Scott’s Thoughts: Seeing Sparks

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Steve Jobs, Co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc.

Boy with a sparkler.Specialization is a common way in many fields for someone to differentiate themselves from the masses. Selecting an area of expertise and “drilling down” into that area until you are an authority is a compelling way to capture a niche. After all, you can’t know everything about everything, but you can know almost everything about one thing. Specialization in real estate usually focuses on a type of residence or type of client (e.g. “the luxury high-rise specialist” or “the top agent for international Chinese buyers in XYZ city”).

Specialization naturally requires putting on the blinders. What you sacrifice with that degree of focus may be a certain amount of creative innovation. Innovation, as Steve Jobs says in the above quote, is about connecting things. Einstein called this phenomenon “combinatory play.” The implication is disparate things, or elements which might not, on their surface, seem like they belong together or may inform one another. Synthesis yields creative breakthroughs.

If you ever feel your creativity is suffering, or that you’re “in a rut” when it comes to creating new ideas, you might ask yourself if your “informational diet” has become too narrow or too bland. Broadening your view– either by reading far and wide or taking on new outside hobbies–might be essential to rejuvenating your creative talents.

Create those connections and soon you’ll be seeing sparks.

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