Julie and I need our coffee pot to be full in the morning. So we fill it to the top until it’s just about spilling over and then attempt to pour it into the coffee maker without losing too much to the counter top. This morning I knew, in a zen like moment, that I had the perfect motion, the perfect curve as I poured; and all the water went into the coffee maker without spilling. I was proud of myself, but also mystified. As much as I’ve tried to quantify, qualify, analyze and practice, I can never predict whether I’ll be able to pour a way-too-full pot without spilling or not. When I’m successful, it’s like I’m creating that success for the first time, every time. It strikes me that my coffee pot challenge is a lot like pursuing creative endeavors.
I’ve written hit songs, award winning songs, great songs and really bad songs too. And having written hundreds of songs, I still don’t have a formula for how to ensure that the song I’m working on now will be a success. That’s the mystique and challenge of creating. There are no guarantees, no promise of return on investment, only the hope that we’ll stumble upon something magical, or at least something that works quite well! So when I teach and preach on creativity there’s only one thing I’m sure of and only one thing I can guarantee. Practice pays off. If you don’t show up, if you don’t experiment, if you don’t take a chance then you’re ensuring failure by not trying.
Every morning I make a pot of coffee because I need my coffee, more than I need a neat counter top. And some mornings, like this one, I experience the thrill of brief perfection as the water curves in a perfect arch without spilling a drop. Make something today, take a chance on getting messy and who knows; you may get rewarded.