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30 December 2015

Creativity Inc.

A close friend recently recommended a book to me, Creativity Inc., by Ed Catmull.   As you may know, Mr. Catmull is the co-founder (with Steve Jobs & John Lasseter) of Pixar.  Ever heard of it?  I read a few reviews and voila, thanks to Amazon Prime, it’ll be here in a couple of days.   The book appears to be (reserving judgment) more about business management than creativity per se.  All the same, doesn’t great success in business necessitate varying degrees of creativity?  The subtitle alone, “Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration”, prepares me mentally for creative success.  I’m confident Mr. Catmull’s reflections will be packed with nuggets that are bound to inspire those poised to receive.  Of course, it may be premature to blog about a book I have yet to read.  However, the excerpts, reviews and subtitle were enough to spark a fire.  For example, one review referred to Catmull’s intentional efforts to foster a fearless culture at Pixar.  I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “fear kills creativity”.  I think it safe to say, the fear of failure has, too many times, prevented a would-be locomotive of creative genius from ever leaving the station.  Sorry, this train has been delayed…again.   Ok, fine, fear kills creativity. However, I much prefer to ponder the opposite statement, “creativity…kills…fear”.  Argh!  Grunt!  Grunt!  Take that, you spineless, fearful spirit lurking within my soul!   Did you feel that with me, reader…that little victory in the realm of the unseen, the possibilities of the creative spirit?  Now stand up and do a little happy dance.  Oh yeah! Stir the pot! Oh sorry, you’re probably at a coffee shop. Ok…wait ‘till you get home.  While I am not yet recommending “Creativity Inc.” to my artistically creative counterparts out there, I am certainly recommending overcoming our fear, namely, the fear of failure.  Please note, however, overcoming our fear does not mean we will never fail.  It means we learn to see failure differently.  We must remove the stigma associated with failure.  Failure is not simply failure.  Failure is actually a part of success.   Google any of the inventors of the products we use daily, or take Michael Jordan, for instance, who said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.   Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  Wow!  Does that help make my point?  So grab that guitar, go to your piano, write that song, create that tour, or develop that performance that pushes the boundaries of your creativity.   Do not fear failure, or success for that matter (more on that in a later blog).  Just get that train a movin’.   Be bold, my friend! And remember, creativity kills fear.

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