White Collar Mind, Blue Collar Hands

Heaven is universalI’ve decided the world needs more white collar minds with blue collar hands, and I’m going to be one of them. It’s about intelligence and action. These eternal friends are no longer intended to flirt in bashful ways, but hold hard in forever’s embrace. Why? Because people cannot live on the merits of one without the other. Great thinkers, now more than ever, need to be great doers. In the past, it was permissible for someone to conjure up ideas but not do any of the grunt work. “Someone else will do it for me,” they might crow, perched on their high-chair of thought. If you want to be creative you need to get your hands calloused, sully those finger nails which picked your brain, and use them to scratch away toward realizing your ambitions. It’s okay, you can wash your hands of the days work when you’re done.

It’s a sad perception for the department I vie for. Right now many wonder and scoff: Is creativity even work? Only if it works. What is it that makes a creative project utterly effective and look so graceful? It’s not just the idea, but the intensity of action behind it. Figure skaters and gymnasts make their performances seem as graceful and light as a feather. They might as well be taking a walk in the park–but people forget, it’s anything but. Not only is their graceful performance genuinely trying, but they trained long and hard up to the point to make it appear as effortless as it does before you. Think of it. How many paint strokes did Van Gogh make before turmoil struck over his next movement in a starry sky? How many times had Melville called himself a hack and thrown out his words until his Captain’s rage would change colors from red toward white?

It’s one thing to have the idea, but there needs to be action. You need to sweat for it, fond over it, hate it with your very being, take a shower, and do it all over again. People with ideas are no longer the creative ones in my eyes, they are undeserving of the title. Now we must have a higher standard set forth: Creatives must create. How could you be satisfied with creating an idea, without creating the reality for it? Until I see the creation, until your idea is no longer a merry ghost dancing upon a foundation of grey matter, you will not be creative. You will merely be a lazy body with an active imagination–a person filled with talent and potential, but no drive.

Don’t think me too harsh. I agree there are some ideas beyond our current skill set. When that happens and you say, “I have an idea,” seek people who can say, “I can make it real.” Just remember it’s about the collaboration, not delegation. The two of you are not intended to flirt ability in bashful ways, but come to full embrace–a white collar mind and blue collar hands. I want to cultivate them both in myself and others; I want to cultivate Today.


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