Maslow and Creative Endeavours

Abraham Maslow, the world-famous psychologist who came up with the “Hierarchy of needs”, which stated that man
primarily crave to fulfill his physical/physiological needs (Food, Thirst, Sleep, and Sex) first and
then move on to aspire for Psychological needs (Love, respect, and so on) and higher Self-actualization
needs like creativity, morality, and reaching one’s own potential, also talks about two important
types of creativity – The primary and secondary which are often ignored.

Most of us have an idea, sometimes a great one and sometimes we fall flat but still do have some sort
of inspiration to create something. This, he calls primary creativeness. The inspirational phase to
build/make might be a result of a peak-flow experience or simply a thunderbolt strike of thought in the shower.
the point is having a remarkable idea doesn’t mean we actually engage with it and develop it into a
worthwhile product or a creative object. Maslow notes that 80-90% of thinkers or artists are stuck in
primary creativeness and don’t actually venture into secondary creativeness where we put in the hard work
and grit to process the idea, build layers to it and finally make it happen.

Edison captures it perfectly when he says – “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Newton after
being hit by an apple and an idea about gravity still had to work very hard to develop a full-fledged theory.
A music director will have the tune but not the whole song to listen to unless he hits the instruments
and a singer to amplify that with an ear soothing voice. Hence the ideation phase is just half the job
the rest of the creation is often a long road of grinding and commitment.


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