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What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

Charlie Chaplin’s brand of creativity is stunning. His career began when he was only 14.  His career lasted for well over seven decades. He became beloved in American theaters for his portrayal of “The Little Tramp.” Chaplin was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1971. Of his award the Academy noted, “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”. He was given an unprecedented 12 minute standing ovation. Sir Charles “Charlie” Spencer Chaplin died of a stroke, at the age of 88 in his adopted home in Switzerland on December 25, 1977.

Laughter

A day without laughter is a day wasted. -Chaplin

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    Chaplin built his career around making people laugh. To him it was a serious business, indeed. Making boots out of a pair of loaves with forks for legs, is only a scratch on the surface. He made millions laugh with almost all of his work. My lesson learned is to not take myself so seriously.

    Carry On

    Nothing is permanent in this wicked world not even our troubles~Chaplin

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      Chaplin certainly had his fair share of difficulties. One such problem was in the 1940’s he was accused of impregnating Ms. Joan Barry. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI got involved accusing Chaplin of violating federal laws. The FBI involvement would later lead to banning Chaplin from the United States. My lesson learned is to keep going despite indifference, and even when I feel discouraged with my work.

      Stand Up For What You Believe In

      Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great brutish idiot that goes where prodded~Chaplin

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        The Great Dictator was a 1940’s film that mocked Hitler and his ‘glorious’ Third Reich. It was in this film that fans first heard Chaplin speak. While the movie was commercially successful, it garnered a great deal of negative attention.This was due largely to the fact that Chaplin used six minutes in the film to express his political views. My lesson learned is to be passionate about my work, despite criticism.

        Don’t Give Up

        Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind to indifference.~Chaplin

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          From his famous portrayal as the “Little Tramp” to his controversial political views; Chaplin’s entire career could be defined by the words to never give up. My lesson learned is to have the same dedication in my creative career.

          Work With What You’ve Got

          All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.~Chaplin

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            Chaplin

            managed to be hilarious in the simplest of ways. He could make millions laugh at almost any predicament, he as the tramp found himself in. The chase sequences are nothing short of brilliant and funny.  My lesson learned is to use the skills and talents I already have in my creative career.

            Tell Your Truth

            I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth.~Chaplin

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              Charlie Chaplin

              could be, if nothing else, brutally honest. His aim was to make money and that is exactly what he did with his art. However, no one can say or even intimate that Chaplin did not work hard for his fame and fortune. He continued to work on films up to the age of 87, about a year before his death. My lesson learned here is that, creativity can lead to money, but it doesn’t always.

              Know What You Want

              I don’t believe that the public knows what it wants; this is the conclusion that I have drawn from my career.~Chaplin

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                In being a creative mastermind, Chaplin did not so much live a charmed existence, in so much as he created the very world he wanted to inhabit. Charlie Chaplin did not only invite criticism about his work, but about his personal life as well. He was married four times and often to women who were half his age. A behavior that was scandalous to say the least especially in the budding of Hollywood, in the early twentieth century.  The lesson for me here is to consider what I want from my creative work.

                Know Your Passion

                What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.~Chaplin

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                  Of all the work that Chaplin did, perhaps his work with Jackie Coogan, in The Kid is one of his most memorable works. It combines drama and comedy into a spell-binding account between an orphaned child and Chaplin’s ‘Tramp‘. To me this  means to ‘do what you love’, to your fullest ability.

                  Give Your All

                  I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.~Chaplin

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                    In every performance, whether writer, director, producer, and/or the star of the show, Chaplin gave his all to his work. Simply nothing less would do. To me the lesson learned here is that creativity must be a part of who you are as a person.

                    Know Your Art

                    I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician~Chaplin

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                      If nothing else, arrogant perhaps, Charlie Chaplin knew his art very well. For 75 years, Chaplin gave his all to every aspect of the film-making business. To me this means to know my art as well as Sir Chaplin did his own.

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

                      Can I Be Creative?

                      The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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                      How Creativity Works

                      Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

                      What Really Is Creativity?

                      Creativity Needs an Intention

                      Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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                      Creativity Is a Skill

                      At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

                      Start Connecting the Dots

                      Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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