Monday, June 29, 2009

Twisted thoughts on a Monday morning

Walking a crooked mile

The past several days have been pretty rough on 50-year-old guys. First Michael Jackson, then Billy Mays came to a sudden stop. Maybe I would not have thought much about it had I not been a 50-year-old guy myself. But I am and I did.

What I have been thinking about is how fine a line exists between creative genius and insanity. The very thing that causes creatives to think differently from everyone else causes them to think differently than everyone else. Those who are comfortable thinking the same as everyone else generally labels that type of thinking as “weird.”

Would Michael or Billy have made the same kind of impact in their lines of work if they thought and behaved like everyone else? I doubt it.

The same-thinking crowd recognizes that creativity is valuable. That’s why they make reference to it frequently in conferences, staff meetings and on job descriptions. The truth is, if they were to experience the full force of a truly creative person, it would scare them to death. Real “thinking outside the box” changes the box forever, and very few people are comfortable with that prospect.

Instead, most organizations practice a sort of “safe creativity” – push the envelope, but not too far, the result of which is still homogenized with everything else that organization ever did; a unique shade of beige perhaps, but beige nonetheless.

I’ve never been happy with beige. I like bold strokes of color. Extreme contrasts. Paths that take unusual turns. Stuff that 90 percent of everyone else would never have thought of doing, or if they had thought of doing it, not doing it for fear of being labeled “weird.” I guess that makes me weird.

OK, I’ll take it.

Photograph © 2008 James Jordan; licensed by Getty Images.


Erik said...

Weird is good. Here's to pushing the envelope!

Laurie said...

This is an awesome image. Really thought provoking post too.

I think MJ's death was the sad and strange end to a sad a strange life. I will reserve judgment on all the accusations made over the years...I have mixed feelings about all of it. I will say that he was a great talent.

Billy Mays seemed the picture of health and was certainly an exuberant pitch person.

It has been a strange week. I am not quite 50 got a few years to go but my husband is on the other side of 50 and I know these two untimely deaths were not lost on him either.

Calm Energy said...

One of the best posts I've read on last week's news.
Great writing... wonderfully expressed insights!