Tag Archives: Creativity

Courage to Create

There are so many things one wants to tell young people. The well of advice from us older folks overflows and sometimes floods uncontrollably through and past the minds of our advice-targeted youth. I believe in the power of youth. I believe we can help them achieve great things if we have the discipline to allow them to grow into their potential.

I ran across this quote from Teddy Roosevelt this week in the Brain Pickings post, Theodore Roosevelt on the Cowardice of Cynicism and the Courage to Create Rather Than Criticize. 

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twister pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat…

The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder.

This piece from President Roosevelt’s 1910 speech is timeless. It’s an important piece for both the young and the old. We need to strive to be the best we can be. We need to strive for greatness instead of limiting achievement with the ceiling of cynicism and status quo.

There is no glory in being the best by trouncing on heads of others.

TR may have said it best, “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.”

Stand out by standing up. Be a positive force. Dare to be great and then go be great!

Hard work is the magic.

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The Creative Process in Action: Moby on NPR

Rest Day Read (SR-24)
The Creative Process
Moby: One Song, Two Days, Three Versions
from NPR’s Project Song by Bob Boilen
“I kicked off the songwriting process by showing them a series of photographs and words…Moby and Scarr are both drawn to an image of a man in the woods wearing a trenchcoat. There is a brown suitcase on the earthen floor beside him, and his head looks like a glowing storm cloud.
Next, I gave them a series of words to chose from. Moby picks the word “flight”. Scarr chooses “Sunday”, which Moby calls “the most depressing day of the week”.
Not long after, Moby puts the card with the word “Sunday” printed on it, along with the photograph, on a nearby chair. He picks up the bass guitar and immediately starts playing a riff in the key of E. Turns out, this hastily played baseline would become the bedrock for their new song.
Just six hours later, the first of three versions of “Gone to Sleep” was recorded.”

The creative process has always intrigued me. Creativity is vital to excellence. Creativity separates, it is the cream which rises to the top. I have always been interested in what makes greatness, in particular, Malcolm Gladwells writings on the subject. The great trainers I follow, Crossfit, Gym Jones, Dan John, Mike Rutherford, Coach Rod Cole, CrossFit Kids, Marty Gallagher, Mark Rippetoe and Dr. Lon Kilgore, just to name a few, are all very creative in their expertise and approach to their craft. The great football coaches I idolized, Hank Stram, Vince Lombardi, Mike Ditka, Bill Belchick, Mary Schottenheimer, Urban Meyer, Bill Snyder all use their creativity to innovate and dominate the sport. The beauty of what they all do is truly an art form.
This article, audio file and video of Moby creating a song from a photo and word on the NPR program Project Song shows the creative process at its best. Moby is completely in the zone, absolutely, completely focused on his purpose, as he and partner Kelli Scarr attack the creation of the piece. It is pretty cool stuff. Listen, watch, learn and enjoy.
Makes one wonder just what exactly it is in the small percentage of differences in the genetic code between Homo sapiens, that allows for such variety and creativity in our species.

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