Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

If you are at all curious about creativity, you can find many famous and not so famous quotes about creativity. What you may not know is that those quotes can teach you secrets to creativity. Below are quotes that reveal five secrets to your most creative self.

image of a light bulb with a colorful flare behind it titled five secrets to your most creative self.

1. Allow Yourself to Feel

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma reveals a big secret in his words above. The only way to be your most creative self, is to find your passion. Sit quietly or meditate. Discover what stirs you. What makes you “lose time?” Makes you forget to eat or drink or even to use the bathroom.

What are the things you most treasure? Books? Art work? Metal work? Cooking? Knitting… the list goes on and on.

Whatever absorbs you is at least one of your passions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “real” art or not. Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Follow your passion. See where it leads. If you have multiple passions, focus on one for a few months. Try as many as you like. (Some people can pursue more than one, but if that’s your choice understand it may take you on a longer journey than focusing on one.)

Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

2. Know Your Art

Critical thinking and curiosity are the key to creativity.

Amala Akkineni

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

Edward de Bono

There are two schools of thought about learning the techniques or the skills of your art.

Some suggest that one should create for a while before learning the “rules.” They believe you are more creative before you learn the rules. If you have a strong “perfection” drive, this path may help you.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

If one creates without knowing the rules, you can be incredibly creative, or you might meet failures. These failures, according to those who don’t ascribe to the don’t learn first thinking, may have been mitigated or even prevented.

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.

William Plomer

The other school of thought contends that learning the “rules” and applying them as guidelines actually increases creativity.

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.

Donatella Versace

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Charles Mingus

You may choose to learn the commonalities of good art in a formal or informal setting. Find a mentor, a class, study your art independently. You might find value in doing each of those.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

Steve Jobs

Neither method is wrong. Do what helps you most.

3. Be Child Like—Play

The creative adult is the child who survived.

Ursula Le Guin

The third of the five secrets to your most creative self is to play. To be creative, to connect things in ways others find surprising or interesting, tap your inner child. Be a child. Be curious.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Albert Einstein

Have fun. If it isn’t fun, take a step back. What would make it fun? Play.

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

John Cleese

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

Mary Lou Cook

4. Allow Yourself to Fail

Image of a lion's face on a black background with the quote "creativity takes courage by Henri Matisse

Creativity takes courage.

Henri Matisse

You may think of failure with capital letters, as if it is a bad thing. All creatives fail sometimes, often many times.

Look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. Examine it. Document it. What you learn may surprise you. The biggest surprises are the attempts you thought failed, and someone else believes is great art.

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.

Edwin Land

5. Allow Yourself to Create

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club. Jack London

Being creative, especially when it takes more time and money than you’d planned, can seem wasteful. Perhaps it appears more wasteful to a partner or family member than it does to you. That’s one time when creativity is hard.

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones. Bruce Garrabrandt

If you don’t give yourself permission to create, you’ll postpone it. You’ll defer to other people’s desires or needs. Don’t wait. Most especially, don’t wait for inspiration or for the perfect conditions. Go for it. The only way it will get done is if you allow yourself to create.

Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.

Kurt Vonnegut

You can use these five secrets to your most creative self and in following your passion, you’ll find the real secret isn’t a secret. Do it. Follow your passion, whatever it is. Make your soul grow. And in the comments below, please share what your passion is.

Challenge These Nine Myths and Reclaim Your Creativity

Do you confuse creativity with being artistic? Or perhaps you believe only a tiny fraction of the population is born with creativity. If you do, you have bought into a myth. Challenge these nine myths and reclaim your creativity.

Computer keyboard with a large red key labeled "be creative." Have you bought into a myth?Challenge these nine myths and reclaim your creativity.

Myth #1: Creativity is Artistic Expression

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, creativity is “the ability to create” and “the quality of being creative.” Not very helpful. But they define create as “to bring into existence” and “to bring about by a course of action or behavior.”

So if the dictionary doesn’t mention artistic in the definition of creativity or create, then why limit what is creative? Creativity is bringing something into existence by a course of action or behavior. 

There is a whole blog post on on this site about how You Don’t Have to be an Artist. Every day “ordinary people” are creative. If you think creativity is only artistic expression, broaden your definition. You’ll find examples of creativity during a walk around your house, your neighborhood, or city. 

Myth #2: Only A Minority is Creative

All humans are innately creative. Watch a bunch of young children play. A stick becomes a doll, gibberish becomes a special language, cardboard boxes become castles. They create new games, new toys, new languages out of nothing but their imaginations.

Unfortunately, our society systematically drives that creativity away. From grade school on, they label creative behaviors disruptive or unproductive. They label creativity as artistic, as genetic, as many things that exclude most people. 

You may not be the next Rembrandt or the next Madame Curie, but your creativity is a gift. And you can open it at any time.

Myth #3: People are Born Creative

newborn baby with artists supplies around him--challenge these nine myths and reclaim your creativity

There is no known gene for creativity. Some people call it a trait. Others say it’s a way of thinking. A way of rubbing two ideas together and getting something different, something new.

Recent evidence suggests that creativity involves a complex interplay between spontaneous and controlled thinking.


Some people are more comfortable with this kind of mash-up thinking. Why?

Probably because from a young age their upbringing, their environment, and their level of curiosity encouraged them. Without that environment and support, it may be more difficult to learn to use creative thinking—but it’s not impossible.

Some People are Born Uncreative

How sad to think you are born uncreative. If you believe you are uncreative your belief blocks off a trait all humans share. 

Perhaps you believe you are uncreative because you don’t have big idea. Being less creative that Steve Jobs, or your favorite songwriter, doesn’t make you uncreative. And the first step to become more creative is to believe that you can. Does that sound like mumbo jumbo to you? Take the challenge. Believe that you are creative.

People are Creative (or not) Based on What They Do

Another sad myth. Creativity comes in all jobs, in all forms, in all kinds of ways. Seriously, anyone can be creative. Now, that being said, some employers do not reward creativity. Another very sad fact is that some employers punish creativity. 

If the environment you’re in doesn’t support creativity, consider finding a different job. And if that’s not possible (we’re all suffering from the economic fallout of 2020 and the pandemic), then find another outlet for your creativity. 

Creativity comes in a Flash of Insight

Image of a black man thinking with illustrations of gears above his head, each gear holds a symbol for an idea.

Eureka! That’s what the cartoon characters say when they have a creative insight, right? You’re not a cartoon character. Sometimes creativity can come in a flash of insight, but 99% of the time—it comes as a bit of an idea that you toy with for a while. And in toying with it, another idea or two comes to mind. Finally, they meld together and you have your “flash” of insight.

Creativity must be Original  

Are you catching on that this myth isn’t true either? 

History and empirical research show more evidence that new ideas are actually combinations of older ideas and that sharing those helps generate more innovation.


A variation of this myth is what some creatives call “the Imposter Syndrome.” The syndrome is a niggling doubt that says you can’t be or aren’t creative because what you did isn’t wholly original. But know this—as long as you aren’t plagiarizing the work (passing someone else’s work off as your own)—you can’t help but make your work original. No one else has your experience, your esthetics, or preferences. Your creation IS original and creative.

Lone Creator Myth

four outstretched arms with white cuffed shirts and four fists make a square. Challenge these nine myths and reclaim your creativity.

There are lone creators, but that’s not the only way creativity happens. Sometimes a pair is more creative than a single person. There are many examples in history. Think Marie and Pierre Curie, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, or Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The Manhattan Project was a team of scientists that created the atom bomb. The Three Stooges were a team that created their own brand of comedy. What teams of creators do you remember?

Creativity Can’t Be Developed

You can prove this myth wrong. There are hundreds of exercises you can do to develop or enhance your creativity. Try the three methods mentioned in this post. Or use any of the science-backed ways in this post on Entrepreneur.

Which of These Myths Are Limiting Your Creativity?

Myths are insidious. We learn them so early and so well that we believe them. Even when the evidence in front of us suggests differently, we hold on to the myth. Don’t let myths hold you back. Challenge these nine myths and reclaim your creativity. Don’t think one of these myths are holding you back? There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of variations. Which ones are holding you back?