I’m often asked, “Which is more important? Creativity or discipline?”
The answer is “yes.”
I was 21 when I was first bestowed with the title Program Director. I obviously didn’t know much about programming at that age, but I had the lowest voice on the air staff, had my own car, and laughed at the boss’ jokes.
In the decades since, I’ve coached a few air talent, trained a couple of program directors, and taught up to a few general managers that thought they could program a radio station.
Over the years I’ve found that ones quickest to learn were the ones with one of two things in their background; music or acting.
Musicians and actors understand what many others find a challenging concept; both creativity and discipline are important ingredients to our success.
“Every medium carries within itself inherent limitations, and every artist also comes with limitations. True creativity is not the outflow of a world without boundaries. The creative act is the genius of unleashing untapped potential and unseen beauty with the constraints and boundaries of the medium from which we choose to create. Creativity not only happens within boundaries and limitations, but in fact it is dependent on those limitations.”
~Erwin McManus, “The Artisan Soul”
The musician embraces the discipline of theory, technique, and practice. The actor learns his lines, where to stand and look, and to not anticipate another’s lines.
Each understands performance, expression, and improvisation.
“Embracing the limitation can actually drive creativity.”
Embracing both discipline and creativity can result in word art handwritten with the name of every Baltimore Oriole player in the 25 year history of Camden Yards or a situation comedy’s theme music performed by a single bass guitar.
But often the creative aren’t disciplined, and the disciplined aren’t creative.
The result is often three minutes of babbling… or concise dullness.
What if we embraced creativity and discipline as two sides of the same coin? I think it was Plato who said necessity is the mother of invention. (Or was it Frank Zappa?)
Yes, every musician wants to jam. But the biggest hits are all three minutes.