creative chaos

Consistency or Creativity for Success?

Which is the Winner?

I have broken the rule of consistency; I have not continued to do the same thing week after week.

After 28 letters (over six months of writing) that have been consistently published at 7am (Madrid time) I have missed a day. That should signifiy the end of 'The Balance Point' as a regular publication! If I cannot send it out every Monday morning, I should not do it at all, is that not what consistency is?

So what matters, consistency or sanity? Should I publish no matter what or should I succumb to the shifts and changes of emotion within me?

Hmmm... interesting question...

On the one hand we have the consistency is the answer advocates.

Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.

Dwayne Johnson

Or, slipping in a little maturity,

You cannot be a winner without maturity and consistency.

Marco Silva

For Johnson and Silva it is the rigour with which you do something. Keep at it and everything you dream of will happen. It matters not if you have talent or ability, keep at it and all that will come.

Of course there is some truth in that. The best way to learn is to stick at whatever it is you desire. The extreme example is learning an instrument, such the violin or the piano. You will not get anywhere if you are not consistent in your practice.

The 10,000 hour rule was popularised by Malcolm Gladwell’s in his book 'Outliers'. According to Gladwell the rule is,

It takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials, like playing the violin or getting as good as Bill Gates at computer programming.

Gladwell describes one central study in particular,

Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it.

But, of course you see the catch there. It is not how hard they work that distinguishes them, it is how hard they work if they have the ability.

This leads me to the you need the skill and creativity to achieve anything brigade. Well yes, skill can be learned through consistency but the creativity which underpins the skill, that is something else.

I love the Oscar Wilde quote,

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

He touches on the desperation that lies behind being consistent. The desperation to have something that others have and you do not.

Emerson is bit harsher,

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

But, let's face it, they both had elements of genius in them, so it is easy for them to say that.

The answer is usually somewhere in the middle of any debate.

I don't have a formula to pass on. I always did it my own way. Even today, I hold my independence close. It's what's most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency. This is my professional history.

Giorgio Armani

Armani, cleverly, takes it beyond simple consistency. I love his use of passion and tenacity. Passion is a drive that is closely aligned to creativity and talent, while tenacity digs deeper than consistency, it reveals a determination to keep going, to pursue the passion.

So coming back round to 'The Balance Point', I believe I have the creativity to make it succeed. This is the primary quality needed, without it there is no point. Creativity is at the core of any art, whether it be writing, music, painting, dancing or even lighting design. I believe that creativity is the soul communicating to the world. That was behind my lighting design and is definitely behind my writing.

But you need to add tenacity on top. The tenacity is what keeps you going when you droop or when you lose confidence in yourself. It is tenacity that has brought me to write this letter when I had decided not to write one this week. It is tenacity that will keep me going, driving my creativity.

To repeat Giorgio Armani,

I hold my independence close. It's what's most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency.

So here is my letter, out of time, but with wisdom and debate.

The great writer Anne Lamott put it well,

There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time.