Derek Sivers on creativity

Derek Sivers is a very interesting thinker, which is why I was not surprised when I heard this amazing insight on an episode of the Yo! podcast.

“I think creativity is overrated. I almost don’t believe in it. Because what’s obvious to you, is amazing to others. All right, like, other people’s creations always seem so impressive. They seem like genius. We think like, how did they do that? How did they come up with that? That’s brilliant. The thing is, those creators know the source of their inspiration. They know that they nicked a color from here, a shape from there, an idea from this and that. And they just mixed it together in some way that’s maybe unique, maybe not.

So to them, it’s not that impressive. If you don’t feel creative, welcome to the club. Nobody is. They’re just spitting out combinations of things they’ve taken in. And other people are the ones who call it creative. So my advice to people to unlock creativity is really just go put things out into the world. Like, any old things. Not impressive things, just anything. […] So just go copy things and other people will call it original and will call it creative.”

— Derek Sivers

This is a clear case of “truth staring you in the face”. When you actually know all the sources, all the combinations and edits, nothing feels creative. There’s no point in trying to be original. Because what is creative, or original, will never be obvious from the perspective of the creator. Only from the outside.