On Creativity: Seeing the Ordinary As Extraordinary




Fear of mistakes is the single greatest enemy of the creative spirit.

~ Dewitt Jones

The picture above was taken by Dewitt Jones and links to his website.  Mr. Jones spent much of his career as a photographer for National Geographic and now travels the world sharing his photography and message.  Back in June I attended a conference where Mr. Jones was one of the keynote speakers.  I was inspired by his presentation.  He encouraged us to “celebrate what’s right with the world” and instructed on creativity using the many images he captured in his travels.  If you are looking for a good keynote speaker, I highly recommend Dewitt Jones.

Mr. Jones purpose is to unleash our creativity.  Here is a brief selection from an article by Mr. Jones:

“Having spent my life in one creative endeavor after another, I’m convinced that we all have great creative potential within us. To begin to connect with it, we first have to define it. Let me offer a definition: creativity is the ability to see the ordinary as extraordinary.

Seeing the ordinary as extraordinary is something we’ve all done. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve looked at a landscape, a person, or an idea and for an instant, or a month, or the rest of our lives, felt its true uniqueness.

I don’t know about you, but to me those moments are like falling in love. Falling in love, I realize this isn’t a very business-like metaphor, but indulge me for a moment. Because maybe, at the base of it, that’s what creativity really is…  just falling in love with the world.

Think about it. First, when we’re in love with something, it really is extraordinary. We see its uniqueness, feel its potential, celebrate its excellence, are open to its growth. Second, when we’re in love with something we take care of it; we treat it with respect and compassion. Finally, when we’re in love with something we find ourselves in touch with a source of incredible energy…  we call it passion.

Passion, flexibility, care and service, celebration. Isn’t this the attitude you’d like to bring to your association every day? Well, it’s what you put in motion every time you fall in love with the world, every time you see the ordinary as extraordinary, every time you are… creative.

The essence of creativity then is not a technique but an attitude; an attitude of curiosity, openness, and celebration. ”

In the article he shares the following three principles to access the “creative state”:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  2. Believe there is more than one right answer
  3. Find a new perspective; a new focus

Read Mr. Jones’ full article on creativity here.  It’s worth the read.  

I received the following image from Mr. Jones yesterday (I subscribe to his website) along with the caption below:


“Today, it’s time to go for it. Nothing held back. Hell-bent for leather!”

As you start the new week, I encourage you to unleash your creativity.  Take a risk.  Try something new. Don’t do it the way it’s always been done.

Choose to be creative.  Choose greatness.



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