Talk is cheap

I’ve been looking at creativity lately. Studying it. Working it. Trying to get a handle on it. And I’ve come to understand that there are millions of ideas out there. Yep, there are. First step is the idea. We all have them. Some are better than others. David Jones says, “Most ideas fail in practice, so everyone trying to be creative has to live with lots of failures. It doesn’t matter: you discard the ones that don’t work.” Yes, I said it. Deal with failure. How else do we learn? What is the old saying about Benjamin Franklin Thomas Edison and the light bulb? Something like he knew 2,000 ways how NOT to make a light bulb. He just needed to figure out 1 way to make it work. 2,000 ways. Get that, kids? That is a lot of failures for the implementation ideas, but not the inventor. Eventually he succeeded with his 1 workable idea. More on this in a moment.

What do you need next? If you haven’t figured it out by now, you might want to find something else to do. Yep, you guessed it: you need to work. The difference between those who do and those who don’t is work. At one time in my other professional life, I was introduced to a guy who’d written a definitive book on my (then) career. I had forgotten about him until I came upon his site last week when I was researching something else. He has completely done his own thing. And Scott Berkun is where I get the “you need to work it” thing. How much time have you invested in your ideas? After all, you want to do something with it, don’t you? Work up a sweat. Put your butt on a chair and get something done. Grab your easel and head out some place you’ve never been. Head back to the drawing board and doodle. Short answer, DO SOMETHING.

Need some more motivation? Back to Mr. Berkun again on How to be Creative – The Short Honest Truth. The difference between your hero (whomever it may be: Einstein, Mozart, Monet, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, etc.) is that they get to work and keep working it until they find the 1 idea that does work. (Told you I’d come back to it.) They had/have a passion for their idea that they translated into reality by working, sometimes long and hard for it. Don’t be afraid to work. Don’t be afraid to fail. Now do it.

Edit to fix factual error.  (Thanks, Scott!)

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2 Comments on “Talk is cheap”

  1. Scott Berkun says:

    Thanks for mentioning my work. The interesting thing is anyone who is famous for making things knows this lesson very well. But the fantasy that there is some way around the work is intensely popular and hard to disabuse people of. But if you go watch someone, a writer, a musician, whatever actually do their thing, you’ll see them putting in long hours every day.

    btw: Edison invented the modern light bulb, not Franklin.

  2. RobS says:

    The original quote was from Edison:
    “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

    And there is some dispute about who really invented the light bulb.

    In 1854 Heinrich Goebel may have been the first person to invent a light bulb. He tried selling it to Edison, who — seeing “little practical use” in the invention — refused the offer. But shortly after Goebel died Edison bought the patent from the heirs at a greatly reduced price. His company then worked on the design and idea to adapt it to his vision of distributed electricity.

    There were several others that also claim to have invented a working prototype around that time.


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