Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I wish I was that creative

Every year, when my fundraising team for the MS Bike Tour gets out on the road in our costumes, people say, "Oh cool. I wish I was that creative." We dress up as cows, or soldiers, we make up a theme and dress as the Adam West Batman characters. People say, "how did you ever come up with that?" or "I'd never think of that in a million years."

These statements always surprise me. You see, I'm not creative, either.

I just so happened to care about fundraising for MS. I participated in the bike tour and determined that it was too elitist, too competitive and too fashion-conscious for my liking. I determined that new fundraisers were getting turned off by a culture that they didn't fit in. I want new fundraisers. I want the tour to grow. I want more money for MS research. As the title suggests, these are "selfish matters." I decided that I cared enough to try and change it, and I'd do it by example.

So, deconstructing how we make our team costumes, here's how I get creative:
1) I get quite specific about what I want to change and how I might change it
2) I created space to reflect on what would work as a solution
3) I enlisted others to react and contribute to a kernel of an idea
4) We try it. We don't know if it will make sense to others, but we implement.

I guess what I'm saying is that creativity, for me, isn't some other-worldly headspace where stuff just pops in and "becomes." It's deliberate, it's methodical and it takes work. Typically, I think the "I wish" crowd just doesn't get deliberate enough to make it happen.

This is from the SAMBA blog:
After a concert, a woman gushed to Beethoven about how enthralled she was by his music. “Oh, sir, I wish I could play like you! It’s genius the music you create!”
Beethoven: “Well maam. If you want to practice 8 hours a day for 30 years, you could most certainly play that way also.”
She didn’t expect that. To Beethoven, his performance was not a one-off coincidence where talent met opportunity. To him, it was the culmination of effort and sweat put into his practice daily. The woman, only aware of the performance, didn’t give the process the respect it deserved. Honoring the process matters. It’s the thing that matters.

By the way, this year's theme is SuperHeros. It's going to rock.

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