Julie’s Burstein’s ‘4 lessons in creativity’ (thanks Isley) is really 4 embraces of failure…

  1. Embrace Blows – “Being open for that experience that might change you is the first thing we need to embrace…When I sat down to write a book about creativity, I realized that the steps were reversed. I had to let go at the very beginning, and I had to immerse myself in the stories of hundreds of artists and writers and musicians and filmmakers, and as I listened to these stories, I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you might think, including letting go. That’s part of the letting go, is sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, because creativity also grows from the broken places.”
  2. Embrace Difficulties – “Artists also speak about how some of their most powerful work comes out of the parts of life that are most difficult…Richard Ford, who’s won the Pulitzer Prize, says that dyslexia helped him write sentences. He had to embrace this challenge, and I use that word intentionally. He didn’t have to overcome dyslexia. He had to learn from it. He had to learn to hear the music in language.”
  3. Embrace Limitations – “Artists also speak about how pushing up against the limits of what they can do, sometimes pushing into what they can’t do, helps them focus on finding their own voice…Richard Serra had to let go of painting in order to embark on this playful exploration that led him to the work that he’s known for today: huge curves of steel that require our time and motion to experience. In sculpture, Richard Serra is able to do what he couldn’t do in painting. He makes us the subject of his art. So experience and challenge and limitations are all things we need to embrace for creativity to flourish.”
  4. Embrace Losses – “It’s the hardest. It’s the embrace of loss, the oldest and most constant of human experiences. In order to create, we have to stand in that space between what we see in the world and what we hope for, looking squarely at rejection, at heartbreak, at war, at death.”

One illustration that she presented reminded me of the ‘cracked pot’ allegory and broken shards bringing an ever greater beauty…

  • “It’s more than a hundred years old and you can still see the finger marks where the potter pinched it. But as you can also see, this one did break at some point in its hundred years. But the person who put it back together, instead of hiding the cracks, decided to emphasize them, using gold lacquer to repair it. This bowl is more beautiful now, having been broken, than it was when it was first made, and we can look at those cracks, because they tell the story that we all live, of the cycle of creation and destruction, of control and letting go, of picking up the pieces and making something new.”


golden cracks