Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dorie Clark for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, and sign up for a subscription to HBR email alerts, please click here.
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Success sells. Everybody loves a winner. These clichés are reaffirmed every day in our business and media culture, especially if the winners are young or “emerging.” Fast Company recently released their list of the year’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Every city has its roundup of the local heavy hitters (hello “30 under 30″ and “40 under 40″). And don’t forget the World Economic Forum’s posse of Young Global Leader. What, you didn’t make the cut? (Actually, me neither.) In this kind of environment, it’s all too easy to feel like a failure — but just because the world doesn’t yet recognize your genius doesn’t mean it’s not there.
I talked recently with David Galenson, an economist at the University of Chicago who began studying prices at art auctions — an exploration that drove him to understand the nature of creativity over the course of one’s career. He realized there were two very distinct types of creativity — “conceptual” (in which a young person has a clear vision and executes it early, a la Picasso or Zuckerberg) and ”experimental” (think Cezanne or Virginia Woolf, practicing and refining their craft over time and winning late-in-life success).
I saw this kind of fast, “conceptual” creativity and success exemplified not too long ago at my Smith College reunion, where I heard a talk by one of our notable alumnae, Thelma Golden, now the Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Golden has been on my radar for a long time — the year I graduated, she was honored by the college with a special prize. Though it typically goes to older alumnae, she won it only 10 years after graduation for her achievements as a Whitney Museumcurator. She’d known she wanted to enter the field since high school, she told us. Her focus was singular, and she attained professional success almost immediately. It’s enough to make anyone feel like a loser in comparison.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of the forthcoming Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the Ford Foundation. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.
One of the several joys of reading a wide variety of books is that their authors share quotations that were previously unfamiliar and are worthy of inclusion with those chestnuts from the usual sources such as Sun Tzu, St. Paul, William Shakespeare, and Yogi Berra.
“Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what people of the world take leisurely.” Taoist maxim
“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein
“No, no! You’re not thinking, you’re just being logical….” Niels Bohr
“The world is not to be put in order, the world is order incarnate. It is up to us to put ourselves in unison with this order.” Henry Miller
“It would be erroneous to assume that intelligence is necessarily conscious and deliberate. We know more than we can tell.” Gerd Gigerenzer
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Max Planck
“The whole idea of passion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living things, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” Thomas Merton
“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” Howard Aiken
“Throughout most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” Virginia Woolf
“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” Will Rogers
“I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out.” Stephen Wright
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon
“I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.” John D. Rockefeller
“When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Jonathan Swift
“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Mark Twain