“Square peg in a round hole.” That’s what people used to call it.
Even as a kid I knew it was a silly waste of time to put a square peg in a round hole. That was just plain common sense To make the peg fit, it wouldn’t be a square peg anymore. It would hurt the peg, and the hole wouldn’t like it.
What makes some people grow up to live highly creative lives? Is it in their genes — “the way the tree was bent”? Is a creative life determined by their experience?
Yet, what is astonishing is the great variety of paths that led to eminence. Csikszentmihalyi
Though the 91 creative people in the study that became the book, Creativity, had unique characteristics and traits that made them stand out. The life paths that led to their creative contribution were not particularly different from what you might find any group of 91 citizens.
- Some were precocious. Some were prodigies. Some didn’t seem to stand out as children.
- Some had serious hardship growing up. Some suffered the death of parents. Others had happy childhoods without incident.
- Some were ignored. Some had guides and teachers who helped their development. Some had devastating experiences with mentors.
- Some seemed to always know their calling. Some searched for years to find their path.
- Some were noticed early. Some struggled for years to gain recognition.
Those same circumstances describe the people I call my friends, none of whom yet have changed the world through Creativity with a capital C.
It seems that the men and women we studied were not shaped once and for all, either by their genes or by the events of early life. . . . Instead of being shaped by events, they shaped events to suit their purposes. . . .
According to this view, a creative life is still determined, but what determines it is a will moving across time — the fierce determination to succeed, to make sense of the world, to use whatever means to unravel some of the mysteries of the universe. Csikszentmihalyi
Fierce determination to succeed.
Success doesn’t happen without giving ourselves over fully to what we’re pursuing. It’s not the barriers that stop us, it’s the way we respond to them.
If we’re determined, we maneuver over, under, around, or through them. It doesn’t matter how difficult the problem we stick with it until we innovate, create, or cobble together a solution that solves it.
Determination removes options other than success: We refuse to define our outcomes as:
- the fault of our parents.
- an imperfection in our environment.
- the result of bad timing.
- bad luck or bad karma.
- something outside of us.
As determination to succeed is key to world-changing creativity, it seems to follow that determination and creativity are key to success.
How have determination and creativity contributed in your past success? What are you determined to accomplish now?
–ME “Liz” Strauss