“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” – Benjamin Franklin
My eldest son was looking at a mountain yesterday and asked me how people made the folds in it that extended from near the top all the way to the lake below. He said it looked like giant drapes pulled closed over the mountain.
In the course of explaining that those folds were likely formed when the mountain was formed and that man may not have had much if anything to do with it, he stopped me and said, “Well, man created just about everything else on earth, didn’t he?” I thought about it a bit and had to agree. Just about everything we know on earth was created by man in the not-too-distant past.
The world we know – the farmsteads and mighty cities, its fashions and customs, vehicles that move on its various surfaces and so on – are all the product of man’s ingenuity. Most were born out of conflicting ideas. The stronger ones survived and the weaker either became the seed for a newer and better idea or simply receded into the forgotten past. Thinking created the world we live in and thinking will create the world our children live in.
My favorite place to work is at the confluence of discordant thoughts. I love seeing creativity clawing its way out of creative tension. More importantly, I love working with people who are passionate about what they think, yet wise enough to recognize and acknowledge what is fitting. Such a combination is rare, for most thus endowed tend toward obstinacy.
One of the secrets to harnessing creative tension lies in your ability to articulate and reiterate the goal or purpose shared by all. Absent this, tension quickly becomes counterproductive and those involved quickly become entrenched in the way they see it.