The relationship between business and art may seem a bit hazy, but there are some stark similarities. Foremost is the shared challenge of taking a nascent idea and bringing it to life.
Ideas, whether artistic or entrepreneurial, are by nature, locked away in the human mind. It’s only through experimentation, creativity, and collaboration that they are able to be made manifest, and to address some aspect of human need. Not surprisingly, these are the very ingredients necessary in all of business and art. You wouldn’t be far off if you were to describe both the businessperson and the artist, as idea-revealers.
Making ideas of any sort, tangible, always begins with a process of reduction, leaving only that, which serves the final result. Successful idea-revealers often end up with what they believe is relevant and good, but since, at the start, their ideas contain the possibility of purveying anything and everything, they inevitably face a struggle over what to leave in and what to leave out. Their real work then becomes one of cutting away excess, getting rid of the superfluous, until the desired emotion or, (in the case of business), utility, is revealed. No idea-revealer has ever been able to skip the step of wending his or her way through a chaotic, stew of possibilities. They must chip away at that chaos until the beauty of their seminal idea becomes apparent.
As idea-revealers winnow their ideas, they also pare down what is extraneous in their own lives, the noise in their lives —a noise, which, so often derives from people’s expectations. Society dictates what they should believe, how they should think, and how they should measure their own capabilities. Protecting themselves from the sway of this, often, negative influence takes a resilience that must constantly be strengthened.
Idea-revealers are unique, in that they possess extremely strong points of view. The most successful among them make a concerted effort to examine their own values, and then, to purvey those values in their speech, in their actions, and through their work. Idea-revealers know what they will, or will not do for money for fame. They know exactly how far they will go when it comes to compromise on their vision. This clarity around their sense of purpose is how they guard against external pressures and move constantly forward in the implementation of their ideas. For an idea-revealer, skill-sets and acumen alone will never suffice as a bulwark against the barrage of naysaying they will invariably encounter.
In the grand scheme, the idea-revealer’s job is to point humanity past the immediate, past the already known and already believed, to wondrous things —things obtainable only through tireless diligence, deep conversation, true collaboration, and perhaps most of all, empathic insight into the human condition. At their best, both the artist and the businessperson are able to reveal that the ‘impossible’ is not waiting at a distance, but rather, it is within us even now.
Originally published in Forbes