All creativity begins with the moment of conception.
That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today’s clip comes from the inventions scene in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid:
What can we learn?
The prolific power of emergence. Szalinski might be an eccentric nut job, but the man is a
prolific inventor. He’s completely optimized their household, automating
everything from shaving to dusting to cooking breakfast to getting the mail.
This scene captured my imagination as a kid. Szalinski made me want to become
an inventor. But as adult, watching this movie is a charming reminder to
practice polyamorous creation, or the pursuit of relationships with multiple projects. Keeping lots of
interesting balls in the air. Maintaining diversity among creative endeavors. Sound like an attention
deficit disaster? It’s not. In fact, the act of dividing your attention among several projects doesn’t automatically
lessen it. In fact, it’s quite the
opposite. Polyamorous creation actually makes the creative process faster and
better. By giving yourself permission to spin a multitude of creative
plates, you produce positive interactions between
endeavors. By allowing different works to bump into each other, you gain more
perspective than if you were only engaged in a single project. And so, the
result is a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. That’s how
creativity works. Every act regenerates
the system. The more
of it you use, the more of
it you have. Physicists call it emergence, and their research has
found it to be the originator of novelty, creativity and authorship. In short,
if one and one makes two, you failed. Are you helping your ideas talk to each
Everyone is somebody else’s weirdo. Wayne is one of the definitive movie geniuses of our
time. He’s smart and creative and well meaning and enthusiastic. But he’s still
weird. He doesn’t do anything normal. Playing baseball? Out of the question.
Baseball is for mortals, he says. And yet, that’s what endears us to his
character. I remember watching this movie as a teenager, standing in awe of his
faithfulness to his own eccentric nature. Hoping that one day, my weirdness
would be just as valuable to the world. Fast forward to twenty years later,
weird has now gone mainstream. Now it’s cool to be weird. Now the world
acknowledges, respects and caters to the weird. Now we don’t have to worry
about being weird alone, because whatever obscure thing we’re into, there’s a
thousand other people just waiting to connect around it. Nietzsche famously
said that those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who
couldn’t hear the music. Little did he know, technology would make it instantaneous
to find the weird people whodohear
the music. If they remade this movie, adjusted for cultural inflation, our
protagonist wouldn’t be the punch line of the joke, he’d be the belle of the
ball.What group of weird people could
you cleanse yourself with?
Use every part of yourself like a buffalo. Wayne has clearly created a life that makes use of all
of his gifts. He’s found a home for all of his talents, feels fully expressed
and is constantly firing on all cylinders. None of his assets have gone
unharvested. What more could an inventor ask for? That’s the definition of
intellectual freedom. Pure, unadulterated creation. And yet, he’s not inventing
machines for the sake of inventing. Every part has its place. Each contraption
solves a real, urgent and pervasive problem in their lives. Wayne is a master
of using his creativity to scratch his family’s itches. Then again, hedoesaccidentally expose the toddler to
his industrial sized growth machine, which gradually grows the child to over
one hundred feet tall and destroys the downtown are.Woops.And so, it’s a subtle lesson about becoming a victim of your
own efficiency. Not letting the creativity of our minds supersede the
practicality of real life. Because
ambition can get very expensive.Who is the
primary beneficiary of your creative talents and abilities?
What did you learn?
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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