Creativity Pays More, General Knowledge Makes You Poor.
“Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge” – Albert Einstein
**This blog was written by the founder of DJ Connection Tulsa Wedding DJ Service, the U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year, the President / Founder of the Bridal Association, Author and Tulsa Motivational Speaker – Clay Clark
Over the years I’ve invested countless hours to the researching and studying of successful entrepreneurs and business people. I’ve read their autobiographies, I’ve attended their seminars, I’ve watched their interviews, I’ve bought their audio books and whenever possible I’ve personally sat down with them to figure out how their brains work, what philosophies they live by and what action steps got them from point A to point B. Regardless of what industry they were in, how old they were, what race they were or what gender they were, all of the successful people I’ve studied have been “creative.” Now I’ve yet to read about a successful entrepreneur who devoted the majority of his or her days to doing finger paintings and writing haikus about nature, yet they have all been “creative.” So what do I mean by creative?
When I say creative I simply mean that these people are quasi-dilusional optimists who set big goals for themselves and their organizations. These people are “big dreamers.” They are the people crazy enough to dream about building the “world’s tallest towers.” These are the nutjobs like Steve Jobs who are dilirious enough to believe that they could actually invent a phone that everyone in the world would want. These are the kind of lunatics like Walt Disney that believe they could turn swampland in Florida into an amusement park themed around a little Mouse and his animal friends.These are the real super freaks like Henry Ford who could go through bankruptcy 5 times without considering himself to be failure. These wackos like Thomas Edison spend years of their lives making 10,000 + failed prototypes of the light-bulb before finally inventing one that actually works.
When you stop and think about it, success requires a certain delusional optimism that is so rare it defies reason. When we meet people with this level of creativity it can be unsettling to most of us. When we meet someone who sincerely doesn’t care about the opinions of those around them because they are too busy changing the world it is often hard for us to understand. Once the world has begun to understand their genius and to intellectually process their ingenuity in an academic way, people like this have already moved onto their next big project. Bill Gates was never Microsoft Certified and he never graduated college because he was too busy starting Microsoft. P.Diddy (Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, whatever you want to call him) never finished college with a degree in music production because he was too busy learning to produce music and starting his company. Steve Jobs never graduated with a computer science degree, because he was too busy starting Apple Computers in his parent’s garage with Steve Wozniak. To build truly unbelievable amounts of wealth you must transform your thinking. To become successful you must become a “Guru of Creativity” starting now.
Now I realize that if you have never used the creative portions of your brain before and if you have always labeled yourself as being “not creative” this might sound a little daunting. If you have always considered yourself to be “creative” this idea of becoming a “Guru of Creativity” this might not seem as tough, but either way over the next few pages I am going to give you 4 tips to becoming a “Guru of Creativity” that you can use time and time again. Prepare to have your brain expanded.
Tip #1 – It’s better to be a pirate than a pioneer. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the mouse he just improved upon it. Bill Gates didn’t invent the computer icons “Microsoft Windows” is famous for, he just improved upon it. My friend, the best and quickest way to get from A to B often is to study someone, or something that has already generated some of the results you want to see and simply ask yourself how you can improve upon the concept.
Tip #2 – Combine two normal everyday things into one new creative concept. Phil Knight combined his love for Greek mythology with his love of running to develop the Nike Brand. Nike was the Goddess who personified victory. Farmers Insurance took a boring insurance company and combined it with a seemingly boring professor to create a memorable ad campaign that got America laughing and energized their brand. Outback Steakhouse combined an Australian themed marketing campaign with their steakhouse restaurant concept to develop an iconic brand people love. Axe bodycare products combined sexuality with every product they carry to create a product line the offends half of America and sells virally to the other half. Any time you are stumped for a good marketing idea for your business, write down the product of services your company renders. Then began writing down as many random people, places and things as you can possibly think of. Then BOOM! You will get a big idea.
Tip #3 – Anytime something irritates you write it down and once a month sit down and write out solutions or remedies for all of these situations. At one point some dude was leaving the house to go a big date. He looked in the mirror and realized, “Holy crap! I have new grey hairs everywhere!” This dude then came up with the idea of the crazy hair-coloring spray. You and I may laugh, but that dude is making millions.
Years ago I met the founder of Skyy Vodka. This guy sold that company for nearly $700 million dollars and he has invented nearly 100 different products and solutions to everyday problems during his lifetime. One night after drinking alot he got a headache. However, once he got a headache he didn’t move on to other things in his life. He kept asking the question, “why does alcohol cause me to get a headache?” Eventually his questions and his internet searches lead him to a university with an department devoted to the study of alcohol. After talking to their top people he discovered that alcohol caused headaches because of the congeners that remained in the alcohol after the distillation process. With little to no knowledge of the alcohol industry and the process of making alcohol he began challenging the very notion that it was acceptable for alcohol to cause a headache as a consequence for excessive drinking. He then went on a quest to make an alcohol that did not cause a headache. His solution was Skyy Vokda. The result of his creative solution put nearly $208 million dollars in his pocket when he sold a 50% stake of the company to Campari International in 2001.
At one point while living in Florida, Sara Blakely grew frustrated that she could not find any pantyhose that didn’t have seemed toes and that didn’t roll up the leg when she cut them. However she couldn’t just complain about the situation and move on like most of us so often do. She subsequently spent her entire life-time savings of $5,000 and began obsessing about how to solve this problem. Once she solved the problem she named her creation Spanx. She then tenaciously focused for 2 years developing this product, and the packaging until her cold-calling and sample mailing efforts landed her in 7 Neiman Marcus stores and on the Oprah Winfrey Network as Oprah’s “Favorite Thing of the Year.” Today she is billionaire. When you are irritated by something write it down. Once a month return to your irritation list and try to solve this problem. Who knows, what’s bothering you might be bothering millions of other people who might just become your loyal customers some day.
Tip #4 – Begin asking yourself, “what are reasons this will work?” Most people are naturally negative. Sarcasm, pessimism and negativity are so common in our culture today that we almost don’t recognize them as being negative. We have just come to accept these things as normal. Thus, we have created a world where we can all easily rattle off 50 reasons “why this won’t work” or “that won’t work.” But If you will begin asking yourself “why will this work?” you will find yourself experiencing an endless stream of creativity breakthroughs that have the potential to make you rich.
Early on in my DJ business career I was told by the powers at be and the organizers of the big Bridal Shows that our company could not buy a booth to the shows because they were already sold out. I basically began accepting this as the truth and I began viewing this as a life-long income limiter. In our industry a large percentage of brides-to-be attend these tradeshows to find the vendors they will choose for their wedding, so not being able to be in these shows was devastating.
I spent some time whining about it to my wife and complaining to everyone who would listen. Then one day I set up an appointment to meet with Lori Montag. Today Lori is the owner of Big Time Brandz which has sold over $60,000,000 of consumer retail products including the SlapWatch and Zany Bandz Products. However, at the time Lori was the owner of Montag Photography in Tulsa. As I told Lori my predicament she asked, “Why don’t we just start our own wedding show?” And then BOOM! Just like that the Tulsa Bridal Association was formed and the “big ideas” that started the Tulsa Bridal Association Wedding Show were given life. Sure it took a ton of work to produce the show, to produce the ads, the print pieces, the booth layouts, etc. Sure, it took a disturbingly large amount of time to sell all of the booths. But, it all would not have happened if Lori Montag would have not been bold enough to ask the question, “Why don’t we just start our own wedding show?”
My friend if you will use these 4 tips listed above in your own life and business career time and time again you will unlock your previously hidden creativity and you will be well on the road to riches. You can’t get rich by being negative. And you can’t become rich without creativity. Lose the negativity, develop your creativity and you will find your riches.