Imagination and Creativity

When and where do you get your best ideas? In the shower? On the beach? Ever wonder why your best ideas rarely come to you while at work?

This is because the creative mind doesn’t’ perform optimally while in “the box”. The box is that place that doesn’t change. It is the steel cubicle where creativity dies and mediocrity reigns supreme. In his book How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, author Michael J. Gelb speaks insightfully about how one can elevate imagination and creativity to peak levels.

Gelb, in an effort to write a series of books on the mastery of da Vinci, traveled to Florence, Italy. Gelb, walked the steps da Vinci walked, sat in his seat, ate what ate, and studied his notes. He noticed that da Vinci operated at his best when his mind ran freely and unfettered, without premise.

Leonardo da Vinci’s personal notes could be characterized as haphazard. On one page he would have a shopping list, under that several vocabulary definitions, next to that an impeccable drawing, and next to the drawing a stream of disjointed scribbling.

In fact, Gelb found very few “organized” ideas. It is as if his most famous works of art were surrounded by chaos. Much can be learned from the da Vinci style of creativity. Nothing was segmented; his ideas were connected to other seemingly unrelated ideas, which in the end birthed legendary creations that could not have emerged from in “the box”.

Being effective in today’s financial markets requires extreme imagination and creativity. “Thinking outside the box” isn’t a skill – it is a requirement. The connectivity of the global economy requires an imagination that is foreign to traditional financial planning. In today’s world, thinking inside the box can be the riskiest investment of all.

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