Monday, July 29, 2013

Why the Leap of faith is a myth

Where do great ideas come from? Research indicates it never comes a golden bullet, an inspired leap of faith. Vera John-Steiner interviewed over 70 living creative geniuses. She also analyzed the notebooks of 50 dead ones (including Tolstoy, Einstein, etc.) to look at their work habits.

She even planned to title her book “The Leap” because it would be about those giant flashes of inspiration that led to breakthrough ideas.

But she was completely wrong.

Eureka! moments turned out to be a myth.

There was no inspiration moment where a fully formed answer arrived.

Strokes of genius happened over time.

A great idea comes into the world by drips and drabs, false starts, and rough sketches. (From here)

Instead, creative inspiration involves writing down ideas as early as possible, keeping everything, giving things time and being willing to wrestle with ideas and search for clarity. And the refusal to expect that inspiration will deliver a finished product.

Perhaps the only golden bullet is buying a notebook/keeping a blog ie finding some place to store your work product.

Posted by steve at 10:10 AM

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for that Steve. Sometimes I think that “inspiration” is like the moments where “luck” determines the result of a sporting competition. Just like it takes a sportsperson weeks, months, years or a lifetime to get to the position where they can be close enough to have a chance, I believe the dreamers and athletes of the mind need to similarly prepare to capitalise on a moment of insight.

    Personally, I believe it’s not an either/or situation. While I would never pretend to be worthy of that list, my greatest insights come through both wrestling and the “aha” moment when it all makes sense. But the second is much more story-worthy in our eyes, it values the capacity of the individual rather than the effort and discipline they have put in. Perhaps it’s like the two ways Kirsteen Kim talks about the Holy Spirit’s presence in our community – while the Holy Spirit is always present, the Holy Spirit can also be experienced in special ways (or even as an absence). If we focus on one and not the other we are much diminished.

    Now time to do my morning reflection…

    Comment by David Ferguson — July 29, 2013 @ 10:44 am

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