This is a very apt creativity quote. It expresses the agony of creative thinkers. Writers, artists, inventors.
In the beginning of creative process, there is nothing but a little hope. I call it, darkness with a potential. The creative person focuses on a potential idea. She can sense it in her being, but there is no form to it. And she doesn't know how much time will it take to form.
This is not the darkness of nothingness. It is darkness around a seed. No ray of light reaches it. But it can sense the warmth of the sun. And it fetches nourishment from the dark soil around it.
In the same way, a creative person keep the hope going. She can feel the seed germinating inside, though people doesn't see anything.
The true test of a creative person is to keep working, to do her research, to doodle things on a paper, to keep faith in the creative process.
That's the real difference between successful creative people and those who quit. If you can wait, creative flowers will bloom. And the whole world will see it:
The young manager read every single word again-
"There is nothing more difficult
for a truly creative painter
than to paint a rose,
because before he can do so
he has first to forget
all the roses that were ever painted".
The young man didn't say a word. He knew when the guru stops blinking, he should keep mum. This is the moment to listen. Just listen.
Guru continued, "When common people are faced with a problem, or an opportunity, the first thing they do is go and see what others have done? What worked for other people in these circumstances? And they get into a trap! They start labeling things, one thing becomes type A and the other one type B. It's difficult to create something new with all those impressions cluttering your mind".
The young manager remembered so many instances where he did the same thing. In fact his boss tells him to go and find out case studies and examples of the similar nature. And it helped.
He couldn't help asking, "What about the industry bench-marks? Success stories? Should we not learn from them?"
Guru smiled. "Bench marks! Who created them? The geniuses who went before you. Those who took risks, failed, and then made corrections to get the results. What they learnt and shared are industry bench marks. It's already done. If you want to create something new, listen to Matisse! Look to the situations with fresh eyes! You will observe new things which others might have not seen. You will look at it, not with other people's filters but your own point of view.
If you want to follow others those benchmarks will surely help you. But not if you want to create a breakthrough. It will get you the most effective imitator award, but never the glory of innovation!"
The young man understood the deeper inference. But something was still niggling inside, "I understand, but..."
Guru gestured him to go on.
"Why you said almost? What Mr Mattisse missed?"
Guru guffawed, "My dear son! Bloody guy didn't tell you how to forget all those roses!"
And then he added, "That's why you are here!"
Puneet Bhatnagar is a columnist and author.
He is Creativity and Innovation trainer at www.creacos.com
and co-founder at Creativity Mission India.