Irony: ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’

In “Everything All At Once” Bill Nye uses the proverb “Good fences make good neighbors” to bring out his point that sometimes people need privacy. He isn’t advocating for a wall. A “voluntary boundary” built to keep to oneself is different than a boundary built to keep others out. People need both to have a fence and have people in their lives. It’s one of the diametrically opposed character traits that all creatives have, according to Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi: they need to be alone and they need to be with people.

Continue reading

The Secrets to Creativity and Success

The steps to success and becoming more creative are the same because the essence of creativity breeds the success that humankind was made for. Before the first chapter of “Everything All at Once” and just after the table of contents, Bill Nye sums up his steps for successfully changing the world with a bullet point list.

The first point he makes is that “Everyone you’ll ever meet knows something you don’t.” Teams have brought the world several innovations from the Walt Disney Company to Steve Jobs’ Apple, it’s been the teamwork that made the dreamwork. Individuals can have singular breakthroughs, but it takes a group dedicated to the same goal to make something truly extraordinary. At the very least, learning what someone else knows allows you to make more connections with what you already know.

“Constraints provide opportunities.” Creativity shines when there are rules, regulations and constraints involved. Creativity, in everyday use, is about problem-solving. The constraints provide the way that creativity is to be used.

“Question before you believe.” Brainstorming is the essence of questioning before you believe. No idea should be criticized and no suggestion is too far out there. The beginning of coming up with creative solutions is eliminate inhibitions and beliefs about projects. The idea that seems the furthest out there may be the one that sparks the best solution.

“Change your mind when you need to.” Creative endeavors lead to mistakes. They lead to dead ends. Sometimes, they are implemented before all the facts are known. It’s important to be able to change direction when a better solution presents itself.

“Be optimistic; be responsible; be persistent.” Optimism is curvilinearly related to creativity. Responsibility to yourself to use your creative talent will allow you to improve your creativity. Persistence is the key to success and creativity. You have to be able to stick to your path even when others are saying it won’t work.

Creativity is a meta-skill. Like success, it doesn’t come from just one place or affect just one aspect of a person’s life. Being creative won’t guarantee that you’ll be successful in the way that the world sees it; Van Gogh died a pauper. It does, however, mean you’ll be successful in fulfilling your own potential and finding the destiny you choose rather than the one society and industry have planned for you.

Read more about creativity. Get “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.” Get “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Improve Your Creativity for a Better Life and World.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”