Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” ~Proverbial saying
I was watching a TED talk the other night about how frustration actually increases our creativity – even though we might not like it. It made me think about how many times I’ve used the expression, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” It means the same thing, doesn’t it?
In this TED talk, Tim Harford told the story of Germany’s youngest concert promoter that had booked Keith Jarrett to play at the Cologne (Koln) Opera House. A couple of hours before the concert, she introduced Mr. Jarrett to the instrument he was to play. He walked around it, played a few notes, then stepped back and said he would not play the concert unless another piano was secured. He said the piano had worn out felt on the upper registers, and that it was too small to produce the volume needed to fill the hall – basically, it was unsuitable! He then turned and left and went and sat in his car.
Even after a great deal of effort, the young agent was unable to get a different piano. She went out in the pouring rain and stood at Mr. Jarrett’s car window and pleaded with him to not cancel the concert. He looked at her and took pity on this young agent.
He decided to play as scheduled.
The concert hall was filled with over 1400 people. As Keith Jarrett sat down to play, he, being the amazing virtuoso that he was, avoided the upper registers of the piano. He improvised by playing amazing rifts in the lower registers. He stood as he played in order to try to produce enough sound to reach the edges of the hall. He created music that the likes of which were never before (or since) heard.
The recording of this concert went on to become the best-selling piano album and best-selling solo jazz album in history!
Keith Jarrett, because of (rather than in spite of) his difficult situation, created something new – something amazing!
We get frustrated because we don’t know how to do something or because we feel stuck or because things aren’t the way we want them to be. We want to already know what to do, but we don’t. To get away from that feeling, we have to go THROUGH it. We can’t rely on our habitual way of doing or seeing, so we have to engage our creative efforts. We have to get out of the proverbial box and risk moving outside of our comfort zone.
Research proves that we actually have more ability to create solutions when we are a bit frustrated. It also says that even though we are more likely to solve the problem we won’t like the experience.
We all want to feel creative and be able to come up with solutions to difficult situations, but we don’t want to be uncomfortable while we do it. But, like it or not, we all need a bit of friction to give us the traction to move into a new vision.
So, what if we decided to not give discomfort such a bad rap? What if we began to see our frustrating situations as the fuel we need to do something different?
Many of us will be coming up against some frustrating situations over the holidays. Let’s try this new perspective…we don’t have to like it, we just have to use it as skillfully as possible, realizing we might just have a masterpiece on our hands.
Wishing you and yours a very creative holiday,
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