A few months ago I wrote an opinion piece called There’s No Creation Without Collaboration that was pretty well received. I wrote that very few things of note have been created by “one man shows”. Working with others is something that many creative people struggle with because it requires surrendering your vision to others.
Today’s piece is a follow-up which reflects something I’m learning on my own creative journey- there’s no creation without persistence.
It’s noted that Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times before successfully creating a light bulb. When Illumination Pictures needed a theme song for the Minion movie they reached out to none other than Pharrell Williams. It’s said that at some point in the 200o’s he was responsible for 70% of the songs on the radio, whether as an artist or producer so coming up with a song for Minions should’ve been a piece of cake. The producers of Minions kept sending Pharrell back to the drawing board until he finally got it right. After coming to the end of himself creatively recalled the things that made him happy. He thought about church and the Gospel music he heard growing up and got inspired. That’s how Happy was born. What would’ve happened if Pharrell had decided to quit at any point through out the process. A song that has made the world happy would’ve never been written.
Creative people are always facing the temptation to quit, on their talents and on projects they believe in but aren’t gaining traction. If I can be honest, 2015 was the greatest year for SHIFTER Magazine. We covered major events and got to do some cool interviews. But in the midst of that there were many times when I wanted to quit; and I came close. Since then I’ve come to see how SHIFTER has changed lives and given the people on our team and some of our readers a sense of purpose. And if I can be even more honest, in the midst of our TV appearances and high profile interviews, I still face the temptation to pack it up.
Creating at a high level will require coupling your creative talents with tenacity and perseverance; a perseverance that only comes by being married to your vision and weathering the ups and downs. Some people don’t believe you should be that dedicated to your creations. And yes, there’s some value in external opinion; if people you love are telling you it’s time to pack it in there might be value in their opinion. But the world’s greatest creators like Edison and Jobs didn’t stop until they achieved their goal. I don’t know about you, but that the kind of creator I want to be.
Resolve today to couple your creative talent with persistence and tenacity. After all, that thing you’re creating can be just the thing that makes the world happy.