Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Book Notes

Here are my notes:

Without access to a domain, and without the support of a field, a person has no chance of recognition.
So the first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interest, that is, the allocation of attention to things for their own sake.
Creative individuals are childlike in that their curiosity remains fresh even at ninety years of age; they delight in the strange and the unknown. And because there is no end to the unknown, their delight also is endless
Try to be surprised by something every day. It could be something you see, hear, or read about
Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences—the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.
Try to surprise at least one person every day . Instead of being your predictable self, say something unexpected, express an opinion that you have not dared to reveal, ask a question you wouldn’t ordinarily ask. Or break the routine of your activities:
Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others to record each evening the most surprising event that happened that day and your most surprising action.
When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it .
Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to . Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. Choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting
On FLow:
If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable
To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity
Nor can you enjoy the same activity over and over, unless you discover new challenges, new opportunities in it. Otherwise it becomes boring
After creative energy is awakened, it is necessary to protect it. We must erect barriers against distractions, dig channels so that energy can flow more freely, find ways to escape outside temptations and interruptions.
What can you do to build up habits that will make it possible to control attention
  • Take charge of your schedule
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation. These are times when you should not expect any task to be done, any decision to be reached. You should just indulge in the luxury of reflection for its own sake. Combine these periods of reflection with some other task that requires a certain amount of attention, but not all of it. Preferably this should involve some physical or kinesthetic component. Creative individuals usually sleep longer and claim that if they cut down on sleeptime the originality of their ideas suffers
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life. Creative people always know the reason for what they are doing, and they are very sensitive to pain, to boredom, to joy, to interest, and to other emotion.
    1. The first thing is to keep a careful record of what you did each day and how you felt about it.
    2. Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.
    3. Develop what you lack .
The point here is that everyone can strengthen the missing end of the polarity. When an extrovert learns to experience the world like an introvert, or vice versa, it is as if he or she discovered a whole missing dimension to the world that creative persons are able to integrate is being open and receptive on the one hand, and focused and hard-driving on the other
  • Aim for complexity
To do so we need to explore and strengthen those traits that are now lacking, to learn to shift from openness to discipline, within a context of curiosity and awe for the miracle of life.
They question the obvious—not out of contrariness but because they see the shortcomings of accepted explanations before the rest
Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible .
How you define a problem usually carries with it an explanation of what caused it
A good way to learn problem finding in everyday life is to stop yourself when you sense you have a problem and give it the best shot at a formulation.
This happened because the boss dislikes me.” As soon as you do this, reverse the formulation : “It happened because I dislike the boss.”
Nevertheless, it is extremely important to identify the nature of the problem, because what you will do next depends on it. By naming the problem and attributing a cause to it you will shape not only the past but, more important, the future.
Figure out the implications of the problem . Once you have created a formulation, you can begin to entertain possible solutions.
Implement the solution . Solving problems creatively involves continuous experimentation and revision learn from the emerging work;
Produce as many ideas as possible
First, come up with as many options as you can think of
Have as many different ideas as possible . Quantity is important, but try to avoid redundancy.
Try to produce unlikely ideas .