“Creation is not a moment of inspiration . . .”



. . . but a lifetime of endurance.” That’s what author Kevin Ashton says in his book on creativity and innovation titled “How To Fly A Horse.”

While Ashton, an MIT engineer who coined the term “the internet of things”, is not talking about writing but invention, particularly the Wright Brothers, his book describes the long slog of the creative process in a way similar to how Cary Tennis and I have experienced it in working with students at Finishing School.

“Creation is not a moment of inspiration, but a lifetime of endurance. The drawers of the world are full of things begun: unfinished sketches pieces of innovation, incomplete product ideas, notebooks with half formed hypotheses, abandoned patents, partial manuscripts. Creating is more monotony than adventure. It is early mornings and late nights. Long hours doing work that will likely fail or be deleted or erased, a process without progress that must be repeated daily for years. Beginning is hard but continuing is harder. Those who seek a glamorous life should not peruse art, science, innovation or invention anything else that needs new. Creation is a long journey where most turns are wrong and most ends are dead. The most important thing creators do is work. The most important thing they don’t do is quit.”

But how do you stay on this lonely task when repeated failures can be so discouraging? Finishing School helps you define your task to be completed, keep regular appointments with yourself to continue to wrestle with the problem and, gloriously, finish.

Ashton’s interview with Joshua Johnson, who is an excellent and well-prepared interviewer, explores many stories of how inventors persisted, even without the help of Finishing School.