Isaac Asimov, the science-fiction author and essayist, had a pretty good grasp on creativity. Here’s one of his best tips on finding new ideas and nurturing creativity from one of his previously unreleased essays.
Picture: thierry ehrmann/Flickr
In the essay, published for the first time at the MIT Technology Review, Asimov asks how people get new ideas. He suggests that you need to be able to make strong connections, and that being an expert in your field isn’t enough. You should also be willing to take a step away from reason. If it is a truly new idea, it won’t fit the mould of popular reason. But, most importantly, Asimov suggests that spending time alone with your thoughts is to your benefit:
My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.) The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.
Being alone let’s you explore all ideas, even the absurd ones. So take a note from one of the most well known science-fiction creators there has ever been and learn to make connections, ignore common reason, and spend some time alone to explore the vast reaches of creativity. The entire essay is worth a read, so check it out at the link below.
Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?” [MIT Technology Review]