The Creative Breakthrough Just Around the Corner

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Thomas Alva Edison_Quote

28 May The Creative Breakthrough Just Around the Corner

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â��Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.â��

That�s a quote by Thomas Edison, maybe the most amazing achiever of our times.

Edison, the same badass who basically birthed the telecommunications industry from his Menlo Park lab, with a few off-the-wall ideas like, oh I don�t know, ELECTRIC POWER, and RECORDED MUSIC and MOTION PICTURES�not to mention a few other invention-y knick-knacks like the stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, and a battery for an electric car.

Badass though he may have been,that damn quote of his is positively bedeviling; a curse just as much as a constant source of inspiration. It takes a strong mind to run that gauntlet and somehow maintain the necessary confidence levels when success is slow to take shape.

If there was ever a recurring theme connecting the great creative minds of our time, it is the shared mantra of powering through the fog of doubt and uncertainty. Past the doubters warning you to turn back, beyond those head shakers and eyebrow furrowers casting not-so-subtle judgment on your grand plans for the future. The sheer recklessness of it!

For me, it is quotes like Edison�s above that give me the juice I need to power on, confident in my ability to gauge an opportunity when I see one, certain that the break I�ve known was coming lies just up around that blind corner there.

For the inspired, positive signs are everywhere: A good meeting here, a positive connection there. A commitment to help a little bit from one of your new friends or supporter. Maybe not quite as much as you hoped for but enough to see the potential. Enough to power forward.

But that�s Edison�s game. A cognizance that when the pain is greatest, it�s because you�ve likely already crossed most of the dry desert and, though you can�t quite see it yet, a cool drink lies just up ahead. That crystal clear sign that says yes, keep going forward, don�t turn back now? It�s right up ahead, just beyond that bend. You�re almost there. Don�t stop now.

But of course, most of us do turn back because we can�t quite see it or touch it. Doubt is debilitating that way. And trusting one�s instinct without proof of ROI has never been for the faint of heart. It�s lonely business; uncertain, scary, and yes, sometimes flat-out reckless. For those gifted with a sense of prudence, it may be too dangerous, or even downright dumb. Following your muse? Meh. That�s for fairy tales and motivational posters.

I get that. On some days I think that, too.

On those darker days, that same doubt can strike like a bolt of lightning, freezing your mind during a run, or crippling your fingers on the keyboard of a task that suddenly seems pointless. You question yourself. You doubt. Will we get to the other side? Should I just punch the clock and go back to work in the office or cubicle? They have health insurance there. And office supplies and printer ink.

And oh yeah, direct deposit. That, too.

Itâ��s a feeling that any artist has to fight at some point. A writer sitting at their desk, just realizing that the last 10,000 words youâ��ve painstakingly written and rewritten, massaged and tweaked, spent days or longer working on–is actually a hot mess, completely unfit for human eyes.

Or the musician sitting in the back row of a rented van, staring out the window at the flatness while heading east past Akron on the third week of a divey tour college bars. While you stare�away from your family or another possible career path�you are hoping that whoever it is that oversees this stuff is taking note: In the backseat of that foul-smelling van, a transaction is occurring. Let the ledger show that dues are being paid. Someone is writing this down somewhere, right?

It�s times like these when you question it all�your instinct, your vision, your sanity.

But then you remember about those damn people Edison was talking about, the kind who quit just a few tantalizing feet from the finish line and DIDN�T EVEN KNOW IT.

And you decide that�s not going to be you. You�re almost there. For you, it�s the only way you know how to do it. It�s the only way that feels right.

Creative breakthrough is right around the corner up there. That�s where all the magic is.

Damn you, Edison.
Onward!

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Rich Fahle
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