I’ve been reading Creativity: The Perfect Crime by Philippe Petit, a great book emphasizing a drastically different approach to creativity from the perspective of a high-wire walker. In the book, he writes an entire chapter about how he approaches both chaos and order in his creative process. As a creative, I understand order, but I never really considered the benefits of chaos. As I become more mature in my career, the less I want to deal with the chaotic: the unknown, the disconnected, and the nonlinearity that is our digital and hyper-connected world.
Quotes from Creativity: The Perfect Crime
“Chaos for me cannot be still: I make it move! I gallop as fast as I can along its path, to keep the pace of my excitement high. I must not lose the passion that drives me” (p. 20).
“In chaos, all is possible. Every incoming idea is welcomed, with no regard for reality. Forget time, money, or reason; embrace a brimming universe! Because if you start with rules, your creation will be stillborn.
But ideas should not be left floating around aimlessly; I tie them to one another—in no particular order—with the rope of intuition. They are my prisoners; I know where to find them at all times. This gives me power and freedom: I can break rules, I can be daring” (p. 20).
“Making lists is my way of raking ideas into a critical mass before I work them out. While my pen scribbles and order settles in, my imagination runs ahead, anticipating creation.
I invite you to be curious about where your passion leads, to transport its explosive demeanor into the kind of chaos that finds order. What are the wonders with which you wish your creative cornucopia to be filled when you wake up in the middle of the night? List them!” (p. 34)
Five ways to embrace, and not eliminate, chaos so you can find order:
- You can’t have order without chaos.
- Instead of eliminating chaos, it’s about finding the path, the connections, the ideas that connect chaos with order.
- Look for patterns, loops, and evidence of organization in the chaos and the order.
- Make chaos part of your process.
- Disconnect the effects chaos from affecting your identity.