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Taking the Fool’s Journey to Develop Creativity

“What kind of fool would do these things?” Cynthia Morris

Don’t we need to be intelligent to be creative?

Psychologist Dean Keith Simonton, PhD thinks creativity in everyday life “is very closely related to intelligence because intelligence includes, as part of it, problem-solving abilities,” but “big C creativity” – which involve “generating new ideas, a poem, a patent, a short story, a journal article or whatever…involves a whole bunch of other characteristics besides intelligence.”

From my post More Intelligence, More Creative?

In her post The Fool’s Journey, Aliyah Marr declares a “beginner’s mind” is “the secret of all creative people…that only by knowing nothing of ‘what is’ can you ever get to the place where you can receive inspiration for something new.”

She adds that in the Middle Ages, “villagers called the local idiot, ‘a fool of God’ and they thought that the one who ‘knew’ less must be ‘connected’ more. An artist’s journey is to know less and less, while the artist’s mission is to experience more and more.”

Her statement about only knowing nothing of ‘what is’ is too extreme for me, but there is a real value in acknowledging that creative expression is more than an intellectual endeavor, and even that too much “knowing” can interfere.

There’s a famous Buddhist quote that relates to this: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.”

From my post Tripping ourselves up with blind spots.

In her post “Go Ahead – Take the Fool’s Journey,” writing and creativity coach Cynthia Morris encourages us to embrace our ‘foolish’ passions to create. Here are some excerpts:

Pecking away for hours in solitude, wandering the wide and wicked landscape of your own imagination.

Believing that the stories you create will be read by anyone else. And that those stories will move the reader to feel, think or do something differently.

Daring to ask, again and again, for someone to take your writing and publish it.

Risking your own neck and publishing the damn book yourself.

For no promise of fiscal or social reward at all.

What kind of fool would do these things?

Millions of us.

The nerds who are thrilled by finding just the right word. The dunderheads who love to tell a good story and who even thrive on the challenge of telling a great story.

The dreamers who are so smitten with story that they are willing to invest their time, energy and heart in something that may never go anywhere at all.

It’s not just writers. It’s artists, entrepreneurs and parents who take this fool’s journey of creativity.

Because to not heed the call to embark on the fool’s journey of creativity is to live the life of regret, sorrow and loss.

Go ahead. Be a fool. Dare to write that story, sing that song, have that baby. Build that business, go for it.

Visit her site Original Impulse to learn more about creativity coaching programs by Cynthia Morris, and read more of her post and others on her blog.

[Image: “Ship of Fools” by Hieronymous Bosch.]


Taking the Fool’s Journey to Develop Creativity

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2012). Taking the Fool’s Journey to Develop Creativity. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 4 Jun 2012
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