Unfortunately, when we talk about creativity, about generating new ideas, and about solving difficult problems, most people become stiff and formal. You may think that creativity is an activity left to the erudite—the well-mannered professor, the dignified inventor in a lab coat, the rocket scientist (our hero). There is a strong tendency to become judgmental and critical, to get serious, and to not be creative at all.

This is what happens when you ask people to get creative. Think about all the boring stories that have been written about "How I spent my summer vacation."

What's wrong with this picture? It's that people constrain themselves, they look for answers that seem acceptable to whomever they are trying to please—they try to stay safely inside the box.

They are afraid to offend, to make a mistake, to appear irreverent or nonchalant, to look silly. And thus, you just can't be creative when someone tells you to be creative.

But, on the other hand, everyone knows how to BS. (It's a good word—as Henry Fonda told us in On Golden Pond.) BS is making stuff up, telling stories, trying to amuse, and is definitely irreverent. BS knows no decorum, no bound, no fear, and no respect. We all do it. BS is fun, BS is playful, BS is creativity without constraints.

Do rocket scientists BS? They sure do! They love to do it and they love to hear it. Why do they like sci-fi so much?

So is that all they do—just make it up as they go along? Is that all you need to know? Of course not—you should know better than that! There is a time for BS and a time for separating the good ideas from the bad. (We'll discuss this in Part II: Judge.)

You can't get away with BSing your way through with just any BS. It's got to be good BS. You've got to be able to sniff out the wheat from the chaff.

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