The Cookbook and The Lion - Creativity a NEW way

Article written by Norris (Bud) Martin Evans


Way back in the 1970’s, psychologists suggested a new way of feeling good about creating ideas.

Businesses wanted more innovation from their employees so psychologists established a simple “cookbook” for creative thinking. This “cookbook” turned out to be an idea --- a mental construct --- a mental image of your mind.

Two Parts...

This new mental image had two parts. One part would contain all rote memory (“rote” is defined as a fixed or mechanical way of doing something). This rote memory would be a collection of words, phrases, actions, symbols or thoughts that we use every day. The second part would consist of ...

Everything Else...

This would include all experiences --- remembered, forgotten or suppressed. This second part of memory would be the major contributor to all creative thought.

rote stew


People finally had a mental image that made sense. Instantly, the brain image changed from one of an amorphous cloud having no structure to a brain image having a strict geometric form --- two parts --- rote memory and everything else. For creative thinking, the plan was to slip out of the first part (rote memory) and slip into the second part to look for new ideas. Easy. Over the years our modern society would simplify this mental Image into a “box”, nothing else. This “box” would contain all rote memory.

The accepted mantra for creative thinking is to --- “think outside the box”.


Cool, but the very act of trying to “think out of the box” poses problems. As humans, our emotions are vulnerable and our mental images are susceptible to believable chaos. Try - NOT- to think of a CHOCOLATE ELEPHANT. Not easy, but we can overcome this image by dealing with the mind on its own terms, by using chaos and trickery. We can do the same when “thinking out of the box”. But we still have a problem --- the “box” is an inanimate object --- it’s static --- it doesn’t care what we do nor how we do it. To control our mental processes, we need control over the “box”. We need to “un-static“ the “box”. We need the “box” to react to our thoughts. The following is weird but follow on......

A Drastic Change

Think of the “box” as a “lion” (my favorite, but choose as you wish). Allow the “lion” to live in your head and react to your every move. The “lion”, like the “box”, retains all rote memory --- but the “lion” has a reach that is mobile --- it must react to your thoughts. So, what do we get by adding these extra mental gymnastics? We get a more intimate understanding how to counter the effects of rote memory and how to more easily make that ephemeral jump to creative awareness.

Here are a few ways to approach creative awareness --- using the “lion”. 

Side-Stepping. ... ( We cook “Rote Stew”! )

“Side-stepping” means giving the “lion” something else to do --- something easy and repetitive. The secret is to keep the “lion” occupied. My favorite example is driving on the highway. Here, your mind is at ease and doing two things at once --- driving and thinking (day-dreaming). Your mind is free to wonder, to access new ideas away from the routine of rote memory. How many times have you done this? This same thing may happen while walking, jogging or doing similar activities. Knowledge of the “lion” allows you to separate rote memory from creative memory. Keep the “lion” occupied --- that’s the key --- that’s cooking “Rote Stew”.

Working Fast

Seriously, this is fundamental but important. Really. The “lion” cannot keep up. The “lion” is overwhelmed. We might site several examples but there is one that I really like: Picasso and “Guernica” --- this is history --- 1937 --- Spain.

Picasso was asked to provide a large painting to cover the entire entry wall of the Spanish Pavilion for the Paris International Exhibition. Picasso accepted the commission in January but could not start his painterly work until months later. During this time, Picasso ingested the outward political hatred of the Franco regime and the Worlds’ “first-ever” war-time bombing of civilians in the small town of Guernica.

With this and the onset of the Spanish Civil War as a backdrop, Picasso started his 12 ft. x 26 ft. painting. It was May --- he finished in June --- one month.

You Can...

It’s hard to top this --- but --- if you have the extreme power of passion --- you can break that brain barrier between rote and creative memory. You will know this but only after the fact. Your energies are slow to develop but the finish is abrupt. You will see your arms move --- but not by conscious will.

“Super-natural” has nothing to do with this. It’s natural. Your mind works as nature intended. Decisions are not brought to the surface of your mind. If you feel this once --- you will not forget it --- you will be able to feel it again and again. This is a strong statement but you are invited to try. DESIRE IS KEY.

Other strategies and examples can be found in After a short animation of a “lion” (who would have guessed), there’s about 10 pages relating to the above. Your comments and-or experiences are appreciated --- we’re all in this together. Thank you. This is CREATIVITY --- a new way.

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