Didn’t Have a Choice

Day 331 Week 49 Q4  Sunday, November 27, 2022

Okay, Creative Outliers, it is Sunday Morning, and what are you up to? Are you on a path that just will not let go of you, or you will just not let go of it? When people ask you what you are up to, do you tell them? Do they sometimes ask you, Why?  As creative outliers with a lot more imagination than the average bear, do you find yourself on nonmainstream paths some of the time? Of course, you do. You are more curious than normal and more imaginative than normal so why would anyone expect the normal paths to hold all of your attention? Yet, those who are not .like you, do exactly that, because they can not imagine what you can. And if you continue to tell people about things that do not yet exist, which you can see very clearly, they eventually will stop listening to you. This is why you need to find people to hang out with who will listen to you and not disparage your trips into the unknown.

And there is an easy answer to the question, why are you doing this? And the answer is I didn’t have a choice. Seriously those who pursue diminishing returns really do not have a choice and this although an inconvenient truth just like climate change. The weather inside of your head is quite real, and you do have to respond to it, and sometimes you really do not have a choice, and you feel obliged to complete something or explore a direction, and should you shut down those feelings? Well, you do it at your own risk. 

Over the years, I have met many talented creative people who shut it down to pay the bills and sometimes they are still happy, but often they are not. Whether you feel the need to move to another place, far away, either physically, mentally, or artistically listen to that feeling. You may really have to shut it down because the logistics are just too rigged against you. But sometimes, when you feel like you really do not have a choice, you actually can make large changes. 

No one who has ever accomplished something major, like a discovery or an invention, is 100% in control of the direction, which seems to come about like a tractor beam pulling you toward it. Could the feeling be nuts or displaced? Sure it can.  But sometimes, fifty years later, you still feel the pull in that direction. And when that is the case, you really should listen because it probably means something.

I had a friend a long time ago who used to say, “genius is passion.”  He felt that if you felt so strongly about something, to never stop, that this was where genius came from. And Roman was an immigrant who arrived in America with five dollars in his wallet as a young man from Poland. He didn’t have a choice and become a political dissident at the time in what was a communist nation. So he came with nothing even though he had a master’s degree in electrical engineering and had to get a job doing anything to survive. It took fifteen years, but he became a researcher at Bose and, ultimately, because he absolutely refused to stop working on it, the father of the Bose Noise Cancelling technology.   He eventually became a distinguished fellow there, and he simply did not have a choice. He was told to stop every year but persisted, and even though it took ten years to get it to work, he simply felt like he did not have a choice.  Of course, a team of people was involved, but he was the single person who would never stop.  He took the same persistence that got him across the ocean with $5 and applied it to whatever he did. He was very stubborn, and the idea was not even his idea; it was Amar Bose’s, but he was the one person who never stopped, and was he a genius? Probably not, but was he passionate about what he was doing? Absolutely.

Sometimes the only answer, when people ask you the question, is I didn’t Have a Choice.