Never Before: Two Perspectives On Creative Achievement
“Art is when a human being does something for the first time.” –Seth Godin
“The point is not to do something that’s never been done before, but something you’ve never done before.” –Liz Gilbert
These two quotes are both from people I highly respect and admire. I came across them in completely different places. But, together, I think they bring up a very important question.
In Seth Godin’s view, art and creation is that moment when something completely new happens for the first time ever. That thing had never been done or thought before in the history of the world.
While it may not be clear from the quote that that’s what he meant, he went on in his talk to describe it. He highlighted new inventions and concepts that transform the world and change how things are done.
Granted, those are amazing and important moments of creativity and inspiration.
But it also somehow makes creativity or art feel inaccessible. “How can I think of something brand new? Everything has been thought of already!”
It’s a tall order.
Those moments of genius that change the world are rare.
Or are they?
Meanwhile, Liz Gilbert has chosen to focus on the individual experience of creativity.
Just because something has been done before doesn’t diminish the fact that it is an act of courage and growth when you do it for the first time.
Plus, you are likely to do it differently than anyone else. You bring your own voice and experience and personality to it. No one has ever done it before quite like that!
Like Liz, I believe that creativity is for the masses. It is about the daily practice to show up and change and grow.
Then, again, maybe there is room for both. Even for you, and me!
We should certainly allow ourselves… no, challenge ourselves… to try new things, and grow and create throughout our lives.
In that process we will have an awful lot of thoughts!
Have you ever had the experience of second guessing your own new ideas? There is a voice that says, “Someone else probably already thought of that.”
And sometimes, it’s true.
It’s like when you are looking for a domain name for your website. Checking all the options to see if they are already taken. And then, eventually, you find one that’s available. Yes! Grab it!
In a lifetime of human existence and creativity, I would guess that we each have a true first-time-ever thought. Maybe even a couple.
It actually happens all the time in the world. They might not all be earth-shattering in their scope. But they qualify.
How about you? Which perspective resonates with you and why? Leave me a comment below.