imagination and hard work

“Le génie commence les beaux ouvrages, mais le travail seul les achève” translates as “Genius begins beautiful works, but only labor finishes them.” Or as Edison put it, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

All too often we overvalue splashy “new” ideas without fully understanding the grinding toil, the “blood, sweat, and tears”, necessary to bring the idea to full fruition. Many an entrepreneur, many a successful small businessperson has said some version of “If I had any idea how difficult it was going to be, the sacrifices required, I might not have had the courage (foolhardiness?) to start.”

Life is not a vending machine where we can insert a concept at the top and reach down and have a fully completed, working prototype pop out at the bottom. Success in any worthwhile venture requires that we learn the territory, lay the foundation, learn the skill set, master the craft. Aught else is wishful thinking, magical thinking. Those who wait for their ship to come in will always be surpassed by those who build their own ship.

Closing Quote:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”*
– Albert Einstein

*This saying is often chopped off and quoted simplistically as “Imagination is more important than knowledge” which I never liked because I believed it licensed a certain laziness; implying that the hard work of study and learning to master an area of knowledge was unnecessary.  The full quote makes it clear that the value of imagination lies in the ability to use it to build upon, to go beyond what knowledge has revealed.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier