“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs (Wired Magazine)
Sounds too simple to me – almost too good to be true. Not that I take everything Steve Jobs says as absolute truth. However, the man does understand something about creativity and simplicity. I’ve been an Apple fan since the Mac 128 (circa ’84). It’s hard to argue with his creative track record at the helm of Apple, then Pixar, then Apple again. Maybe he’s not the best leadership example, but he recognizes creative genius (and hires it or partners with it most of the time).
So what it is it that made it hard for me to wrap my thoughts around his statement? Why is it that sometimes it’s so easy to create while other times feel like a trek across the desert? I have been thinking a lot lately. You know, taking stock of my life. Measuring it against a simpler, less cluttered model I have been found wanting. Here’s my road to discovery:
Have I used up all my creativity?
Are my current assignments uninspiring?
Is it the pace I’m living?
Am I playing to my strengths most of the time?
Am I being pulled in several directions?
Do I spend my day constantly gear-shifting between left and right brain?
Longing for some AC now…
Do I have undisturbed, focused creative time?
DING DING DING DING. We have a winner!
I can’t speak for anybody but me, but the further I go down this list the more relevant the line of questioning. It’s not the pace because I’m always up for hard work when it’s in my strength zone. Not playing to my strengths most of the time is a symptom of being pulled in too many directions. Being pulled in several directions causes the gear-shifting between my brain hemispheres… EXHAUSTING.
So, for me, the issue is FOCUS. When I have undisturbed creative time all is well with the world, at least my world anyway. The more of it I have the stronger I am. Give me a lot of it and I’ll feel bullet-proof. Bring on the projects. Let me at ‘em. That’s when ideas are flowing with the creativity door wide open. If you want 100% of my creative side, regular blocks of undisturbed and uncluttered creative time is the recipe.
So, let me say concede that I think Steve Jobs is right about this one after all. And it’s true for me when my life and time are properly aligned. It’s not so much an oversimplified statement.
Especially when life is simple.