There's something incredibly potent and calming about insightful quotes from geniuses. As any entrepreneur or creative will attest, funks, ruts, and blocks happen. And knowing that brilliant minds tackled similar issues is priceless. Lucky for us, they were able to distill sharp lessons from their struggles. While there are many tools to help get your creativity back, here are 10 pieces of wisdom that can inspire you to stay on track, stay true to your creativity, and keep focused on your bold vision.
1. Be Bold
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." --Oscar Wilde
Wilde reminds us that we must push to the edges, especially in the beginning phases. As ideas develop and make their way through process, protocol, and practicalities, they get watered down. This is a powerful reminder to be audacious in the beginning.
2. Inspiration Is All Around
"Ideas come from everything." --Alfred Hitchcock
Inspiration doesn't happen at a particular time, and it shouldn't be the sole responsibility of one team. It is everywhere. Hitchcock actually cites an example: One of his greatest foundational experiences came when his father made him go to the police station and admit something he had done wrong. This became a source of inspiration to explore themes of paranoia, police, and doom.
3. There Will Always Be Critics
"No matter how well you perform, there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." --Sir Laurence Olivier
When you're creating something that's truly different, you're going to offend some people. That goes with the territory of creating something new. This is a nice reminder that this is not a new phenomenon. And that it's better to give people something to talk about than have them not remember you at all.
4. Get Going
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." --sometimes attributed to Goethe
When it comes to ideas, the important thing is to get going. You can worry about getting it right later. A quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain echoes this sentiment: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Find something you can tackle today that will advance your idea, and dive in.
5. Don't Go It Alone
"Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking." --Stephen Hawking
There's a myth with entrepreneurs that they should keep their ideas to themselves in case someone steals them. However, sharing is key. It helps make ideas stronger, more polished, and more pointed. Not to mention it can bolster your confidence in your idea. Share early, and share often.
6. Embrace Your Naivety
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." --Albert Einstein
When you tap into your imagination, rather than rely on your knowledge, amazing things can happen. Of course, you can access all the expertise and knowledge as you're developing your idea down the line, but to kick things off, unleash your imagination and trust your instincts and the potent naivety that comes from inexperience.
7. Truly Original Ideas Are a Myth
"Good artists copy, great artists steal." --attributed to Pablo Picasso
Most ideas are not brand new to the world, they are just new to a certain category or context. Steve Jobs referenced this quote a lot as he believed the real genius lay in finding inspiration in other categories and then applying it to his own.
8. Tenacity Counts
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." --attributed to Winston Churchill
As any great entrepreneur will tell you, the key to success is tenacity. Hitting upon an overnight blockbuster is incredibly rare. Being able to draw upon your reserves and tap into your tenacity in the hard times is what will get you through.
9. Love What You're Creating
"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together, go to the making of genius. Love, Love, Love. That is the soul of genius." --Wolfgang Mozart
Though it sounds trite, when you love what you do, flow happens. Time whips by, inspiration abounds, and you galvanize people to what you're creating with ease.
10. Make It a Habit
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." --John Steinbeck
Creativity and innovation can be taught. It requires suspending judgment, asking naive questions, and being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Most importantly, it requires taking the time to actively practice these behaviors, until they become your default way of being.