“Honor Your Creative Vomit”

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There once was a king named Hiero II who had been given a gold laurel-leaf shaped crown.

As is the want of kings, his gratitude was quickly replaced by doubt. Then anger. Then obsession. Then retribution. For this crown couldn’t possibly be 100 percent gold?

Enter Archimedes

Archimedes was the go-to guy for all your royal authentication issues. So the king asked him to find a way to confirm his suspicions. There was just one requirement. Archimedes couldn’t damage the crown.

Archimedes worked for days but alas, could not figure it out.

So, like all creative geniuses of his time, he decided to take a bath.

Enter the Eureka myth of creativity

As he got into the tub he noticed the water overflowing its sides. At that moment, he realized that he could work out the crown’s density by noting how much water it displaced.

When he made this discovery he leaped out of the bath, running and shouting “Eureka!” through the streets naked.

And thus was born Archimedes untrue law of unrealistic ideation. The myth that all truly innovative ideas come like streaks of lightning and flashes of enlightenment

In reality ideas come in many forms.

And they come in many ways

The “gut-wrenching pain and suffering” idea

Some innovative ideas emerge only after life-sapping mental exertion, research, evaluation, rejection and mind-numbing anguish and frustration.

They reveal themselves in bits and pieces. In fits and starts.

Yet somehow they slowly, hesitantly emerge.

The “unexpected projectile hurl” idea

At the other end of the creative vomit spectrum are those ideas that come quickly, all at once, in the middle of the night, almost fully formed, from who knows where.

Chances are, they came from your subconscious. Because it had worked on them without you being aware of it for a lot longer than you imagined.

The trouble with these ideas is they are fleeting. They come whenever and wherever they want to come. Usually when you’re not thinking about them. And when you’re least expecting them.

So stop what you’re doing and write them down quickly or they’ll be lost.

The Gaga vomit principle in action

We have a tendency to dismiss the ideas that come quickly because they seem too easy. We just didn’t suffer enough to make them valid or robust.

We also seem to want to abandon the ideas that come in bits and pieces before they have a chance to fully form.

And we often over-think the ones that required so much revising, analyzing and reframing because that’s the modus operandi they’ve put us in.

Lady Gaga’s guiding tenant is deceivingly simple.

Don’t let the way an idea comes to you influence how you view it.

Honor every good idea.

All ideas deserve your care and attention

Whether from gut-wrenching suffering or a sneaky little brain fart, every idea deserves to be born with dignity. To be nurtured along the way until it can stand on it’s own.

They all deserve to be tested and honed.

And I can’t think of a better way of encapsulating this powerful principle than the insightful and elegant words that have spewed forth from Lady Gaga’s own lips.

Honor your creative vomit

Thank you, Gag.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s your take?


Photo credit: Brian Tomilin