Creativity, Part 10 of 10: Summary

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A note from the author.

Thank you for reading all of the chapters of Creativity: it’s not what you think.  The book was designed to make it memorable and easy to recall the creativity techniques when they are needed.  These are powerful, research-based techniques that can help you in your personal and professional life.  Use them!  Remember, it’s not what you think that matters. It’s what you DO with what you think, that changes the world. Go change your world.  Listed here for your convenience is a summary of all of the techniques that are used throughout the book.

A Summary of the Techniques

To generate ideas

Break Routine

  • Regularly break smaller, every day patterns.

Constant Questioning

  • Ask:
    Why do I do what I do, the way I do it?”
    “If we weren’t doing this today, would we start doing it tomorrow?”


  • Write down your ideas, no matter how small, insignificant or unconnected they may seem.
  • Make a picture of your idea, or the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Start writing everything that is going on in your head about the idea.


  • Come up with as many ideas as possible in a set amount of time. The crazier the ideas are the better.

Random Provocation

  • Take the word, concept, idea or problem on which you are working, and randomly find a word, any noun or verb, and make connections between the random word and the problem on which you are working.”

Doing Nothing

  • Consciously give some time not to think about the problem and everything you’ve learned.
  • Quiet your mind and trust that you will hear the answers that you seek. Listen to your intuition. It could take days , weeks or even longer to come up with solutions.

Dealing with Fear

To deal with fear, we must either manage it, reduce it, or eliminate the fear. Ideally, we should be able to eliminate fear. If that is not possible, we need to learn to manage or reduce the fear to be able to act in spite of the fear.

Tony’s name spell

T-O-N-Y spelled backwards might be pronounced Y—Not?”
“Asking ‘Why not!’ is a very powerful counter spell when fear is experienced. The entire counter spell consists of asking three questions. When faced with a challenge, and he feels fear arising, Tony asks himself these questions:

The First Question:
  • “Why Not?”
  • “What is holding him back? Can he act in spite of that?
The Second Question:
  • “What is the worst that could happen should he take a risk?”

“Then Tony asks…”

The Third Question:
  • “How can I reduce the seriousness of the worst thing that could happen?”
  • Taking one tiny leap
  • When possible, take a small step toward putting your plan into action and see how it’s working before putting your plan into action full force.

Don’t get tied up in “Nots”

This refers to the voice in your head that clouds your mind with all the ways your ideas will not work. There are two ways to overcome this:

Fail a lot
  • Try many, many things, with the understanding that you probably will make lots of mistakes.
Never fail
  • The only way to fail totally is if nothing was gained by the experience. If you can keep a cool head and learn from your mistakes, then there really are never any failures — just lots of opportunities to learn!”

Challenge assumptions

  • Ask clarifying questions so that you exactly, precisely understand the problem
  • Don’t’ overcomplicate things
  • Solutions don’t have to be complicated; they just have to be the right answer to the right question.
Understand assumptions can be a lock or a key
  • Assumptions can be a lock, because if the problem appears to be difficult or impossible to solve, very often it is because of assumptions we have made.
  • Assumptions can be a key, because once we are aware of them, we can more easily dispel them and think more openly about our challenges.
The five most important questions—Ever!
  • What can’t be changed?
  • Why can’t it be changed?
  • Are you sure it can’t be changed?
  • What can be changed?
    • Size?
    • Shape?
    • Material?
    • Timeline?
    • Direction (can you do it backwards?)
  • What would happen if it could change?

Feed your mind

  • Every new experience and learning is checked against what you are focusing on, to see if it will help you solve your creative dilemma.
Feed your mind with experiences and information
  • Be interested in everything for your entire life, and constantly feed your mind a wide variety of experiences, you will never hunger for new ideas.
Feed your mind with Time Travel
  • Go back in time to when you were a child, when everything was new. This is a great gift, to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Having childlike wonder and curiosity is a marvelous creative habit to cultivate.

Know your strengths

  • Know your strengths by finding your ideal conditions to be creative.
  • Know your strengths by finding your natural talents, interests and passions
  • What do I enjoy doing with my free time?
  • What do people compliment me on?
  • What comes easily to me?
  • Appreciating and utilizing the strengths of others.
  • Learning to let go of your ideas when they no longer work.
  • Be flexible in your ownership.

Dr. Jerry Evanski is the CFO and main copywriter for 212 Creative, LLC.  He has written several books and has taught at the university level for many years. Dr. Evanski received his master’s degree in music education, his educational specialist and his doctorate degree in general administration and supervision from Wayne State University. He created and teaches the Brain-Based Learning certification program at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. The video he created about the program won two Telly Awards.  He is also a trained facilitator for Super Camp, which is an internationally-known accelerated learning program. 

His best-selling book, Classroom Activators, 2nd edition, was published by Corwin Press in 2008.  In addition to Creativity: It’s not what you think, his most recent publications include The Great Eight, a collection of 101 group facilitation skills.  His current research focuses on understanding alternatives to medication for ADHD. The book on this subject is entitled  No Pill for Jack or Jill. He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters, and is happily married to his lovely wife, Mary.

If you would like to schedule a workshop or consultation on creativity, team building or presentation skills, group facilitation techniques with Dr. Evanski or any of the 212 Creative staff, please contact us through 212

Copyright © 2020 Gerard A. Evanski. All rights reserved.  Reproduction and distribution without written permission of the author is strictly prohibited.

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