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He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” - James Allen
Sacrifice is the price of entry for leadership. Fundamentally because the more responsibility you have, the fewer rights you have. It’s paradoxical, you can rise to the dizzy heights of power, even ultimate power, within your team or organisation, but what they most mean is you have ultimate responsibility for the mission, culture, and your people. Three things inspire sacrifice: motivation, perspective, opportunity. Why do you do what you do? How do you see what you do and when will you do what you do. These frame up the pillar of sacrifice.
I love watching documentaries, especially on the military and war because I believe our own lives are somewhat battle. These have allowed me to look at things from what I call a civilian standpoint. One of my more recent finds is the Netflix Documentary titled ‘The Medal of Honour’ where they tell and reenact the life of Medal of Honour recipients.
In episode three, they tell the story of Edward Carter, an African American soldier who gave up his rank to fight on the frontline because, in the 1940s as a black American, he was not able to have a rank higher than a white soldier. After his tank was taken out by German soldiers he and a small group of men (All African American) moved slowly across a grassy field towards the enemy.
Two of his men were killed and one seriously wounded. Carter engaged the Germans, killing six and taking two into custody while being seriously injured in the process and at the same time interrogated them for intelligence that led to the success of his platoons next manoeuvre. With no rank, with no standing and with no legitimacy Edward Carter served and sacrificed.
Edward Carter earned his Medal of Honour on March 23rd 1945 and was awarded his Medal of Honour on January 13th 1997. Sacrifice like that with a fifty-two year lag for recognition requires deep humility and conviction. For Edward Carter, the motivation, perspective and opportunity we’re clear. He knew at that moment he was born for that one battle.
In order to harness our purpose, one must begin with putting ego aside in favour of the collective good. Like what Robert Greenleaf says in his seminal work on Servant Leadership.
“Ego focuses on one’s own survival, pleasure, and enhancement to the exclusion of others; ego is selfishly ambitious. It sees relationships in terms of threat or no threat, like little children who classify all people as “nice” or “mean.” Conscience, on the other hand, both democratises and elevates ego to a larger sense of the group, the whole, the community, the greater good. It sees life in terms of service and contribution, in terms of others’ security and fulfilment.”Ego will not get you there, sacrifice will. Click To Tweet
We all remember people who genuinely had our development and best interests at heart don’t we? Even if there are challenges along the way, knowing they are for us and not for themselves changed the game when it came to signing on to a vision, playing for a team and living up to our potential. Perhaps even more so we remember the leaders who paid a high price to lead, and for some of the military stories I spoke of earlier, some paid the ultimate price.
Sacrifice for the sake of living our purpose isn’t just one thing. It’s the combination of things that can lead us to a place of laying down our lives for the benefit of others. It’s the combination of why who and when. It’s the intersection of those things real time and in real life. It is an elegant combination of a cause, the people and moments. It isn’t one thing more than the other, it’s the combination and the relationships between them.
• The cause is the ‘why’ we are in this together, it’s the glue that binds us.
• The people are the ‘who’ we are with, solving problems, adding value, making meaning.
• The moment is the ‘when’ of true servant leadership. It’s the point of no return FOR others.
These combine to create the three legitimately powerful currencies in the pursuit of purpose.
•Motivation – comes from the cause and the people. It makes it human.
•Perspective – is the combination of the cause and the moment. It makes it real.
•Opportunity – is the connection between the moment and the person. It makes it now!
When you interview “heroes” they rarely tell of how they planned to be that way at that moment. In many cases, it was more than based on their role, responsibility, training and sense of duty at that point in time. They did what their instincts told them to do, they sacrificed, served, led and were courageous beyond all reasonable expectation. There is almost always a time a and place, a moment when your purpose meets a situation that requires something from you that may cost you everything. And sometimes it does.
As Robert K Greenleaf said, “The servant-leader is a servant first, it begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first, as opposed to, wanting power, influence, fame, or wealth.”
Your purpose is only concerned with making the lives around you better, and it will require you thinking of others first before yourself. Imagine your most favourite actor, and how they continually challenge themselves to play the roles they do all for your enjoyment.
Looking at this I have learned that fame and fortune will only come when you sacrifice all for your purpose. When you pour yourself out for the benefit of others.
I will leave you with this last thought, motivation, perspective and opportunity are important in fulfilling our purpose. Keep a keen eye out for these so that you do not miss your chance to be great.
Einstein was a genius but before we get too deep, a distinction:
Creativity is— solving problems, fashioning products, or defining new questions in a way that is novel.
Art is— the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.
The Arts are— the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
I bring that up because I thought for the longest time scientists could not be creative and engineers, programmers, and accountants were not creative people. They only served as the workhorses to execute the vision of those of us fortunate enough to dance with the Muse on a daily basis.
Although not everyone is an artist, everyone can (and should) be creative in what they do. If you are a truck driver, and you solve problems — congratulations! — you are creative.
Mastery of any domain lends itself to a level of creativity, regardless of what that domain actually is. The proper information leads to new patterns and connections and ideas. Which means you have just as much to learn about the creative process as a bricklayer.
Or in this case, a wild-eyed physician who did poorly in school.
1. Anyone could have done what Einstein did
Around the time Einstein shook the world with his Special Theory of Relativity paper, physicists were already at a flex point.
Those in the field were already debating the notion that there was an “absolute” anything. Work from other physicists at the time, such as Michael Faraday, had decided the work of Galileo and Newton weren’t comprehensive enough.
Seeds of Einstein’s accomplishment were being planted at all sides, as the field at large was starting to realize something called “the ether” wasn’t responsible for objects appearing to move at different speeds.
The word “relativity” was already being spread from professor to lab rat.
Is Einstein of incredible intellect? Yes. Did he put his own ingenious spin on the topic? No doubt.
But is he the ONLY one who could have done what he did? The Chosen One who came to bring light to the world?
I doubt it.
Einstein himself called the paper: “an amazingly simple summary and generalisation,” which is hardly a fanfare.
All Einstein did was execute on a key tool in the artist’s box: The +1 Rule. He absorbed the information in front of him and said “okay yeah, but also this.”
Yes, creativity sometimes happens in leaps and bounds.
But typically it is chaste and quiet, slipping into professional use as easily as a river feeds into an ocean. Einstein’s breakthrough would have been equally bland if not for…
2. Personal Branding Rockstar
Einstein died in 1955.
So explain to me why he is on a sweater from Forever 21. Why Einstein gear? Where is my coffee mug featuring Jules-Henri Poincaré, who is coined the phrase “principle of relativity” long before Einstein wrote is paper? Why do our children not play with toys from the Baby Föppl* company, when teacher August Föppl himself probably contributed most to Einstein’s early understanding of mechanical physics?
A couple of thoughts:
a) Nothing to do with science
Quick, name me a the biggest quantum physicist in the game today (no Google)
b) He looks like a genius
There no chance you look at the face on that sweatshirt and think “Yeah, this man as my tax lawyer.”
c) Instantly recognisable
For reference, here are some other physicists of the day:
And here’s Albert:
d) He’s a big, goofy kid
Forever 21 didn’t have to manufacture the face, Einstein made it all the time
e) An easy name to pronounce
This matters. Say what you want, but Einstein was from Germany. His name could have been Albert Schimmelpfennig. There’s no chance Americans remember that many consonants.
f) Actually fun to be around
Probably due to his time spent in a patent office as opposed to a stuffy lab with other people who were smarter than everyone else.
g) Not shy about opinions
In his later years, Big Al pretty much told everyone what he thought about everything. Including Jews, how to use atomic energy in a peaceful way, eliminating all weapons, and civil liberties.
Today we call that “branding.” I think Einstein probably just called it “being a human.”
Someone make a Baby Föppl logo RIGHT NOW
3. It’s fine to have a job
You won’t see this one on a poster:
“A practical profession is a salvation for a man of my type; an academic career compels a young man to scientific production and only strong characters can resist the temptation of superficial analysis.”
Which is basically Einstein for — If your bills are on the line, you might take shortcuts.
Einstein worked as a patent clerk. His earth-shattering theories came not in spite of those dull hours, but because of it.
This seems particularly relevant today, when everyone wants to have started 4 companies by the time they turn 25.
4. Good work speaks for itself
Here are some things which happened when Big Al’s paper started circulating in the scientific community:
• He received letters addressed to “Professor Einstein” (which he wasn’t)
• He got a job offer from Zurich (where he couldn’t get a job 10 years prior)
• He was offered the Nobel Prize (but didn’t win it yet)
The world does not care what your title is. It does not care how many direct reports you have. It also does not care about your pedigree (or the lack thereof).
Here’s what matters: having a new idea. Executing on your vision for it.
Repeat as often as possible.
5. Divergent Thinking
Which is the term you should use to explain to your boss why you come up with such off-the-wall solutions.
This is opposed to convergent thinking, which is what we usually consider mastery. You use convergent thinking to speak a language, do any math, or lift weights.
Divergent thinking occurs when you remember that once you saw a contest on TV where strong men hurled big logs over a bar, so you set up a contest in your gym that involves chucking kettle bells over the soda machine.
Convergent thinking finds all the dots. Divergent thinking connects the ones nobody else does.
You don’t have to worry about the consequences. Tell the attendant you are working on your creative genius
Please don’t actually do that
6. Faustian Bargain
I am stealing this description directly from author and psychologist Howard Gardner. In his seminal book — Creating Minds — Gardner points out that seven creative people who brought about modern era (of which he considers Einstein to be included) all made a Faustian Bargain.
I’ve heard that term in a different way: “A Deal with the Devil.”
This is a common thread in many people who stand out, from pianist to CEO. An excellent yet tragic example is Pablo Picasso’s abysmal treatment of almost everyone he came in contact with as an adult.
Einstein himself was not exactly a poster child for stable relationships, as you probably know. You probably also know he was poor at school. But it seems that energy was devoted intentionally to other things.
It seems Einstein would not have been able to do what he did if not for seeing the little things in his life (like a wife or two) as “small problems.”
He was more than willing to ignore them in favour of tackling the big ones.
7. Fantasy beats knowledge
Seems appropriate to end with a quote since we started with one. Remember, this coming from a man whose domain who respects information above all else:
“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”
After all, if you don’t have dreams, what do you have?
Much love as always,
Share this with someone who might be interested
The post 7 Things I Learned About Creativity From Albert Einstein appeared first on Todd Brison.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will”. – George Bernard Shaw
Creatives, very important and pivotal to the advancement of the world. And being part of creatives I often ask myself. What is it you really want? Is it something you want to do, something you want to have, someone you’d like to be? What is it that really excites you when you think about it? (If you haven’t figured that part out yet, start by making a list of all the things you enjoy.)
One of the best gifts you get in life is to be creative. Without using your incredible imagination to dream dreams of wonderful events, careers, travel and vacation, and even helping other people you’re missing out on huge life benefits. This is the reason why creatives are needed.
The way your incredible brain is wired is to support you in setting goals, visualising and attaining them. In short, our brain is a goal-seeking missile. By using your creative imagination you can explore new territory you never thought possible. You learn a new musical instrument, take up a new hobby. Leave the corporate world and start your own business. My creativity led me to share what I learned in my personal journey to inspire other people to be better.Why Dreams matter, dreams have no limits and dreams keep you motivated to work Click To Tweet
In 1998, when I first contemplated writing lyrics for songs all I knew was it seemed like a really cool thing to do. I just saw it as a great way to express yourself. I had no sense of meter and relied heavily on listening to other creatives make music. After mechanically working my way through my first few raps I started to get a feel for it and lyrics just flowed to me.
I had no idea when I started to write these lyrics that almost 20 years later it would lead to writing a book. And when my book World War You was published, I didn’t expect the momentum. If someone had asked me soon after it was published if I would write another one, my answer would have been “maybe”. Fast track to now and I’m working on a second one.The process is preparing you to make your dream become your reality Click To Tweet
Now to give you some contest, when I decided to write the book I had no formal training or publishing team, just a passion for what I wanted to do and a message to share. I published this book because of my passion. The passion came from the vision I had created and the feeling it gave me when I thought about doing it. Very simple steps. At times it felt like it was manifesting quite slowly, but then you turn around one day and notice how much has happened and wonderful it is to have achieved your goal.
I know you have that one thing that gives you the same feeling. That one thing that wakes you up in the morning and you smile, (not your alarm).
If you are not sure just answer these few questions for me right now. Do you want to do something bigger? Something different? Something fun?
Now that you are there, get a clear picture in your mind of what you want (see it). Spend at least five minutes a day visualising what it is like to already have what you want (feel it). Now be in that moment and embrace your dream (be it).
If it’s a new house, imagine the way you’ll set up the furniture, the nice friendly neighbours next door, the beautiful flowers you will plant over the weekend. Literally, sit in your new kitchen and enjoy a cup of tea.
The beauty of creativity is it has no limits, no boundaries. Change the picture every day and add something new, keep making it better.
I do not know what your creative side is, and I do not know what you are working toward. What I do know is you have the ability to make it happen. I need you to see it, focus on it until it is so vivid that it pushes you to execute. Write that song, paint that picture, take that risk and make it happen.
Lastly, be thankful and express your gratitude in your visualisations for having achieved your desired goal. Now is that time and you are that person to do it. Keep dreaming and execute, you are manifesting your goal. The process is preparing you to make your dream become your reality.
Are you ready to be part of the creatives?