April 4, 2011 | bfeldman | Inspirational

Inspiration vs Perspiration

Once in a great while I hear or read something that really brings life into focus.  I was listening to an interview recently with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat Pray Love”.  I’ll admit, I’m not into the whole EPL thing – I haven’t read the book and based upon the unread books I have lined up in the queue at home, I doubt I ever will.  Also, the movie reeks of “chick flick” – I am not a Julia Roberts fan.    But she said something in the interview (Radiolab, interview with Robert Krulwich)  that makes me think maybe I ought to give her a chance

I think the angels reward people who are at their desk at six o’clock in the morning working….  I always think of it like Henry Ford’s famous line about how creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, which is a very mechanical way to divide it up but also assumes that those two things have equal weight, that they’re the same quality, right?  I agree with 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, but its 99% oyster, 1% pearl.  You can’t even compare the matter:  it’s a BARGAIN to get 1% inspiration.  You know, it’s a miracle.

99% oyster, 1% pearl – what a great analogy!

So, I’ve spent a good part of the afternoon today staring at some blank sheets of buff paper, filling them with sketches.  I’m hoping that I can make that bargain, to get a pearl from the oyster.  Maybe I just need to come in earlier or talk to a few more people.  Maybe we need to ask 99 questions, get 99 opinions before we can know which 1 is worth keeping.  We’ll see at the end whether a pearl shows up.

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