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50 Quotes on Creativity to Contemplate

Going through these quotes, they’ve become aphorisms that find meaning in everything I do. They challenge and help stretch the mind to become a better version of self when it comes to solving problems in the workplace.

  1. “Where all think alike there is little danger of innovation. — Edward Abbey from Desert Solitude
  2. We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. — Kurt Vonnegut
  3. All great art is a form of complaint — John Cage
  4. Read deeply. Stay open. Continue to wonder. — Austin Kleon from The Steal Like an Artist Journal
  5. The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers. — Arthur Koestler
  6. Everyone pretends to be ‘free thinkers’, but few individuals pass the line into expressive territories that may be detrimental to their own social well-being. — Criss Jami from Killosophy
  7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. — Sun Tzu from The Art of War
  8. Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different. — Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
  9. Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. — Albert Einstein
  10. Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. — George Lois
  11. 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
  12. A culture of unaccountability is a culture without incentive, and culture without incentive is the death of critical and creative thinking. — Michael R. LeGault
  13. Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers. — Ester Buchholz from The Call of Solitude
  14. 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. — Osho from Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within
  15. Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition. — Max Ernst
  16. One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. — Friedrich Nietzsche from Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  17. Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is a creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. . — Clarissa Pinkola Estes from Women who Run with the Wolves
  18. 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 from Ignore Everybody
  19. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. — Mary Shelly from Frankenstein
  20. Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron that has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience. — Henry David Thoreau from The Portable Thoreau
  21. The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there. — Ernest Becker from The Denial of Death
  22. 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 from The Steal Like an Artist Journal
  23. Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. — Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. — Andy Warhol
  24. If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ¬≠music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” — Hilary Mantel
  25. True alchemy lies in this formula: ‚Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse. — Arthur Rimbaud from Illuminations
  26. Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be but to find out who we already are and become it. — Steven Pressfield from The War of Art
  27. Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live — that productive work is the process by which man’s consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one’s purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one’s values. — Ayn Rand from Atlas Shrugged
  28. To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. — Joseph Chilton Pearce
  29. 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 from George Bernard Shaw Plays Collection
  30. Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion. — Red Haircrow
  31. Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man’s physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed. — Charles Baudelaire from The Painter of Modern Life
  32. Create with the heart; build with the mind. — Criss Jami from Killosophy
  33. Remember that things are not always as they appear to be. Curiosity creates possibilities and opportunities. — Roy T. Bennett from The Light in the Heart
  34. Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature, all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you‚ find out how big a prize you've won. — Twyla Tharp from The Creative Habit
  35. Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. — Arthur Koestler from Drinker of Infinity
  36. Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status. — Sir Ken Robinson from Out of Our Minds
  37. 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
  38. A deadline is, simply put, optimism in its most kick-ass form. It’s a potent force that, when wielded with respect, will level any obstacle in its path. This is especially true when it comes to creative pursuits. — Chris Baty from No Plot? No Problem!
  39. 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. — Rollo May from Love & Will
  40. 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 Headley from North of Beautiful
  41. The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. — Nikola Tesla from My Inventions
  42. 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
  43. The beginning of wisdom, I believe, is our ability to accept an inherent messiness in our explanation of what’s going on. Nowhere is it written that human minds should be able to give a full accounting of creation in all dimensions and on all levels. Ludwig Wittgenstein had the idea that philosophy should be what he called true enough.” I think that’s a great idea. True enough is as true as can be gotten. The imagination is chaos. New forms are fetched out of it. The creative act is to let down the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended and then to attempt to bring out of it ideas.” — Rupert Sheldrake from Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness
  44. I am an obscure and patient pearl-fisherman who dives into the deepest waters and comes up with empty hands and a blue face. Some fatal attraction draws me down into the abysses of thought, down into those innermost recesses which never cease to fascinate the strong. I shall spend my life gazing at the ocean of art, where others voyage or fight; and from time to time I’ll entertain myself by diving for those green and yellow shells that nobody will want. So I shall keep them for myself and cover the walls of my hut with them. — Gustave Flaubert from Flaubert in Egypt
  45. When you aren’t satisfied with what has already been done, make something better. That is the greatest responsibility and true freedom of creativity. The freedom is in that it doesn’t need to complain. —Criss Jami from Killosophy
  46. Creativity is the brain’s invisible muscle — that when used and exercised routinely — becomes better and stronger. — Ashley Ormon
  47. There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keeps moving, changing… They are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing. — Gail Godwin from The Finishing School
  48. One of the most moral acts is to create a space in which life can move forward. — Robert Pirsig from Lila: An Inquiry into Moral
  49. Find your authentic voice, become vulnerable, and then put yourself out there. — Meredith Brooks
  50. Arrogance kills creativity. — A.M. Riley

I’m a generative artist and data scientist who is interested in solving problems, creating gen art and data vis, understanding biology and philosophy.