced many autobiographies, several books of poetry, films, and television shows. She’s also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

Her secret: a tiny hotel room, where she’d go from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry to get her creative juices going.

“I’ll stay as long as it’s going well,” she said in an interview. “It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”

8. The psychologist B.F. Skinner measured his hours and productivity obsessively.
The psychologist B.F. Skinner measured his hours and productivity obsessively.

image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Skinner helped found behaviorism, a formative school of 20th century psychology. According to his thinking, all our actions can be measured, trained, and changed, if we only pay attention to the inputs and the outputs.

Quite fittingly, Skinner conditioned himself.

As Mason Currey notes in “Daily Rituals,” Skinner started and stopped his workdays with the buzz of a timer. He tracked the hours he worked and the words he produced along a graph. Sixty years before the quantified self movement became cool, Skinner was using numbers to better his production.

9. Francis Bacon said hangovers helped his painting.
Francis Bacon said hangovers helped his painting.

image credit: abc.net.au

Bacon, a British artist who painted gruesome and intense portraits, lived the high life. Bottles of wine, beers at the pub, and drinks at private clubs were a daily routine.

Interestingly, all the imbibing and hard living helped his creativity.

“I often like working with a hangover,” he said, “because my mind is crackling with energy, and I can think very clearly.”

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Wall Art Made From Thousands Of Beads And Pins

 

A visual art form that is difficult to classify, these wall hangings are part mural, part sculpture, and have elements of tapestry and bead work. They are essentially made of materials from the fashion industry – beads, buttons, sequins, and thread.

These are the creations of Ran Hwang, who describes the process of building the large installations as time consuming, repetitive and requiring manual effort. She hammers thousands of beads and pins into wall panels and this provides her with a form of self-meditation.

East Wind, H180cm x W360cm – 2 panel ( H71in x W142in – 2 panel ), Buttons, Pins, Beads, 2011

Murals Created with Thousands of Buttons, Pins and Beads by Ran Hwang sculpture multiples buttons

 

Sweet In Yean, H180cm x W720cm – 6 panel(H71in x W283in – 6 panel), Buttons, Beads, Pins, 2010

Dreaming of Joy, H240cm x W495cm x D257cm – 6 panel ( H95in x W195in x D101in – 6 panel ), Buttons, Pins, Stainless steel bars, 2008

Murals Created with Thousands of Buttons, Pins and Beads by Ran Hwang sculpture multiples buttons
Empty Me. 210 x 360cm. Buttons, beads, pins. 2010.

See more on her website.

Talk about challenging convention. These flowing dresses look like they’re made from a lightweight material and some lovely damsel is about to wear them to a fancy party. It is hard to belive though, that they will never be worn.

The dresses are actually made from Carrara Marble, a solid mass of marble that can weigh several tons. An artist remarkable in himself, Alasdair Thomson works on the hard marble, chiselling and sculpting these lovely creations.

His latest work, “The Identity Collection,” explores “the way fabric hangs and folds, and is attempting to capture that lightness and gracefulness in stone.”

The gentlemen are not left out, there are marble treats for you too. 🙂

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Greta
Lucy
Aisling
Hannah
Elizabeth
Shirt
Scarpe
Airy Dresses Carved From Marble by Alasdair Thomson sculpture marble fashion clothing
Alasdair at work

Learn more about Alasdair on his website.

Incredible Feat: Origami Artist Creates Life-Sized Elephant From One Piece of Paper

He’s done it! Professional origami artist Sipho Mabona has created a huge, life-sized elephant with just one sheet of paper.

His most ambitious work to date, the elephant took Mabona and a team of over a dozen people four weeks to complete. Standing just over 3 meters high (or 10 feet tall), the work is now on display in the museum KKLB in Beromünster, Switzerland.

Mabona financed the project through Internet-crowdfunding site Indiegogo where he raised over $26,000 from 631 funders. A webcam was installed that allowed people to watch the massive elephant take shape.

The artist ran into some major challenges like figuring out how to spread a huge sheet of paper, measuring 15 meters by 15 meters (or 50 by 50 feet), in a hall, to transform the sheet of paper into the body of an elephant.

Also, there were moments during the folding process, when he had to get the help of up to ten people to lift and fold the paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple, Ingenious Inventions That Will Make You Smile

Many of us are creative on a daily basis. We come up with the simplest ideas to solve nagging problems, it’s just that we think they are too simple to be called inventions.

Actually, not all inventions have to be complicated. In fact, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most ingenious.

Below are some simple ideas I found around the web that could make your everyday life a little bit easier or just make you smile. I particularly like the snuggle-friendly bed 😀

The No-Guess Door Hack:

A Cleaner Toilet Experience:

Cord Organization With Bread Ties:

Cord Containers:

Simple Refrigerator Organization:

Sand Shovels:

Ingenious Way To Fill a Bucket:

Security Lock for USB Drives:

Dollar Shredder Alarm Clock:

Paper Cup Holder:

Karate Chop Salad Chopper:

Snuggle-Friendly Mattress:

Portable Bike:

Food Tray for the Car:

(H/T: Pleated Jeans)

A Pschological View: 17 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

1. They daydream.

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According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 studysuggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity

2. They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

3. They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

Read My Post: Routines or Not?

4. They take time for solitude.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

5. They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art.

An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

6. They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

7. They “fail up.”

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

8. They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

9. They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

10. They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing.

11. They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

12. They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

13. They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

14. They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

15. They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

16. They connect the dots.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where others don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

Read My Post: Connecting The Dots… Let’s learn from the masters

17. They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

Adapted from SOURCE

Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

– See more at: http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/18_things_highly_creative_people_do_differently1#sthash.qPhu0d9a.dpuf

Spectacular Paper Dresses Made By 4-Year-Old (PHOTOS)

Angie’s daughter (she calls her “Mayhem”) is more interested in fashion than the average 4-year-old. Mayhem shunned her store-bought princess dresses and started wrapping herself with scarves and sheets creating her own styles.

Then one day Angie got tired of finding her clothes in Mayhem’s toy box and suggested they make a dress out of paper. Mayhem loved the idea and they haven’t stopped creating paper dresses since.

I’ve been continually amazed every time Angie’s pictures pop up in my feed. The dresses started like this:

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And over the last few months, I’ve watched them evolve to this:

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Having a 4-year-old daughter of my own, whose biggest fashion moment was putting a red bow around the waist of her green Super Soccer Stars t-shirt and calling herself “Peter Pan,” I had a few questions for Angie. Namely…

How much is done by you and how much is done by your daughter?

The ideas are pretty much a 50/50 split, but Mayhem constructs a lot more than most people would probably believe. That’s one of the best things about this project, I see her learning new skills every single day. At this point, she knows exactly how many sheets of construction paper she needs to make herself a top and a bottom. She can lay the entire thing out and tape it together all by herself. Definitely, the more complex designs have more of my time invested, but she’s literally always beside me learning something new if she’s not tearing or taping or gluing while I am.

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Do you have an example of a dress she constructed on her own?

She made the dress below entirely by herself. I wasn’t even home and she couldn’t wait to show it to me and have me photograph it.

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Are all the dresses made of paper?

Most of the time. We use a lot of construction paper, but we also use tissue paper, wrapping paper, and gift bags. We have also used silk scarves, tulle, and aluminum foil. Basically, if we can find it laying around the house and it’s pliable, it’s fair game. Clear packing tape and glue are our adhesives of choice.

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Where does she find her inspiration? Is she watching runway shows and award shows?

We pull inspiration from wherever we go. The shark dress, for example, came as a direct result of her first visit to an aquarium.

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She also gets a lot of ideas from shows that she watches or books we read, like Minnie Mouse, My Little Pony and Elsa from “Frozen.”

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Sometimes I’ll Google images the day after award shows, so she can see the dresses worn on the red carpet and pick which ones she wants to make.

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We also leave a tab open on our iPad with a search for “project runway dresses” so that we can quickly reference those as well. She’s never actually seen an episode of Project Runway, but I did show her a clip one time explaining that there is a show all about making dresses and I thought she might hyperventilate.

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Have you always been crafty? Were you a fashion designer in any sense before this started?

No and no. I actually don’t consider myself to be the least bit crafty. Don’t ask me to build something out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners … you’ll be incredibly disappointed! Cutting and taping paper is about all we do. And the most ironic part of this whole project is that I am literally the least fashionable person you will ever meet. In reality, I know nothing about fashion and cannot sew a straight line to save my life. A friend suggested I could start sewing these creations from scraps of fabric and I laughed at her. I’ll take paper and tape any day over getting anywhere near a sewing machine!

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Do you think this is going to be a lifelong interest for Mayhem?

After we made our first paper dress, Mayhem requested another the very next day. Then another the day after that. And no one is more surprised than I am, that she still wants to make them nearly 9 months later. I have no idea if it will continue, but as long as she wants to make them, we’ll keep doing it.

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