If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.
Sometimes it’s too easy to dismiss the success of others. They stumbled into the right scene at the right time. They were born under a lucky star or, better yet, into the right family. Often creators themselves will downplay their talent and attribute the majority to fate because no one will deny the wealth of fantastic ideas and brilliant people out there. Still so few get past the idea stage. It’s time to stop shaking your fist at the clouds that you weren’t living in Cupertino in the 70s because, let me let you in on a secret, even if you made that time machine you would still need to make it Cupertino in the 70s. If it weren’t Steve Jobs doing it, you would have to bring the magic yourself.
This is what Jeff Goins suggests in his article, “The Unfair Truth About How Really Creative People Succeed” is that we are not victims of the vicissitudes of fate but in fact, “luck can be created or at least improved”.
The short version: Goins meditates on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi systems approach to creativity. He breaks down his terms: the domain, the field, the individual, and applies these to Hemingway’s literary success once he moved Paris. Sure it was an ideal time to be a writer in Paris, what dumb luck hobnobbing with Fitzgerald and boxing with Pound. But the truth is Hemingway had already cultivated his writing in Chicago but it was in poor neighborhood in Paris where he got connected to a field of influencers like Gertrude Stein (also famous for propelling Picasso and Matisse into the spotlight), and was able to enter their creative domain.
My biggest takeaway was “without a network creative work does not endure”.
" Great art does not come about through a single stroke of genius, but by the continual effort of a community. "
Hemingway would have always been a fantastic writer but he wouldn’t be bow-down-in-his-literary-presence Hemingway if it weren’t for the community he not only benefited from but invested in.
Goins shares his own application of the systems approach which entailed overcoming shyness, tossing aside ego, and reaching out to influential people around him. He started by asking his role models, people he had never spoken to before, if he could interview them for his blog. And guess what? They said yes.
So whether it is your idea for a startup, that how-to book you’ve been meaning to write, or a stellar tech invention networking is key. This you know- but how Goins understands networking is fascinating.
He suggests any creative thinker and businessman must:
It’s not just the time or the place but instead the cultivating that creative environment with others. Forget luck. If you’re in tech in OC fleeing to Silicon Valley to make it big may not be the only solution. Create your dream city with influencers and mentorship and you will find yourself in your own “Paris” and maybe, just maybe, if you play your cards right, wink wink, you will create something enduring yourself.