How a moulded BMW can take you to Greatness (with examples).
My boyfriend drives an impressive BMW. The vehicle has a color of a moldy cement, is ancient, large, characterized by a low fuel consumption and high unreliability. It was swapped by a previous owner for a set of used summer tires. In other words: a bargain!
I started to call this wonder “The Dad’s Car” – and now it’s an official name of this automobile. Boyfriend’s got incredible patience for his limousine: he has already fixed almost everything in it. Well… repaired or patched. The boot can be opened (and stay opened) – but only with the use of a stick, the car’s computer works but not quite and the suspension was able to inflate itself and turn this automobile into a pocket monster truck.
Some time ago, The Dad’s Car’s ignition broke down. Undaunted boyfriend managed to start the engine (using magic and saliva) and drive to the workshop to look for the further solutions to the next problems. As a result, the ignition was not exactly repaired, but rather completely destroyed, so the ultimate solution was to start the engine with a screwdriver. My boyfriend, a designer and a General Creative Dynamo by profession, removed the handle of the screwdriver and stylized it as a key – to make it look less thievish. He did not fail to present me this impressive invention:
– Look! It works! I even wanted to mold some sort of an ornamental “head” for it – like those big, ancient keys to church gates had, but I do not have time. What do you think?
I think we’re worth each other …
BMW original key replacement
ass person disguised as a Visionaire
I’ve seen it so many times. All those fake Creative Directors declining the word “innovation” in countless ways; advertising agencies covered with the pink cotton candy of fluff and nonsense, long hours in the boardrooms when weak or stolen concepts were wrapped into colorful presentations used as a smokescreen for the client. Words, words, words, smoke and mirrors. Yes, I’ve seen it all and I’ve wept.
I see my profession as a privilege, probably one of the coolest jobs on Earth but also as a mission. Hence every time I witnessed such a nonsense I wanted to grab a responsible person and ask plenty of very uncomfortable questions. Seriously people, wearing cool clothes, drinking a Starbucks coffee, having a PlayStation, an iMac and couple of posters in the office won’t transform you into professional designers. Solving problems and delivering solutions (on time) that will awe the audience will. Strategists, thinkers, aesthetes and hard-workers – not clowns, hypocrites and babblers – that’s who we are. Or at least that’s who we, designers, are supposed to be.
The Spark and the Grind
We were taught to think about creative genius as a dichotomy: dreamers versus doers, creativity versus discipline, the spark versus the grind. But what if it’s the spark AND the grind? What if “genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration”? I would say that at least some fair percentage of perspiration and probably Erik Wahl, a visual artist, speaker, entrepreneur and author of The Spark and the Grind. Ignite the power of disciplined creativity would agree. He shows why we won’t get far if we rely on the spark without the grind, or the grind without the spark. What the world really needs are the creators who can roll up their sleeves and
kick some ass actually deliver valuable and beautiful concepts, artworks and solutions.
Wait, there’s more…
Have you heard about Caroline Paul? She is an American writer, journalist and one of the first women hired by the San Francisco Fire Department in 1988. She has written a couple of serious, fiction and non-fiction books. One of them is Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology. Caroline was recovering from a bad accident (she had been unsuccessfully flying a plane btw) and thought things couldn’t get worse. But then her beloved cat Tibia disappeared. To make a long story short the cat came back at some point. But fatter, happier and without any trace of guilt… so along with her partner, she used available technology to solve this furry mystery.
However, this post is not about vicious, ungrateful cats but rather about this wonderful woman that decided to mix spark with grind in her life. Nevertheless, the way to the success wasn’t smooth and easy. As a teenager, she tried to set The Guinness World Record in crawling. Asked about this peculiar idea by Debbie Millman, the host of famous Design Matters podcast, here is what she said:
DM: Crawling? Really? Why Crawling?!
CP: Well, that is because I had no other skills. I’m not a somebody who has a lot of so-called ‘natural skills’ but I do have doggedness. And this seemed like a perfect idea for me: pick something that is, sort of, basic, and do it harder, longer than anybody else…
Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology (illustration from the book).
Instead of summary
Being the hardest worker in the hamster wheel will feel short but creativeness (especially if it’s only a pose) without skills, high level of craftsmanship and this honest readiness to roll-up one’s sleeves and get hands dirty is useless as well. Apparently, the most reasonable approach, so willingly ignored by many, is to combine those two forces: The world needs people who enjoy swimming in ideas until they discover a great one. The world also needs doers who have a gift for activation, a.k.a. “getting s*** done.” But the most potent individual creators in any industry or environment have learned how to be both. They’ve learned how to spark their grind and they’ve learned how to grind their sparks. As a result, they not only make things happen, they make great things.
How does this approach work for the heroes of this post? Well, the Boyfriend’s got not only a car in a working order with an impressive key that makes everybody happy, but is also designing an interior of the custom build Mk1 Ford Escort for Gordon Murray (famous designer of Formula One race cars and the McLaren F1 road car).
custom build Mk1 Ford Escort for Gordon Murray
Wahl managed to create the 10,000 square-foot Mona Lisa in a desert near Los Angeles, was a TED speaker and featured speaker at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year event hosted by Ernst & Young, write a couple of books, paint a couple of expensive paintings and became a philanthropist.
Wahl’s “Steve Jobs” in Laguna Beach
Caroline Paul not only has written a couple of successful books, saved some lives, flew an experimental plane but also built a boat out of milk cartons (and tested it!)
As for your humble author of this article (with a vocabulary of a well-educated sailor)… she not only pushes pixels for the glory of the World’s first most powerful Augmented Sales & Servicing Platform, but she also has a husbandry of imaginary creatures and creates bugs after hours, but also writes those words every Sunday night for your entertainment.
Bugs after hours…