Friday, December 15, 2006
"Eragon" author reveals the secret to his genius
When I met Sanjay Gupta this summer, we spent a long time talking about creativity: how to define it, the importance of encouraging it in childhood and early adulthood, its importance in nearly every aspect of modern life, and what people can do to develop creativity in themselves and in others.
The conversation reminded me of certain methods my parents used when home schooling my sister and me, techniques that helped us express ourselves freely and find unique solutions to problems. For example, whenever we became curious about a particular subject, my mother would surround us with information on that topic: books from our local library, pictures, music, sticker books... anything relevant to the subject. She would encourage us to draw pictures and write a few paragraphs on the subject, and then she would take these pages and bind them into booklets.
The rich environment my parents provided taught us to embrace new knowledge and to enjoy educating ourselves. These are habits that anyone can learn on their own. Whenever you come across an unfamiliar fact or skill, grab hold of it and learn everything possible about it. By doing so, you can acquire a vast pool of facts, figures, and abilities: the primordial soup from which creativity can arise. For creativity, at its simplest, is the art of putting together seemingly unrelated things and combining them in new ways. By doing that- by looking at the world from a different perspective - it's possible to achieve greater success in work, play and in artistic endeavors.
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