“Probleme kann man niemals mit derselben Denkweise lösen,
durch die sie entstanden sind.”

(“Problems cannot be solved with the same kind of thinking
in which they were created.”)

Albert Einstein

Of course, this is all looping around on itself, and that’s good. Two weeks ago, we considered our toolkits, and how it makes a tremendous amount of sense to diversify the ways we have of attacking challenges. Einstein’s words have been translated into English many different ways, but the gist is the same: If you made a mess, you’re probably not going to clean it up without a change of attack.

We spend a disheartening amount of time wondering why our default approaches don’t work. And this goes a lot further than music-making – diets, relationships, bad habits – we tend to think that if we just try hard enough along the same vein, we’ll persevere. Persistence is a virtue, but without creativity, it misses its mark.

“The prescription for creativity is to have a wide range of interests
to increase the likelihood of two disparate ideas coming together.

William Shore

In The Cathedral Within, Bill Shore talks a lot about Arthur Koestler’s theory of bisociation: “The act of combining two ideas from different worlds to create something new.” Well, duh. But it’s amazing how often we forget this and think that by earnestly recreating someone else’s genius, we are doing our best as artists.  Not so, for real artistry is creating something truly new.

Don’t despair, for this is within the grasp of mere mortals. It may seem there’s little likelihood of you finding something truly unique to bring together with all that you’ve studied. But I’m not spending these four weeks trying to get you in touch with yourself for no reason. Know yourself; find that rock-solid center from where you can embrace anything you dare. Have a wide range of interests; learn about life and love; work hard and play hard. Then bring all of these things in close association with your technique and your study and watch them combust.

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive;
but it is lightning that does the work.”
Mark Twain

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