On The Path Of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
How To Think Creatively
I AM constrained to write about creativity because of the pervasive lack of creativity exhibited by my countrymen in every sphere of life in this twenty first century.
As I have often told my interlocutors, my standards of excellence are the Nobel prizes followed by the King Faisal International prizes. In Nigeria, we have one Nobel prizewinner of 167 million people. In Germany with 82 million people, they have had more than 100 Nobel laureates since the prizes began in 1901. That makes for about one Nobel prize for one million people. For schools, the London School of Economics has the highest number of winners per school. LSE has 16 winners as at the last count in October 2011.
In Africa, South Africa has beaten us with four winners, three of which are for Peace. Like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Egypt have one each. Africans have got the two cheapest prizes-literature and peace. We have not gotten in other four categories for lack of creativity. Nigerian academics were so steeped in ignorance and corruption that a professor of economics was assuring the late President Umar Yar’Adua that the meltdown ravaging Europe and North America in 2008 would not reach Nigeria.
This is why we need to embrace thinking creativily. Have you ever read of the enthusiastic people of America who repeatedly unearth concepts, the ipad, the Internet and the computer seemingly effortlessly, without being bothered by frustration? These creative folks probably learned at an early age to be afraid to fail or to experiment. But they overcame this outdated fear. They developed ways to let their minds incubate the issues while they outwardly took care of demanding businesses.
Creativity enhancement yields practical breakthroughs. Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature but in conflict with our assumptions about it. That is why I urge you to open your mind to the infinite possibilities. My doctor told me there are many types of sickness but only one kind of good health. The same is true of creativity. It is an acquired skill, learned by trial and error, often oblivious of the process and the gradual enlightenment that accompanies it. However, the mystics warn of the significance of believing in our innate creativeness. Skepticism puts out the fire of creativity. So loosen up. Your intuition will tell your brain where to look next if you just let it work with confidence. Believe you can become more creative and you will. Knowing where you are going helps you get there. Present mindedness and its resulting creativeness appear when mind chatter dampens, when you escape guilt of the past and the anxiety for the future.
Here are nine steps to creativity. One, accept the existence of the unconscious that incubates all of your previous experience, rearranging facts for creative benefit. Two, with the goal of having fun, create a life plan to enrich your subconscious. Trust answers to come through your intuition. Trigger the unconscious by visualizing the desired outcome. Three, create a sage or guardian angel and surrender your mind to it. Ask to be led to the correct experiences so as to achieve your life’s purpose. For my guardian angel, I chose Winston Spencer Churchill. Believing life is eternal, I know Churchill is still alive as an angel in heaven, and as a journalist, historian and statesman, he would understand my literary mind and help to nourish it.
Four: Write a life’s purpose for yourself and prioritise around what is important. Five, make a game of saving time. Your most valuable resource, your creative process deserves constant attention. Six, become a fanatic about presentmindedness, always attending to the work at hand. Put appointments on your calendar such that you only think of distractions later. Seven, leave no stress unattended. Eliminate the situation with humour. Eight, to advance your interests in life, stay ordinary, don’t hanker after the worldliness of the mundane. Nine: Stamp out all judgemental behaviour and thoughts. They are a hinderance to the creative process. A lower mind cannot comprehend higher truths. You achieve creative excellence by writing your own epitaph – what you want on your tombstone. Write what you like folks to say about you at your funeral. Then strive to fulfil that goal. We mistakenly think we must be popular, rich, important and wise. The mystics say we need only strive to be decent and either loving fame or riches will follow.
Both wealth and fame cannot occupy your Karma simultaneously. You can only gain one. You are more likely to achieve your Karma when you unpretentiously seek a higher level of creativity. Most importantly, to be creatively transformed, your subconscious must know your life’s purpose, so you can be led into the correct experience, so you can ask and receive your heart’s desires. When you grasp the magic, beware for in the Nigerian republic of mediocrity genius is stifled.
Our champion for today is John Nash, the American mathematician who won the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics for his landmark work, first begun in the 1950s on the games theory. He shared the Nobel prize with Hungarian American economist John Harsanyi and the German mathematician Reinhard Selten. Born in West Virginia, USA in 1928, Nash received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mellon University. Two years later at age 22 he obtained his doctorate from Princeton, publishing his influential thesis: Non-cooperative Games. Appointed professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951 but he later resigned after bouts of mental illness. He later returned to Princeton. Nash established the principles of game theory which examines the rivalries among competitors. Known as the Nash solution, his theory explained the dynamics of threat and action among competitors. The Nash solution is still widely applied by business strategists today.
For John Harsanyi, the economist who shared the 1994 Nobel prize with Nash, he died in 2000 at the age of 80.
Harsanyi helped Nash develop the games theory. He formulated the appropriate choices and behaviour for the competitors involved. After receiving his doctorate from Budapest in 1947, he went on to gain his MA from the Australian National University in 1953 and then immigrated to the United States where he attended Stanford University (PhD 1959(. From 1964 to 1990 he was professor of economics at the School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley. Harsanyi was an ethics scholar who investigated appropriate behaviour and correct social choices among games competitors. In the case of Reinhard Selten, the German co-recipient of the 1994 Nobel prize for economics, he was born in 1930 in Poland, studied mathematics at the University of Frankfurt graduating in 1957. The son of a bookseller, Selten got interested in the games theory in the 1960s and in 1965 proposed theories that distinguished reasonable decisions in games competition. He later taught at the Free University of Berlin and at the University of Bonn.