TED Conversations

Arjuna Nagendran

Doctor,

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How do you embrace your creativity?

Creativity can mean something different to everyone.

How do you embrace and express your own creativity? And how would you like to be more creative?

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  • Nov 23 2012: I consider my creative self a mass of knowledge, wisdom, skills, and experiences, all driven by curiosity and emotion. I believe each person has a similar set of things in their creative mass...and I respect it.

    I live with this creative mass and take it everywhere I go, adding to it. and drawing from it with decisions I make every day.

    I do not possess any great talent to express my creativity, but I do seem to be able to solve problems creatively and quickly. I do this by trying to apply serendipitous techniques whenever possible, bringing knowledge learned form one experience in life to another.

    I also seem to be a very passionate worker once I have started in on an idea or problem solution and think it through thoroughly, often from many angles or perspectives. I also try and be a really good listener and observant during situations where knowledge might be transferred or obtained.

    I rather like TED as a vehicle for expressing these ideas and to try and help other folks.
  • Dec 11 2012: Creativity takes time. From my folks I learned the "big" rock "little" rock concept. When you have to fill a bottle put the big rocks in first. For my folks that meant family first and going to Florida in the winter was next. Whatever it took my folks made it to Florida so they could sail in the Florida Keys for three months. Beg, borrow or steal they made it to Florida for almost 30 years---yet even though they lived below the poverty level, they still managed to have a three month vacation every year; I looked after the farm in upstate New York while they sailed in Florida. It was cheaper to live in Florida than New York because they lived off the ocean for most of their dinners---there are a limited number of ways you can prepare lobster :).

    For me the "big" rock is creativity. I always carve out as much time as possible to be creative (hence the time to contribute on TED.com on a regular basis.). Using seredipipity in college and after college, I simply go where my interests take me then try to publish in the topics where I have spent years researching them. With no genetic footprint i.e. no children, my ideas are my "children" and my "legacy" is on line.
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      Dec 20 2012: "Learn to Live; Live to Learn."
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        Dec 22 2012: Jerry, thanks for replying to my comment below. Sorry, that string had run out, so I put my comment here.

        That's good, that you don't just stick to math. What is the Rives game?

        One way I've found to learn is to call in to talk radio shows. Do you listen to talk radio? They often get great guests, university professors, book authors, heads of organizations. You can learn a lot if you call in and pose a question or make a comment. Plus it's fun to be on the radio.
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          Dec 23 2012: The radio has become rather obsolete...
          The Rives game is described in his talk: Reinventing the encyclopedia game.
  • Dec 5 2012: I embrace and express my creativity simply by doing. I write, play music, act, speak, etc. Examples: I was narrative designer for a game that was recently released, have been submitting fiction around, worked as a reporter/columnist/page designer for a newspaper, am working on a screenplay and have acted in multiple plays. Much like Neil Gaiman, I guess that I just have a list of things I want(ed) to do and as I've finished some things on the list I've continued with them but also moved on to the next thing. How would I like to be more creative? I'm actually pretty happy with my level of creativity so I guess I'll just stick to the method that I've been going through.
  • Nov 25 2012: I embrace my creative by accepting it and passing it on to others. Now I teach my skills and the ability to create your own rhythms and movements by teaching what I know to others. Before the world of video there was the written word, but that did could not fully embrace sound and motion. With video, and the written word, we who have any ability must teach it to others. If you do not teach what you know, If you you do not open others eyes to the gift and possibilities of creativity, then it dies with you. Imagine the human tragedy if the great minds of our time, from Galileo to mozart or the founding fathers had not written down, or documented their creativity. Teaching others is the highest form of creatvity.
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    Dec 22 2012: Thanks for supporting me, Jerry. So what unusual questions do you ask, or what field do you find yourself asking the most questions about (it sounds like you like science and mathematics)?
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    Dec 18 2012: To embrace my creativity, I live OUTLOUD, PLAY HARD and YES Sing in the WIND. Generally I am a very quiet reserved person who is always THINKING of what the world needs, on some topic of concern or about how to make things more efficient. I love the water, so I pack up and head for the nearest ocean or lake. I park myself at water's edge and play in the sand. When I'm oceanside I collect seashells stack them in a pail with a handwritten "for sale sign - whatever you want to pay", but I really don't mind if people just take the seashells. It's really interesting and funny to watch reactions to a pail of seashells for sale or free. It's makes me laugh OUTLOUD!!
  • Nov 24 2012: In my opinion creativity can come from almost all emotions, and all emotions can trigger creativity as well.

    I usually have to do something for something creative to appear in my brain.

    Having a guitar in my hands, will often let me play subconciously, which often ends up as songs/riff f.ex.

    Arguing a case on the spot without giving the subject a single thought on forehand also forces me into creativity (cause i hate to loose an argument, if i feel my argument is at least equally valid to the "opponent"..)

    The most efficient way of boosting my creativity is definitively being around other creative people as much as possible. Proborbly because I am a bit shy..
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    Nov 23 2012: i make time for it

    i would like to devote more time to it
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    Nov 23 2012: Creativity for me often starts with a question. Questions are really powerful, they lead to new knowledge, a new conversation, a new way of looking at the world.

    I also think it's important to be willing to ask unusual questions. It takes courage, but it's the way to keep life interesting, fresh.

    Detail is also important. Inquiring into the details brings new perspective, and it also gives you more power, more of an ability to do whatever you're doing better.

    Why are you asking?
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      Dec 20 2012: Science and mathematics have gained significant achievements since Newton and Euler, who asked the biggest questions that led to the theories today. (I know I'm neglecting a whole slew of important people in the two fields.) I believe that the only way for innovation to occur is by asking unusual questions.
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        Dec 22 2012: Jerry, please see my response to your comment above. I neglected to hit the reply tab when composing it.
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          Dec 22 2012: "Thanks for supporting me, Jerry. So what unusual questions do you ask, or what field do you find yourself asking the most questions about (it sounds like you like science and mathematics)?"

          I am a mathematics/sciences type of person, but I really like to learn about anything and everything (but I have my preferences, of course). I usually ask the question "What does Wikipedia have in store for me today?" and do something similar to Rives.
          (See Rives: Reinventing the encyclopedia game)

          But on another hand, I am a (mathematics) teacher by nature, and when I look at students' work, I always look at their line of reasoning. It's interesting to see what they come up with, and sometimes even enlightening.

          I live and thrive on the next "Aha moment."
  • Nov 23 2012: Okay, maybe better is all the frames being sold to us to avoid looking at real problems. On NPR today were experts describing how one's beliefs may be greatly influenced by one's peer groups. Smart people can do really dumb things and have dumb ideas if it is to their benefit in the peer group.
  • Nov 23 2012: It is so hard to do something new now. I havde thought myself very creative in the past. I've read so many different things - Maybe, I haven't been doing things to unlock my creativity lately, but I believe the world to be more sales oriented now.
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      Nov 23 2012: As a business owner, being creative is financial suicide these days.
      I have literally dozens of great ideas for companies, things that are fun, entertaining, inspirational, novel etc etc, but none of them can be considered feasible because the financial risk is too high.

      For example, with most property you're immediately locked in with a lease, high rents, rates, utilities, need to take out loans with relatively high interest rates etc etc, that your company just HAS TO BE sales/profit oriented, else you legitimately risk going bankrupt.
      Thats why almost every company out there is just a dollar store, takeaway or a chain company, everything else is off-limits, hence no creativity in this particular sector.
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    Nov 23 2012: Know what you are talented to do, learn from people who have been successful at it, hone your skills, engage your imagination; and then put all the good you've got to work.