Creativity quotes – profound and witty words of wisdom on this very human value – have the power to inspire one to take action, make something new, strike out in a new direction, think originally, and just “be oneself.” Whether you make art, write, sing, dance, play an instrument, are an engineer, or just generally have to come up with new angles and fresh ideas, quotations about creativity can be inspirational. “The Muse,” as they used to call the urge to create, can be encouraged and elicited by reading what some of humanity’s greatest creators and thought leaders had to say on the subject. True, Picasso, Thomas Edison, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Anne Frank, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ayn Rand, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas More are long-dead, their words are extremely valuable in providing insight into how they thought, what their process was, and what inspired them.
Einstein was famous for not only being creative, but recording his thoughts for posterity. He noted that “the ideals that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty, and truth,” but I am sure the innovative and imaginative thinking were part and parcel of his extraordinary process. And stubbornness. Indeed, he also is famous for having said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Clearly, another leader and cultural icon was remarkably creative – Martin Luther King, Jr. So was one of his influences, Mohandas K. Gandhi. Both were influenced by Henry David Thoreau. It’s perhaps unusual to think of those activists as “creative,” but the quotations and writings they left behind clearly shows their thought process was unique, experimental, tentative – and they took risks in the real world. There is a distinct and beautiful kind of progressive quality to all four of these great minds – they were trying to do something different. As the cultural Titan Steve Jobs said, “Think different.”
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~ Maya Angelou
Values of the Wise has been collecting creativity quotes for thirteen years. Through far-ranging readings and insightful perceptions of the world, many incredible thinkers have been tapped for their wisdom about creating, inventing, improving, imagining, and growing. Their lives would be almost in vain if they didn’t paint and compose and build – leaving behind valuable products we can enjoy today. Georgia O’Keefe wrote: “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.” There is a magnanimity, an aliveness, and a sacredness to that thought, I think. Emily Dickson noted that: “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” These are what I consider to be profound and insightful creativity quotes, and I’m so glad we have them. Perhaps one of the most insightful, precocious, and good-hearted purveyors of the written word was a one-time author: Anne Frank. Thank God we have her diary. In it you will find this gem: “I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, for I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideals and my fantasies.” Thomas Schulman, the writer of the fantastic Dead Poet’s Society, also believes this: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Though museums are a critical aspect of sharing the culture’s (society’s) productions, values, and creations, libraries are a wonderful resource as well. In them you will find thousands upon thousands of creativity quotes that can be very useful. One author I think is particularly good at both understanding creativity from a theoretical perspective, actually creating, and communicating about her creation is Jan Phillips, author of The Art of Original Thinking. One of her most profound quotes – among many – is:
To create is to make something whole from the pieces of our lives, and in the process, to become more whole ourselves.
Below are some further considerations about ethics and moral decision-making in the form of quotations gathered from the superb Wisdom Archive, which you can search for free. And now, without further ado, ten inspiring and diverse creativity quotes:
The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible. ~ Bell Hooks
Wandering gives me a new set of eyes – or removes adulthood’s blinders from the ones I have. It is permission to see as well as to wander, to be an archaeologist of my own life. ~ Cathy Johnson
Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties. ~ Gail Sheehy
Your goal is to help your children learn to understand what they see, but also to become immersed in the grandeur of the natural world. Inspiration is a resource for creativity, and the grandeur of the natural world is one of the most inspiring things that they can experience. ~ Nancy C. Andreasen
An artist, if he is truly an artist, is only interested in one thing and that is to wake up the minds of men, to have mankind and womankind realize that there is something greater than what we see on the surface. ~ Marvin Gaye
In the creative state, a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experience and out of the mixture he makes his work of art. ~ E. M. Foster
I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.
Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world. Then artists come along and discover it the same way all over. ~ Eudora Welty
The human race had the wisdom to create science and art; why should it not be capable to create a world of justice, brotherliness, and peace? ~ Leon Blum
The trick is to combine your waking, rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams, because if you can do that, you can do anything. ~ Richard Linklater