You’re reading an excerpt of Creative Doing, by Herbert Lui. 75 practical techniques to unlock creative potential in your work, hobby, or next career. Purchase now for instant, lifetime access to the book.

When we were children, none of us needed to be told to draw. It was practically primal. We would naturally doodle. Yet at some point, most of us stop drawing. Comedian and writer Ricky Gervais quoted Pablo Picasso saying, β€œEvery child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” While the popular quote remains unverified, it’s not difficult to imagine the words coming out of Picasso’s mouth. John Lennon said something similar: β€œEvery child is an artist until he’s told he’s not an artist.”

Human beings have an instinct to create, but we are made to unlearn it, suppress it, and repress it as we grow up. Our natural-born instinct to be creative, to play, and to look at the world with wonder and limitless possibility is stifled and tamped down so we can deal with the unpleasant business of being adults. A lifetime of comments like β€œYou can’t do that,” β€œThat’s not how things work,” and β€œDo you have a backup plan?” beat us into thinking practically and logically.

While the more analytical side of our mindsβ€”the judgeβ€”is great for lots of things, we can’t count on it to think our way into being more creative. The solution is not to try to think our way out of this, but to take action and to let the brain follow. β€œIf you want to think differently, first learn to act differently,” scientist Heinz von Foerster said.

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