I was lucky enough to get to experience one day of Story Chicago. Unfortunately I had to miss out on the second day, but day one had a ton of quotes and one-liners about creativity, stories, and how to process being a creative person. Below are the quotes I found were worth typing out as fast as possible as the presenters said them.
Jonah Lehrer – writer, neuroscientist, Rhodes Scholar
What’s the weird, strange idea you want to tattoo on your hip?
It’s not a cliche if it’s true. It’s not a cliche if it helps you.
Before you create something that is lasting, you must first love what you do.
Love is the opposite of underwear. It is noticed.
We are all naturally ungrateful. None of us stay satisfied for long.
Love is just another name for “never gets old.”
Creating is not an external love. It comes from within us.
People are happiest when doing work they love.
If every failure made us quit, we’d never get good at anything.
If you love your work, your mistakes keep you interested.
The persistence of love is that we continue to confront our inefficiencies.
We never win. But we never give up.
When it comes to creativity, it helps to be over-confident and naive.
You write for yourself and if you’re lucky, someone else reads it.
We must teach people that life is not/will not be easy.
Every story becomes a love story.
Creativity is always painful. Talent just lets us get experience the pain faster.
If it weren’t for the mess ups, the artist would get bored.
Maybe we should start showing more of the rough drafts and ugly versions.
Why write things no one reads? So that we may contribute a verse.
We’re not here very long, and most of what we do will vanish.
We seek distractions because it’s easier than doing what we love.
When all you have is the rock and the hill – you learn that’s all you ever had in the first place.
Worry about the why. When you have a why, the how takes care of itself.
Malcolm London – poet, writer, activist
The richest man can’t purchase yesterday.
It’s never too late for your time.
It’s never too late to wake up for your wheel of fortune.
Matt Knisely – visual storyteller, creative director, author
Allow yourself to be captured by the moment instead of trying to capture the moment.
Are the photos we’re taking just taking up space?
The more I let my heart engage with a story, the closer I can get my lens. The closer I get my lens, the closer the audience can be.
Are we paying attention to moments or are we distracted and miss them?
What everyone else calls a curse can be a superpower.
There are sacred moments we pass every day that we don’t realize were important until years later.
Pay attention to the golden moments in your life because every moment is golden. Put down the phone/computer and be vulnerable to the moment.
Christopher Chapman – Disney Global Creativity an Innovation Director
We connect with human beings through stories.
The story is paramount. Don’t sacrifice anything that will keep you from telling the story.
Create a culture for people to create.
You don’t have to show everything for people to understand a story.
Understanding my motivation helps people understand my story.
Nothing can save a bad story.
Always ask why.
If there’s dimension and depth to a story, we can understand why someone does something.
Be the main character in your own story.
Get lost in the story. Suspend your belief.
People may not be able to articulate their notice of the details, but they feel them.
Surprise and delight people.
Connect people to the story.
Stories come from an authentic place. It cannot be faked.
Never let anyone tell you you’re not a storyteller.
There’s no right or wrong way to tell a story. It comes from the heart.
Stories can change the world.
Sarah Lewis* – author, curator and historian
There are blame worthy failures and praise worthy failures.
If success is an event, mastery is a journey.
Embace the near-win.
Reserve a space for wonder – to have fun.
Ask the crazy question. Consider the inconsiderable.
Move into an area where you aren’t an expert.
*Unfortunately I had to leave midway through Lewis’ talk so there were more great quotes I didn’t get.