From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

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Have you ever pondered how people become creative?  Do you wonder whether the debate about nature vs nurture applies to creativity?

The University of Southern California conducted an experiment, designed to examine the connection between people’s honesty and their creativity.  And there is one.  I will not bore you with the details of the research, but the conclusion was that dishonesty is closely linked to creativity: people who are prone to cheating are also the more creative ones.  Not only that, the experiment showed that it is a question of sheer quantity: the more the cheating, the more creative people are!

After a number of tests, the researchers concluded that creativity and dishonesty require a flexible attitude to rules; cheats, according to the article, are less constrained to obey signs and rules which makes them more creative.

Now, if you wonder whether you need to become a thief or an embezzler to increase your creative strike, don’t worry, it won’t come to that.  The divergence from the rule of law does not need to be extreme (although this probably explains some of the prison stories and breakouts I’ve read about).  Simple things such as disobeying ‘no parking’ or ‘no cycling’ signs qualify as cheating in this context.

I personally think that the experiment makes sense.  If anything, I think this research benefits me: I tend to ignore rules that make no sense to me, and frequently bend rules that seem outplaced or outdated.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m generally law-abiding but when I see something that is out of my personal common sense, I will ignore it.  This includes, from time to time, ridiculous speed limits or ‘do not park’ signs if there is nowhere else to park.  But that’s as far as I’ll go.

So, next time you ignore a ‘stop’ sign, congratulate yourself on being creative and embrace your cheating side.  And if you get stopped by the police for the said offence, try to convince them that it’s your creative side that is talking.  I would like to see their reaction!

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