The Accidental Creative

By  Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

Another great book on creativity is written by Todd Henry, entitled, “The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice.”  In the book, the author starts with identifying the factors that kill our creativity.  He would call them the creative assassins.

Creative Assassin #1:  Lack of Simplicity

We don’t have that mentality of simplifying things.  We’ve been using the same routine with our work because we were told by our boss it’s done that way, when there is always a better and faster way and we are just lazy to think more about it or to try it out.  Or we are stuck with a project that has no clear objectives, thus we can’t come up with a more creative solution.

Creative Assassin #2: Fear

This fear comes from our peers.  When we have a great idea, and try to pursue it, we get scared because we might stand out from the group, and be lonely.  Or we don’t want to try out our ideas because we are afraid that we might not be able to sustain it and would just be mocked.

Creative Assassin #3:  Too Much Expectations

The author says, creativity requires a gradual accumulation of ideas. It needs a series of poor ideas to be accepted before great ideas can be found.  But often times we dismiss poor ideas instead of letting them develop in our mind because we think it’s a poor idea and doesn’t live up to our high expectation of getting that one big great idea.  We ought to remember that big things come from small things.  It’s the accumulation of small things that comprises a big thing.

Todd Henry says, we have to get rid first of those creative assassins in our thinking habit and once removed we can then embark on his creativity enhancing practices that has an acronym of F.R.E.S.H for Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, and Hours explained below.


Think of three problems you currently have in your life or in your workplace that you want to solve.  And while you do your usual day-to-day activities like reading the news, conversing with people, reading a book, etc. always relate the information you get from these activities to your three main problems and see how you can generate a relationship that could lead to a solution or solutions.


Expand your creative thinking by talking to people who have rich experiences in life.  The more people of these kind you talk to, the more ideas you can generate based on their life stories.


Creative thinking is energy intensive. Build daily rituals for sleep, exercise, and healthy eating to remain fully charged.  A healthy mind comes from a healthy body.  Our national hero Jose Rizal said exactly this same mantra: a healthy mind goes with a healthy body.


Carefully choose what you read and watch in your free time.  The author says, “If you want to regularly generate brilliant ideas, you must be purposeful about what you are putting into your head.”  If we are just watching too many movies, or worse read senseless showbiz gossip, we will not be able to generate creative ideas because it’s simply garbage in and garbage out.  Reading good books is a totally better alternative.


You need to allot time for all the previous practices that were mentioned.  You need to find time to regularly talk to experienced people, read interesting books, manage your energy, in your weekly calendar.  It’s better scheduling it weekly of course rather than daily because you just can’t do all of them (some of them can be done daily like taking care of your health) every single day.