Doing some reading tonight, and I came across this piece, and I really like it. As I have been working quite a bit on preparing for next season at the Williamston Theatre, as well as prepping for a season of my own more individual work as a director, this simple idea really spoke to me. I thought I’d share it…
An inventor was asked why he spent sixteen hours every day tinkering with his work. He replied:
“Because I’m dissatisfied with everything as it currently exists in its present form.”
Dissatisfaction is beneficial to the creative process. Otherwise you lose the prod you need to spot potential problems and opportunities.
Success can make us complacent. We think, “Everything’s fine. Why change anything?”
And we stop trying new approaches.
Often it’s only when our success is threatened that we seek to make improvements.
An example is the “Sailing Ship Syndrome,” named after the burst of innovation in the mid-19th century sailing ship industry. Only after it became obvious that the steamship would dominate the commercial sailing ship did the sailing ship reach its peak of efficiency.
Faced with the challenge of steam, sailing ships reduced the duration of the average westward crossing of the Atlantic from five weeks in 1840 to three weeks in 1860. Many of the changes that made this increase in speed possible could have been made decades earlier, but it was only when faced with elimination that the motivation was present to do so.
Moral: to remain successful, sometimes we have to be dissatisfied with the things that enabled us to be successful in the first place.
— What are you dissatisfied about?
— What isn’t sitting right with you?
— How can you turn irritation into inspiration?
— What previously successful assumptions can you challenge?
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