Where do great creations come from?

Browsing through The War of Art for the umpteenth time, I came across this quote:

By Blake’s model, as I understand it, it’s as though the Fifth Symphony existed already in that higher sphere, before Beethoven sat down and played dah-dah-dah-DUM. The catch was this: The work existed only as potential - without a body, so to speak. It wasn’t music yet. You couldn’t play it. You couldn’t hear it.

It needed someone. It needed a corporeal being, a human, an artist to bring it into being on this material plane. So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear. Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears. But no one else heard her. Only Beethoven got it.

This reminded me of Matt’s post on SvN about Steve Jobs and Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, among many other things:

Dr Land was saying: “I could see what the Polaroid camera should be. It was just as real to me as if it was sitting in front of me before I had ever built one.”

And Steve said: “Yeah, that’s exactly the way I saw the Macintosh.” He said if I asked someone who had only used a personal calculator what a Macintosh should be like they couldn’t have told me. There was no way to do consumer research on it so I had to go and create it and then show it to people and say now what do you think?”

Both of them had this ability to not invent products, but discover products. Both of them said these products have always existed — it’s just that no one has ever seen them before. We were the ones who discovered them. The Polaroid camera always existed and the Macintosh always existed — it’s a matter of discovery. Steve had huge admiration for Dr. Land. He was fascinated by that trip.

This is exactly how a Fearless Entrepreneur thinks and operates.

We go discover things that already exist, and we make them real.

This is the secret to Apple that none of their competitors understand or have been able to copy. It’s something you can’t fake. Compare the iPod to the Zune. Compare the 11” MacBook Air to any Netbook on the market. Compare the iPhone to any other phone on the market. Compare the iPad to … wait, it basically still doesn’t have any competition.

All of Apple’s competitors hope they can analyze the market and think their way to beating Apple. But like my friend Harry Max drilled into my skull years ago: “Hope is not a strategy.”

Not in a million years that’s going to happen, playing the way they do.

It’s the difference between divine inspiration and trying to fake it with the oh so limited reach of human rational intelligence.

It’s like the difference between Yosemite and some poor man-made fake rocks in some non-descript amusement park in the mid-west.

It’s such a stark difference, I almost pity their competitors. They have no idea what they’re up against.

No other comparable CEO understands this and has the guts to actually follow through with this way of operating at a company the size of Apple and the other tech giants.

Rather than trying to make something happen, it’s more like stepping into the current of the river of life and letting yourself be the instrument through which things come to life.

I’ve had that experience several times in my life. I’m very much having that experience right now. It feels great.

It takes a great willingness to surrender to what wants to be expressed through you. Letting go of all the intense fear of what might happen. Our natural tendency seems to be to resist and resist and resist.

But when you finally let go of your resistance, it’s like riding the surf, in the best possible way.


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