I talked about Andor – Star Wars Spin-off on Disney with my peers. And being a budding author, I was mesmerized by the storytelling. I told them that Disney knows how to tell a story. Response back was – yeah, when it works, it works. And my instant reply was – that’s creativity for you.

A stack of medium to small river stones, piled in a tower emerging from still water in a river overlooked by trees, with a light rainfall.

Can you throw stones into a pond and expect them to produce the same ripples every time? Can you expect the rain to create the same puddles as last time? Nature does not work the same way, and neither does creativity. Factory production may be something that can produce the exact same thing over and over again, except when COVID hits. But then, we cannot talk about storytelling in the same breath as factory production.

Creativity is the art of producing something that is in your head in such a way that other people can understand it. And it may have been an excellent idea in your head but bringing it out into the world is a process. Not many people understand how difficult it is to articulate an idea on paper. It is like shaping water or air. When the idea is in your head, it is fluid, but when it comes out, it becomes solidified and hard to modify.

When Disney starts with a story – the process may be the same, but the story is different. And each story requires a different treatment, and hence the results vary. We all know of shows/books that follow the same template but are never that satisfying. And we all know of authors or movies that have been one-time wonders. We all know of great authors and directors who have produced a flop. These things happen because that is the nature of creativity and life itself.

Even if we leave the creative world and move into the corporate world, things work differently than they should. Let’s say you are all set for your deadline, but there may be an internet outage, or a colleague may fall sick. Or, a late discovery or another priority may push the deadline. Despite knowing that things can always go off the plan, why are we so surprised when we miss a deadline? We immediately look to see what could have been done to avoid the miss. We are not building rockets here – we have worked in the corporate world forever. And we have uncovered all the lessons learnt there ever were. So, doing another investigation is not going to turn up an entirely new reason. But we do it because it is an outlet for our loss of control. Since we love control so much, we need to come up with a reason as to why control failed.

Quote: Life is not, nor ever has been, a straight line forward. Life is characterized much more by exception and disorder than by total or perfect order

Am I suggesting that we should never aim to meet deadlines? No, I am pointing out that we need to have a default clause for life. Life happens. We are all human beings, and despite our best interests, we miss deadlines. Instead of doing a deep dive into why it happened, let’s move forward in 80% of the cases without deep dive. We need to trust people to do their best and move on. Same for creativity – it is the process that matters. Maybe as the audience, we need to shift to process and not the outcome – and we may enjoy more movies/books that way.

Do you have a clause for life to happen in your endeavours?

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