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To create is to cause something to exist by one’s actions. Creativity and the creative process are about taking original ideas, inspired from imagination, and then producing something new. To be creative means to generate original ideas and possibilities that will, when applied, be useful, entertaining, or beautiful, or otherwise worthwhile. What part discipline and spontaneity play in creativity are matters of debate. Artists and thinkers have tried to put into words what creativity is about. Here are some of those words.

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One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

— A. A. Milne

Ideas may drift into other minds, but they do not drift my way. I have to go and fetch them. I know no work manual or mental to equal the appalling heart-breaking anguish of fetching an idea from nowhere.

— A. A. Milne

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

— Abraham Lincoln

Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.

— Abraham Lincoln

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.

— Abraham Maslow

To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.

— Albert Einstein

Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.

— Albert Einstein

The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us — we start editing ideas before we have them.

— Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

American families have always shown remarkable resiliency, or flexible adjustment to natural, economic, and social challenges. Their strengths resemble the elasticity of a spider web, a gull’s skillful flow with the wind, the regenerating power of perennial grasses, the cooperation of an ant colony, and the persistence of a stream carving canyon rocks. These are not the strengths of fixed monuments but living organisms. This resilience is not measured by wealth, muscle or efficiency but by creativity, unity, and hope. Cultivating these family strengths is critical to a thriving human community.

— Ben Silliman, Family Life Specialist with the University of Wyoming’s Cooperative Extension Service

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When people really listen to each other in a quiet, fascinated attention, the creative fountain inside each of us begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected wisdom.

— Brenda Ueland

So you see, imagination needs noodling — long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering.

— Brenda Veland

Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth.

— Carl Jung

The creative mind plays with the object it loves.

— Carl Jung

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.

— Carl Sagan

It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.

— Carl Sagan

When I open my eyes in the morning, I am not confronted by the world, but by a million possible worlds.

— Colin Wilson

No abundance of material goods can compensate for the death of individuality and personal creativity.

— Coretta Scott King

Perhaps what differentiates highly creative ideas from ordinary ones is some combined sense of beauty, simplicity, and harmony.

— Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

— Erich Fromm

In the case of the creative mind, it seems to me, the intellect has withdrawn its watchers from the gates, and the ideas rush in pell-mell, and only then does it review and inspect the multitude. You worthy critics, or whatever you may call yourselves, are ashamed or afraid of the momentary and passing madness which is found in all real creators, the longer or shorter duration of which distinguishes the thinking artist from the dreamer. Hence your complaints of unfruitfulness, for you reject too soon and discriminate too severely.

— Friedrich Schiller

The human mind isn’t a computer; it cannot progress in an orderly fashion down a list of candidate moves and rank them by a score down to the hundredth of a pawn the way a chess machine does. Even the most disciplined human mind wanders in the heat of competition. This is both a weakness and a strength of human cognition. Sometimes these undisciplined wanderings only weaken your analysis. Other times they lead to inspiration, to beautiful or paradoxical moves that were not on your initial list of candidates.

— Garry Kasparov, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

One of the first things a relationship therapist learns is that couples argue to burn up energy that could be used for something else. In fact, arguments often serve the purpose of using up energy, so that the couple do not have to take the courageous, creative leap into an unknown they fear. Arguing serves the function of being a zone of familiarity into which you can retreat when you are afraid of making a creative breakthrough.

— Gay Hendricks

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.

— George Bernard Shaw

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.

— Henri Matisse

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

— Henry David Thoreau

Poetry is man’s rebellion against being what he is.

— James Branch Cabell

We tend to think of the Faustian man, the one who fabricates, manipulates, seduces and ends up destroying. But the new image will be man the creator, the artist, the player.

— Jean Houston

If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.

— Jean Piaget

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

— John Cage

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.

— John Cleese
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