By Cathy Eck
Creativity occurs in the gap between our vision and our reality. Ideally, that gap is constantly diminishing. That’s when we enjoy our journey.
In business, I loved creating an insane challenge and then fulfilling it. In technology, the value of a computer system was measured in years. A three-to-five year payback on investment was normal at that time. I promised a one-year payback. My normal system, which was more expensive than the competition, paid for itself in three-to-six months.
Bringing down the payback period taught me a valuable lesson. Much of my success was the vision I set for each project. What I must share, however, is that no one believed my vision was possible. Even the companies that hired me would say, “Yea right. You can’t do that.” They couldn’t do it, but I knew I could. Only in hindsight, do I understand why.
People tend to fall into two groups. The first group lives in the fantasy world. They say their affirmations and focus on the positive. They daydream of better days while ignoring the reality that they don’t believe they can achieve those days. The extreme metaphor for these people are lottery players. Their life is so dismal that they believe that the only way out is to win something that has one chance in a million. These people usually have right-brain oriented views of life. They tend to visualize, talk all the time, and philosophize, but don’t get much done. They use cognitive dissonance to bridge gaps in their belief systems. When their reasoning breaks down, they usually insert an angel, a miracle, or fate. They manufacture religions.
The other group is so grounded in reality that their face is stuck in the mud. They tend to be left brainers. They get shit done, but often make a mess of things when they do it. They have good memories, which they use on others to bring up things they did thirty years ago. If science doesn’t have the answer, there’s no answer. Nothing exists beyond reality. Incurable is their death sentence. They create lots of problems and want rewarded when they fix their own problems. They get a small reprieve after they fix something — a brief moment of satisfaction. Then something else breaks. They argue for political, religious, or any one-sided point of view until they make everyone around them want to vomit. These are the scientists that waste time and money proving their reality is the truth.
The place of creativity isn’t in either extreme. Remember the old triangle process (above). Creativity, and all the other joys of life, are at the top of the triangle. Fantasy and Harsh Reality live at the bottom.
Enjoying The Journey to the Top
Creativity lives at the top of the triangle. To get there, we must get honest about our current reality. That’s our starting place. It isn’t what we deserve, it sure as hell isn’t something we need to accept, and it isn’t something we need to face for very long. It’s an honest assessment of our current situation. Fantasy, the other side of the triangle, is where we want to be. It might look possible or impossible. That doesn’t matter. When we bring together the right recipe of these two ingredients, and we let go, we ride the creative wave to the top.
Anyone who appears to have natural talent rides that wave every day, but often only in one aspect of their life. I could thrive among the best in my field because I knew I could. I didn’t “know” because I thumped my chest every morning while looking in the mirror and mimicking Tony Robbins. I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I actually had no beliefs that I couldn’t. (Although after watching “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I tried out the chant-chest thump technique; I gotta admit, it was kind of fun. It made me feel like a he-man.)
I left the business and technology world because I wanted to learn why that worked for me and why others couldn’t do it. I also wondered why I couldn’t do that in every aspect of my life.
It was clearly something in people’s minds that veiled their natural gifts. I only had to find out how to reverse that man-made error.
First, I got painfully real. Most of the world believes they have no talent. Most people feel like pawns with no chance of fulfilling their dreams. Most people have strong religious and family-cultural beliefs that they view as the truth. Most of the world accepts their reality as God ordered. There’s more, but you get the idea. That was my “Get Real.” Now I was done with getting real — just needed my accurate and honest starting point.
Now what’s my vision? This was the question I wanted to solve. How can every person unveil their unique expression, gifts and talents, and true perspective? But I also had other conditions that clarified an acceptable answer. I wanted the answer to be something anyone could do — not just MENSA members, not just those belonging to certain religions or clubs, and not just rich people. It had to be win-win and possible for everyone on the planet. It had to be simple, able to be done alone, and easy to remember. Pretty high stakes.
Fifteen years later, I had the technique. It met all of those conditions. But I had to let go of a zillion beliefs to get there. What appears to be a God-given gift or talent is actually a black holes in our mind where we have few or no beliefs. That’s all. Letting go, not cognitive dissonance, removes the gap between our vision and our reality.
Our beliefs rest between our get real and our vision like a big block of granite. We keep chipping away at those beliefs with our little chisel. One day, there’s nothing left. We’re free.