Why creativity isn’t hard work but a sport!

We tend to buy into oft-cited quotes about creativity like that of Thomas Edison, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” But why would we still believe in a statement that belongs to the early last century? Just as innovators reframe problems and come up with new insights, I’d like to reframe the creative process itself as a sport. In this article, I would like to explain why creativity is a sport.

Robert_GerlachBy Robert Gerlach, Creativity Educator, Author & Keynote Speaker

Creativity isn’t hard work

Edison’s statement seems to indicate that finding the right solution to a problem and realizing it is hard work. And yes, creating can be interpreted as having to perspire gallons of sweat and sacrifice yourself. However, it all depends on how we perceive the creative process.

We could think of running a marathon as hard work as well. But if you asked a marathon runner to describe what it feels like to run the 42 kilometers, the athlete would be unlikely to come up with the equation: “A marathon is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent crossing-the-finish-line.” We’d more than likely hear statements like: “When you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever!”, as stated by Dick Beardsley, two-time Grandmas Marathon Champion.

Creativity is a sport

Peak performance in work and sports equally requires gallons of sweat. However, work is associated with duty, discipline, and compulsion, while sports are linked with passion, drive, and enthusiasm. Creatives and athletes glow when they talk about their professions. They both feel  A-W-E-S-O-M-E  after a “workout.” While runners experience Runner’s High, creatives experience Innovator’s High.

The goal of the sport of ideas

The goal of the sport of ideas is to score ideas that are novel and useful which, in a time where markets emerge and collapse overnight and globalization is increasing competition, is crucial for mind workers. My goal is to encourage you to learn the sport of ideas, which can be as exciting as running, mountain biking, football, climbing, surfing or whatever sport you prefer. The analogy between sports and goal-oriented creativity can be applied on various levels. A small problem is like a sprint while inventing a new product can be compared to a marathon. On an emotional level, the frustration and euphoria athletes experience in a game is similar to the ups and downs innovators experience during the creative process.

What you can do with the sport of ideas

Every child is resourceful – at least until they start school. Schools tend to put the emphasis on students giving the right answers, rather than finding unconventional solutions. Schools promote uniformity and accuracy. However, while solving problems correctly later in life is certainly important when you are doing your taxes, having well-trained creative skills will enable you to find more deductions. IQudo’s creative skills training helps you not only to get in touch with the spark of your inner child but also to: 

  • perceive problem-solving as a sport
  • deal with uncertainty and find great ideas under extremely high pressure (instead of settling for a foul compromise)
  • transform dark feelings into bright insights
  • personalize your world through your resourcefulness
  • understand the chaotic creative process
  • discover the effect of food on your creative power
  • discover the effect of exercise on your resourcefulness
  • stay mentally flexible
  • release endorphins as athletes do and feel Innovator’s High!

The sport of ideas is one of the most exciting, rewarding and meaningful experiences in life.


Creativity — like any other sport — is a natural, all-organic source of self-efficacy and joy. It’s more beneficial for your self-esteem than going shopping or watching a game from the stands. A light bulb moment leaves you with a sense of fulfillment and exhilaration. Reaching Innovator’s High is like fireworks exploding inside you. Just as with any other sport, you’ll get better the more you train. That’s why I call this sport IQudo.
IQudo = IQ + you do!


If you would like to dig deeper into the IQudo Creative Skills Training email Robert at r{dot}gerlach{at}IQudo{dot}com

If you would like to dig deeper into creative thinking, have a look at Innovator’s High. This how-to guide helps you to build your creative muscle, foster an inspiring culture, and tap into idea euphoria.


Get Innovator’s High at Amazon.com // Amazon.de

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