The Wisdom of Buffoons
Jan Matejko, Poland 1893
The wisdom of buffoons, the disgraced, the outrageous and those just out in left field.
Creative people should learn early on that inspiration or personal direction rarely comes from expected sources. Academia gives us tools, mentors, advice and our peers sometimes provide us with sounding boards. It is the out of context, nutty and odd things we find from time to time that provide the sparks to refreshing creativity.
So here are four wells of knowledge: Reality, the Self, the Work and Confidence. Words by some who have proven they should know something about life and creativity, if only for nothing else than creating themselves.
Quotes thanks to brainyquote.com and goodreads.com
When we begin the best we can do is observe. We are newbies without experience, skill or confidence. Take off the blinders that others have put on you. Look at the world with the wide open eyes of voracious children. Reality is a friend, a cold friend at times, that’s true; but it will serve you better than the rose colored, blue skied , yellow brick road that only fools the less experienced
“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere”
The fear of the bogey man has probably destroyed more sleep and denied more dreams than the statistics of success would allow.
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
“Luftmensch”. One who blows smoke in the air and talks all day, an impractical contemplative person having no definite business or income. The reality of things is only found through experiencing it yourself. Leave the theories to the luftmensch.
“If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?”
Seymour Cray, the father of supercomputing.
A little critical analysis on your part may uncover holes in generally accepted knowledge that others take as the truth. Just because the number is big doesn’t mean it has a higher value. We have all learned early in life that the sky is blue, and yet, it seldom is and a pound of feathers is the source of many bad word problems.
Reality is not only what you make of it. It’s what others would like to make of it for you.
“I apologize for lying to you. I promise I won’t deceive you except in matters of this sort.”
Spiro T. Agnew
“There’s one born every minute…”
“Facts are the enemy of truth.”
Don Quixote – “Man of La Mancha”
What about you? Knowing yourself
“It ain’t what they call you. It’s what you answer to.”
W C Fields
“The worst crime is faking it.”
“All I have is my creativity”
Jack Abramoff, multimillionaire convicted of bribery
“I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand”
Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”
W C Fields
“I’m not funny. What I am is brave.”
“I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can.”
“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”
“We never really know what stupidity is until we have experimented on ourselves.”
“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
Getting to Work, Doing the thing.
“Age Quod Agis”
Latin, “Do what you are doing” or more contemporarily
“Just Do It” Nike.
“Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.”
“Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting.”
“Half this game is ninety percent mental.”
“Write drunk; edit sober.”
“If you’re afraid – don’t do it, – if you’re doing it – don’t be afraid!”
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”
“The more things you do, the more you can do.”
“Ability is of little account without opportunity.”
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
“You got to be careful, if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
“When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.”
George Bernard Shaw
Confidence and Commitment
Knowing not only what you’re doing but why and not worrying about the other guy.
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”
“Polls? Nah…they’re for strippers and cross country skiers.”
“Everybody pities the weak; jealousy you have to earn.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison
“Never give in and never give up.”
Hubert H. Humphrey
“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.”
Richard M. Nixon
“Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.”
Richard M. Nixon
“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”