Okay, this blog will not teach you how to fly a horse. It will, however, teach you that “creative genius” is a myth. Here, I will summarize Kevin Ashton’s book “How to Fly A Horse”, which explains why that myth is wrong.
What makes us human? After reading this book, I believe that our strive for innovation, creation, and discovery is what makes us who we are. To leave a legacy of new and improved art, science, and technology for future generations. We ask questions and spend lifetimes and generations searching for answers. We are never satisfied with what we have, and always want to know more, find more, do more, and be more than we were before. Ashton explains that it is not due to a few creative geniuses or brilliant prodigies that we have accomplished so much. Rather, it is due to the common individual who attempts to do something they are passionate about. They try, they fail, they learn, and they repeat. This cycle repeats for generations, innovations are born, and the impossible becomes possible.
“Experience is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things. Of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding, and coordinating.”
Find your passion and pursue it, no matter how absurd the idea may be. Someone in the 18th century (or earlier) sees a bird flying overhead and asks, “How can I fly a horse?” and gets laughed at. Fast forward to today and airplanes fly over 2 million people per day in the US alone. Those who ask the right questions can spark insights that can change the world.
“Rejection educates. Failure teaches. Both hurt. Only distraction comforts. And of these, only distraction can lead to destruction.”
The fear of failure has smothered the ambitions of people time and time again. Those who are successful are those who face their fears and move forward. They trip, stumble, and crawl their way towards their goals. But they always get back up and keep moving, getting stronger every step of the way. You never truly fail until you give up.
“When we envy the perfect creations of others, what we do not see, what we by definition cannot see, and what we may also forget when we look back at successful creations of our own, is everything that got thrown away, that failed, that didn’t make the cut… The trash is not failure but foundation, and the perfect page is its progeny.”
We do not stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand on the shoulders of past generations, who teach us lessons learned time and time again. These lessons build the foundation from which all thought is created. While the most famous person most often gets the credit, we must never stop pushing our capabilities. Read the stories of others who have walked a similar path and expound upon their findings. Absorb the lessons they have learned, and avoid the same mistakes. Be relentless in your pursuit of actionable information.
“Creation is destination, the consequences of acts that appear inconsequential by themselves but that, when accumulated, change the world. Creating is an ordinary act, creation its extraordinary outcome.”
We are each a piece of something connected and complicated, something with such constant presence that it is invisible. The network of love and imagination that is the true fabric of humanity. This may not be a fashionable view among some people. Many seem to believe that human beings are shameful, because of famine, war, climate change, etc. But we are all connected and we are all creative. Creation is contribution, and we must become the change we want to see. We must create for creation’s sake, and hope our creations have the impact we wish to see. Often the greatest contributions are those with the most unimaginable consequences.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. All quotes are by Kevin Ashton in his book How to Fly a Horse.