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Stephen Jay Gould on Creativity

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From the book Uncommon Genius by Denise Shekerjian, Stephen Jay Gould discusses creativity.

Look, he explained, there is so much nonsense circulating about the creative process. People are all caught up in the Strum and Drang of it, the so-called magic of inspiration, this utterly ridiculous fantasy of a muse:
“Twaddle. Absolute twaddle and one of the worst heritages of Romanticism.”

If I have any insight at all to contribute, he continued, it is this: find out what you’re really good at and stick to it.

Gould elaborated: “Any human being is really good at certain things. The problem is that the things you’re good at come naturally. And since most people are pretty modest and not an arrogant s.o.b. like me, what comes naturally you don’t see as a special skill. It’s just you. It’s what you’ve always done.”

He goes on to talk about how instead of people celebrating what they can do they get jealous and angry about what they can’t do. Don’t waste time trying to do something that you are never going to be able to do well, focus on developing the skills that come naturally.

In other words, find out what you’re really good at and stick to it.

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