Standing on the shoulders of Giants




“It’s great to sit on the shoulders of giants, but don’t let the giants sit on your shoulders. There’s no room for their legs to dangle!” Stephen Nachmanovitch
I love this quote. I recently came across it in the excellent book “The Accidental Creative” by Todd Henry. It seems a little absurd at first but it accurately evokes one of the key assassins of creativity – comparing our work to that of others can stop you before you even start. We even compare our new projects to older successful projects of our own. Musicians are often beset by that “difficult second album” syndrome. But usually only if the first has done very well either critically or financially. The weight of unhealthy expectation can kill creativity before it starts. It can often lead to a cheap copy of other work in an effort to repeat that success. It’s a difficult one to fight – you need objectives, but try suspending judgement. At least at the beginning. Give yourself the objective of coming up with 30 average ideas. You are under much less pressure and more likely to come up with a great one!

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