Increasing Your Creativity

20 12 2014

Albert Einstein HeadI’ve often heard the Albert Einstein quote, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” But just this week I received an email from Jean Houston, who actually met Einstein in person and was encouraged to read more fairy tales. I’m posting that story and her own inspiring comments (in red italics) here:

When I was eight years old, I attended a school in Manhattan where they felt it would be good for students to meet some of the great elders of the time.
One of those elders was Albert Einstein, and one day we were trotted across the river over to Princeton University to his house there. He had a lot of hair and was very sweet.
One of my smart-alecky classmates said to him: “Uh, Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be as smart as you?”
He said: “Read fairy tales,” which made no sense to us at all.
So another smart-alecky kid said: “Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be smarter than you?”
He said: “Read more fairy tales!”
We, of course, didn’t fully understand him at the time, but what he was actually encouraging us to do was to nurture and grow our imaginations.
He understood something that almost all highly creative and successful people do, that the imaginal realm is where the most potent ideas—the ones that can change your life or change the world—are held.
And the more you can nurture your imagination by diving into that imaginal realm, the more often that dive will inspire a stream of creativity when you resurface.

I wanted to post the Einstein story along with Jean’s words because at this magical time of year, it’s good to think about creativity. As the days grow darker and the weather gets colder (for many of us, anyway), many of us go into hibernation. Those hibernation periods, although they may seem unproductive, are actually a time for the ground to go fallow in preparation for spring growth.

This also holds true when you’re in a creative slump. Allow time for rest and rejuvenation. And remember that one of the most productive things you can do is to fill your mind with fairy tales.

Indulge yourself this winter by curling up with beautifully written books, soaking up inspiring music, and strolling through gorgeous art collections. Pamper yourself, and you’ll emerge on the other side more creative than ever before.

*Jean Houston‘s a wonderful teacher who inspires many people to reach their full potential, and she’s has upcoming classes for those who might want to challenge their preconceived notions of what’s possible.

Does Exercise Make You Smarter?

4 05 2010

I just read a study that showed monkeys who ran on a treadmill for an hour for five days a week showed increased cognitive ability along with greater blood flow to the brain. But if they became sedentary afterward, they lost those advantages.

This information from Medical News Today set me to wondering. As a writer and editor, I spend a good portion of my day sitting. So does that mean my brain power is slowly (or perhaps quickly) draining away? Very scary thought.

Perhaps that explains my memory loss. Is it possible that, rather than aging causing a loss of brain cells, the decrease in cognition comes from becoming more sedentary as we age? I like that explanation. It gives me hope that I can reverse the effects of aging. All I have to do is get on a treadmill five days a week.

How likely is that? Probably as likely as me swinging by my tail from a tree. Let’s just say those monkeys have me beat by a mile (or more).

That leads to another, even scarier, thought. If the monkeys keep running and I keep sitting, will they eventually become smarter than I am and take over my job?