This took me twenty years to learn and I’m sharing it in 600 words.
It’s bizarre to say that it took me almost twenty years to fully appreciate the difference between the creative and business worlds.
In the business world I’m considered a creative yet I always bristle at that tag.
The global definition of ‘creative’ has changed a lot in my lifetime.
When I was a teen, creatives were people who ‘ran away with the circus.’
Creative heroes were those who suffered the slings and arrows of their (mis)fortune.
They suffered for their art as they poured their emotions into everything they did.
Those who followed their hearts for whom success was a by-product.
These were my idols.
It’s been my great privilege to work with a great selection of these souls. I see myself as an enabler for these people. Someone who appreciates their needs and helps them with what needs to happen for them to connect with the world.
In the late 90s with the dawn of the mainstream web 1.0 I began to start visiting the business world for increasingly lengthy sojourns.
In the decades since the business and creative worlds seemed to me like different neighbourhoods in the same city. Over time I became accustomed to the differences and the similarities between the various motivations, inspirations and egos at play.
It took an observation in a Dublin cafe to deliver this Aha! moment I’m sharing with you now.
I was waiting for a friend in Il Valentino cafe. It’s become my favourite coffee shop in the Silicon Docks area.
A woman a couple of tables over was taking a work call.
During the call she was viewing images on her device.
It was apparent she was approving a design related job involving these images.
Her entire being radiated a sense of just not giving a damn about what she was doing.
I don’t know how else to say this but she just seemed like she couldn’t give less of a shit about what she was doing.
As I watched her I realised that I’d encountered and worked with people like her all of the time.
In the business world.
Never in the creative world.
It hit me.
People in the creative world only do things they care about.
Most people in the creative world subsidise what they do by accepting lower pay versus what they could earn in the business world.
Creatives do what they do because of this genuine passion which Fintan O’Toole laughably lampooned in The Irish Times today.
The reason why the business world wants passionate people is because they understand the power and value of creativity.
It sounds obvious to the point of banality but passion and creativity are the creative world’s greatest powers.
The business world and the creative world are both missing massive opportunities.
Creatives need to learn how to monetise what they do better.
The business world needs to learn how to provide better products and services that people can be truly passionate about.
To survive in tomorrow’s business landscape you need to learn how to harness creativity to generate true passion and the world’s most passion hungry companies are full of employees who couldn’t care less about their jobs. That’s why every job ad cries out for passionate people.
Fintan O’Toole’s piece is right about one thing.
You can’t fake passion.
If the business world really wants passion it needs to learn from true creatives and understand what drives them.