“We must use time creatively.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
There are countless lists and articles out there covering the essential characteristics of highly creative people out there, reading 5–10 of them will give people a pretty decent idea of the typical traits one might find in them.
The single best indicator for me however has been how they use humanity’s most precious resource: Time.
If you look at the sheer amount of time they actually spend on coming up with their solutions, concepts, and ideas it becomes clear that they do something most of us don’t.
It’s not always that they’re just genetically “gifted” or smarter than the rest of us. They’re just more willing to spend time on figuring it out.
Now, to get to that point they had to work through a lot of smaller projects to see what worked and what didn’t. Also, to understand why it did or didn’t.
I’d say that the amount of work coupled with the time they can spend on “the big stuff” is what separates the really creative people from the rest.
What we’ve been talking about is time in the sense of “chronos”, or sequential time.
There’s another form of time called “chairos”. This is a much harder form of time to perceive. It’s based on information and in some cases on intuition.
Chairos is also known as “the right time”.
We seldom know beforehand if what we’re working on is ever going to experience “the right time” during our lifetime.
Take examples like Tesla’s “smartphone” 100 years ago, or Leonardo da Vinci’s “helicopter”. They were ideas that wouldn’t be realized until after their death.
The technology and other things required to create them (at least safely) simply weren’t available. Yet, they had the experiences, concepts, and ideas.
Some people are either just lucky enough or skilled enough to recognize when it’s the chairos/right time to release their work into the world.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”, but we aren’t always lucky enough to stumble onto that opportunity.
Look, what I’m saying is that hard work is required to get to a certain level. That it can be accelerated by being born into circumstances where those traits are nurtured. But it also requires patience and timing.
I’m sure the heroes we look up to had their advantages and disadvantages, but I’m equally sure that somewhere in the archives of history we can find a “creative genius” whose ideas were ridiculed until the day when they were actually possible to create.
On a lighter note, is it just me or was the hook for Eminem’s “Phenomenal” inspired by the song below?
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!