My Creative Secret: The Old Book Of Facts!

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December 10, 2016

In all fairness, there are no creative secrets. Here in this series, I am sharing some of my working habits and techniques. Things which helps me get started and create better ideas.


When I get stuck for ideas I stop whatever I am doing. Because many times trying too hard itself becomes a barrier.

I take out an old book. It's a book that I bought from the roadside. A secondhand book titled 'It's A Fact!'

It is a compilation of over 1400 facts. It also has illustrations. Nothing very top end. Very basic.

I bought this hardcover book for just Rs 40 about 10 years back.

I start flipping through this book. I catch a fact here, and a fact there.


The Mona Lisa was first bought by Francis I. King of France, who used it to decorate his bathroom!

Now, I feel bad for the king who didn't understand the true value of a masterpiece like Mona Lisa. Or, there might be the real secret why Mona Lisa keeps smiling.

But you might feel bad for Leonardo Da Vinci, the most revered creative genius in the world. How would he react if he came to know that his masterpiece was hung in a king's bathroom?

Before you go on a sympathy tour for the great master, here is another fact for you. The book tells us, a X-Ray inspection reveals that Leonardo was not very  clear what he wanted to paint. And he painted 3 totally different versions of the same subject before he settling for the portrait that exists today.

To my mind stuck for ideas, it is a great news. Even Leonardo didn't know what he exactly wanted to do!

Another fact catches my eye:

The Zebra has white stripes on a black base and not otherwise!

That's really a mind-bender. All these years I thought the zebra is white with black stripes.
Even now, with the picture so close, I can't make up my mind. 

But then, some real stuff is even more bizarre than nature. The book told me, a man named Harold Parkhurst shaved himself and lit a cigarette in mid-air before opening his parachute!

"What? Come again!" That's how I reacted when I read that bit of information. I couldn't believe it. But then a news story from Popular Science magazine of those times confirms it.

That's pushing the limits too much, and without any rhyme or reason. But who are we to judge? 

If we can show the same courage in our creative endeavors and can push the limits it will sure help us.

As I keep on reading these facts, sometimes I smile, sometimes I am shocked, and some facts are so unbelievable I need to go to my old friend Google and confirm it. In the process, my creative wheels begin to roll. I take a fact and start writing about it. And before I know I am already on my way to create fresh ideas.

About the author 

Puneet Bhatnagar

Puneet Bhatnagar, popularly known as Creative Punito--is a business innovator. An expert on SME business growth. He is a well-known creativity and innovation trainer, author, columnist and storyteller.

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