How Do You Raise The Odds Of Creative Breakthrough? Rather Than Search For Answers, Seek Out Your Simple Truths

How Do You Raise The Odds Of Creative Breakthrough? Rather Than Search For Answers, Seek Out Your Simple Truths

Create December 09, 2019 / By Larry Robertson
How Do You Raise The Odds Of Creative Breakthrough? Rather Than Search For Answers, Seek Out Your Simple Truths

Though it can be hard to come by, what's simple is what matters most.

For just about every undertaking in life there are simple truths. Creativity is no exception. Simple truths are those basic principles that guide, define, and explain why you do what you do – not in a formulaic way, yet in a steady reliable manner, as reliable as the cardinal points on a compass. 

Simple truths are powerful in a number of ways. They focus us and our energies. When we are aware of and in tune with them, they enable us to rise higher, to seek the new and better, and to evolve and progress in every sense. Thomas Jefferson once described them as the kind of truths that are so fundamental as to be self-evident. It’s a nice thought, but the truth is that’s more a wish than a reality. Most often, we have to do a little searching for simple truths (even though with the passage of time we usually recognize that they were right there in front of us all along). 

In my book The Language of Man. Learning to Speak Creativity, I build my exploration of creativity around such simple truths – ones that are present across creativity in all its forms and regardless of creator, time, field, or circumstances. The first simple truth is this: “every single human being is equipped with a capacity for creativity.” Right behind it is simple truth number two: “the only important differences between those we perceive as creative and the rest of us is that they know the first truth, and actually practice using their capacity.” Simple. Powerful. True. And because they’re so simple, such truths are also easily passed over rather than recognized for their fundamental role in all creative breakthroughs.

Ironically, it is the very simplicity of simple truths that causes them to get overlooked. Such foundational constants don’t attempt arguments about what forms of expression actually qualify as creativity; nor do simple truths declare some elusive trait, gene, or environment as necessary for bringing creativity out. The reason why is that, despite the disproportionate and false hype, such things matter far less than we typically give them credit for. More, such things aren’t universal. Simple truths don’t segment or discriminate. Their relevance is ubiquitous. 

If you can accept what you’ve read so far about simple truths (at least on premise, though the supporting evidence is overwhelming), then we can get down to what you really care about: How do you go about sussing out your own simple truths? As stripped down, even ‘simple’ as they may seem at first, I’ve found these guidelines to be incredibly helpful:

  1. Simple truths are shared. While at the start you may be seeking truths to guide yourself, eventually creativity, and for that matter life, is a team sport. What this means is that for a simple truth to be of lasting value it must be something that not just you but everyone to whom you apply it gets it, believes it, can apply it to themselves, and most important of all, knows to be true. A simple truth isn’t something mandated or forced, which would be quite the opposite of shared. It’s more what Mr. Jefferson was angling it:  a simple truth is self-evident and to everyone.
  2. They’re inextinguishable. Simple truths aren’t rules or formulas telling you exactly how to do something. If they were, they’d eventually fade and become less relevant. That’s the trouble with rules and formulas as we normally think about them. No doubt, we love the idea of the turnkey predictability they seem to promise. But that kind of recipe approach can only occur in set moments in time. Recipes, formulas, and prescriptions are inevitably tied to certain variables, and variables vary (it is, after all, in the name). Simple truths carry across changing time and circumstance. It’s one of their most distinguishing features.
  3. They appear in patterns. You have to get to know a truth and that takes a bit of time. Truths usually come to us after we’ve tested them out, even when we may be unaware that we were testing them out. But when they start to repeat, in other words, when a truth appears in a pattern across time and circumstance, we begin to recognize its validity and value. The same must be true when looking forward: a simple truth must be one that holds up as time and circumstances continue to unfold and morph. Looking for the patterns ongoing ensures something important – that we ‘attend’ to our simple truths, that we check in with them and affirm that they still apply and how. The added upside is that when we do, we actually raise the odds of using and applying such truths to what we do. 

Looking at these guidelines, it’s easy to see that many things won’t qualify as simple truths. A simple truth is something special, something defining, and something not just yours alone. Such truths exude potential and possibility. They leave you room to ponder and create. Simple truths are powerful tools worth revealing and attending.

comments powered by Disqus