Most cringe at the thought of “wasting” 20 hours on a plane. But to me this has been a gift – I get nearly a full day plugged into my laptop and tablet as I jet from New York to Qatar to Malaysia.
After obliterating my inbox, I explored new ideas, wrote segments for my next book, crunched data in Excel, and invented new tools for our growing community of Certified Outthinker Growth Strategists.
THIS is what I love. This is the work that pulls me up when I get knocked down. This is me in the zone, living my passion, fulfilling my purpose.
And yet we so rarely give ourselves this kind of time. I imagine Leonardo da Vinci filled his days with such tinkering, as did the inventors of our modern world – Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo. Albert Einstein argued that play is the highest form of research. A great new book called Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson argues that the most transformative human innovations were born of play.
Yet today we fill our days so completely with either work or play – our desks or devices – that we leave too little grey area for the space in between, when your work blends into play, when you exert yourself passionately without the hunt for an outcome. When are we going to be the artist who paints for ourselves instead of the market?
Picasso painted masterpiece after masterpiece yet rarely sold a painting in his life. If he had painted what people said they wanted – if he had sat in front of his canvas and asked “what are people buying today?” – we might all have been robbed of brilliance.
Take a tip from Picasso, from Einstein or da Vinci or Galileo. Sit down without an end in mind. Turn off your phone. Turn off that voice in your head telling you what you think people want from you. Just pick up your pen/brush/keyboard and start creating from nothing whatever your passions guide you to.
In that magical field between work and play you will find your passion.