Creativity and Broken Eggs

This article demonstrates the value and power of thinking out of the box. It's one of many articles The Creativity Institute has reviewed and reprinted on nurturing and boosting creativity in children. In this historical example, you'll see how encouraging effective, yet unusual solutions, can have wonderful results, especially when applied to your child's creative development.

by Tony Papajohn

In 1420, the dignitaries of Florence held a competition.

They offered the enormous prize of 200 gold florins to the architect whose genius could span the unfinished dome of the Florence Cathedral.

This was a great challenge. Even the original builders of the cathedral in 1296 left writings hoping that God would offer a solution because they did not have one.

Filippo Brunelleschi was the answer to their prayers.

He proposed the radical idea of a dome supported by a brick vaulting system that balanced the opposing forces, but without the customary central supports.

The experts called him mad.

Brunelleschi sought to demonstrate his design with a challenge.

He could stand an egg upright on a flat surface. Could they?

All were unsuccessful.

Finally, Brunelleschi cracked the bottom of the egg and set it down.

It must have been a mess, but it stood upright and demonstrated his idea.

The experts protested, but Brunelleschi remarked that they could have done the same if they had understood his design.

Of course, they did not. They didn't understand creativity either.

They were too mentally confined by their concept of the possible. Figuratively and literally, the thought of solving the problem by breaking the egg never occurred to them.

One imagines their frustration trying to balance the round egg on the marble tabletop and their groans when Brunelleschi demonstrated the sloppy, but clever solution.

We all have eggs we never think of breaking.

These are the fixed states of mind that we accept without question as "the way things are." These states represent the boundaries of our thinking and, therefore, our life experience.

Refuse to be confined by the eggs others never think of breaking.

Geniuses break eggs.

Break your share.

That's why they make paper towels.

About The Author

Copyright 2004 by Tony Papajohn.

Tony writes and speaks on success. Subscribe to his free SuccessMotivator e-zine at http://www.successmotivator.com.
tony@successmotivator.com