Luck has nothing to do with it (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

In his book The Luck Factor, psychologist Richard Wiseman writes about his study of four hundred exceptionally “lucky” and “unlucky” people. He found that those who considered themselves lucky tended to exhibit similar attitudes and behaviors. Their unlucky counterparts tended to exhibit opposite traits.

Wiseman has identified four principles that characterize lucky people. Lucky people tend to maximize chance opportunities. They are especially adept at creating, noticing, and acting upon these opportunities when they arise. Second, they tend to be very effective at listening to their intuition, and do work (such as meditation) that is designed to boost their intuitive abilities. The third principle is that lucky people tend to expect to be lucky, creating a series of self-fulfilling o because they go into the world anticipating a positive outcome. Last, lucky people have an attitude that allows them to turn bad luck to good. They don’t allow ill fortune to overwhelm them, and they move quickly to take control of the situation when it isn’t going well for them.

(Robinson & Aronica 2009, p. 161)


We don’t just see the world as it is (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

We don’t just see the world as it is; we interpret it through the particular ideas and beliefs that have shaped our own cultures and our personal outlook. All of these stand between us and our raw experience in the world, acting as a filter on what we perceive and how we think.

What we think of ourselves and of the world makes us who we are and what we can be.

(Robinson & Aronica 2009, p. 81)

Being creative is about making fresh connections (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

Being creative is about making fresh connections so that we see things in new ways and from different perspectives. In logical, linear thinking, we move from one idea to another through a series of rules and conventions. We allow some moves while rejecting others because they’re illogical. If A + B = C, we can figure out what C + B equals. Conventional IQ exams typically test for this type of thinking. The rules of logic or linear thought don’t always guide creative thinking.

On the contrary, creative insights often come in nonlinear ways, through seeing connections and similarities between things that we hadn’t noticed before. Creative thinking depends greatly on what’s sometimes called divergent or lateral thinking, and especially on thinking in metaphors or seeing analogies.

(Robinson & Aronica 2009, p. 77)

The power of creativity (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

Imagination is not the same as creativity. Creativity takes the process of imagination to another level. My definition of creativity is “the process of having original ideas that have value.” Imagination can be entirely internal. You could be imaginative all day long without anyone noticing. But you would never say that someone was creative if that person never did anything. To be creative you actually have to do something. It involves putting your imagination to work to make something new, to come up with new solutions to problems, even to think of new problems or questions.

You can think of creativity as applied imagination.

(Robinson & Aronica 2009, p. 67)

The power of imagination (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

My initial definition of imagination is “the power to bring to mind things that are not present to our senses.”

Your respons to this might very well be, “Duh.” That would be an appropriate response, but it helps make a critical point – that perhaps more than any other capacity, imagination is the one we take for granted most. This is unfortunate because imagination is vitally important to our lives. Through imagination, we can visit the pas, contemplate the present, and anticipate the future. We can also do something else of profound and unique significance. We can create.

Through imagination, we not only bring to mind things that we have experienced but things that we have never experienced. We can conjecture, we can hypothesize, we can speculate, and we can suppose. In a word, we can be imaginative. As soon as we have the power to release our minds from the immediate here and now, in a sense we are free. We are free to revisit the past, free to reframe the present, and free to anticipate a whole range of possible futures. Imagination is the foundation of everything that is uniquely and distinctively human. It is the basis of language, the arts, the sciences, systems of philosophy, and all the vast intricacies of human culture.

(Robinson & Aronica, 2009, p. 59)

From superstition to science (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

People will pride themselves on being “down to earth” and “realistic” and deride those who “have their heads in the clouds.” And yet, far more than any other power, imagination is what sets human beings apart from every other species on earth.

Imagination underpins every uniquely human achievement. Imagination led us from caves to cities, from bone clubs to golf clubs, from carrion to cuisine, and from superstition to science.

(Robinson & Aronica, 2009, p. 57)

The sixth sense (Robinson & Aronica, 2009)

12 October 2010

One of the things Kathryn Lynn learned about the Anlo Ewe people is that they don’t think of the senses in the same way that we do. First they never thought to count them. That entire notion seemed beside the point. In addition, when Geurts listed our taken-for-granted five to them, they asked about the other one. The main one. They weren’t speaking of a “spooky” sense. Nor were they speaking of some residual sense that has survived among the Anlo Ewe but that the rest of us have lost. They were speaking of a sense that we all have, and that is fundamental to our functioning in the world. They were talking about our sense of balance.

The fluids and bones of the inner ear mediate the sense of balance. You only have to think of the impact on your life of damaging your sense of balance – through illness or alcohol – to get some idea of how important it is to our everyday existence. Yet most people never think to include it in their list of senses. This isn’t because they don’t have a sense of balance. It’s because they’ve become so accustomed to the idea that we have five senses that they have stopped thinking about it. It’s become a matter of common sense. They just take it for granted.

One of the enemies of creativity and innovation, especially in relation to our own development, is common sense. They playwright Bertolt Brecht said that as soon as something seems the most obvious thing in the world, it means that we have abandoned all attempts at understanding it.

(Robinson & Aronica, 2009, p. 31)