"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


One of the most essential ingredients of creativity is humour. If we think deeply about this sensation, we can appreciate that humour is no laughing matter. Here follows an example:

In the 1940s, an employee managed to slip past the secretary of Mark Woods, president of American Broadcasting Company.

"I just had to see you, Mr Woods," he said with a desperate look in his eyes. "I've asked my immediate supervisor for a raise, and he said I couldn't have one. I really ought to get the extra money."

"Why?" asked Mr Woods, looking utterly bewildered.

"Well, for one thing, there are three companies that want me."

"What three companies?"

"The light company, the phone company and the gas company," said the employee.

Woods sanctioned his raise in appreciation of his sense of humour.

Well timed humour is creativity at its best, and could be very popular in a social setting. It can work to great effect in the political arena too.

The worksphere operates far more productivity when humour is present. This correlates with also having a high level of tolerance - the higher the level, the greater the capacity for creativity.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, the famous Hungarian-American film and television personality once appeared on a show targeted for the lovelorn. One of the questions came from a young lady: "I'm breaking my engagement to an extremely wealth man who has already given me a fur coat, a Rolls Royce, diamonds and a stove. What should I do?"

"Give back the stove,' advised Zsa Zsa.

One must appreciate the difference between essentials and non-essentials. A good manager will be able to prioritise accordingly.

The Scottish-born American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), was visited on one occasion by a militant socialist. The zealot harangued Carnegie about the evils of capitalism and waxed eloquent on the need for equal distribution of wealth. Carnegie let the tirade continue until finally, he summoned his secretary.

He requested two figures to be brought to him immediately: the total value of his assets and possessions, and the latest estimate of the world's population. Upon receiving the information, he made a quick calculation and, turning to his secretary, said, "Give this gentleman sixteen cents. That's his share of my wealth."

Carnegie's quick thinking and creative solution leads us to focus on the fact that the solution to poverty lies not in the re-slicing of the same pie into tinier pieces. Instead, it lies in the creation of more wealth and greater opportunity.

Quick thinking cannot be overemphasised in creativity, though one does also benefit significantly from the slow, gradual process of meditation.

Here is an excellent example of rapier wit that is quick and reflexive. It occurred when an Algonquin Wag challenged the irrepressible Dorothy Parker to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence; she instantly shot back with "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think."

Former North Carolinian Senator Sam Erwin Jr, a gentleman of the old school, and in possession of a southern accent that dipped with charm, wrote the following definition of humour when he was 85:

"Humour is one of God's most marvellous gifts. Humour gives us smiles, laughter, and gaiety. Humour reveals the roses and hides the thorns. Humour makes our burdens light and smoothes the rough spots in our pathways. Humour endows us with the capacity to clarify the obscure, to simplify the complex, to deflate the pompous, to chastise the arrogance, to point to a moral, and to adorn a tale."

[To be continued in the Next Post. Excerpted from 'Brain Symphony: Brain-blazing Practical Techniques in Creativity for Immediate Application', by Dilip Mukerjea. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

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