Being prolific

So being prolific is the key to having great ideas. In creativity matters, there’s no tradeoff between quantity and quality: it is only through quantity that you get quality.

We should abandon the myth of the genius that only has great ideas. It seems that every piece of work created by a genius is brilliant, but that happens because only their greatest creations get any publicity at all. The truth is that they could never have generated such brilliant creations without being tremendously productive. Consider these examples:

  • Einstein is famous for his theory of relativity, but he published 248 other papers.
  • Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when ill or fatigued.
  • Mozart produced more than 600 musical works.
  • Thomas Edison held 1093 patents. Imagine the amount of his non-patented work…

Another interesting fact about breakthrough ideas is that their quality is completely unrelated to the quality of other ideas by the same person. As a matter of fact, if you look at many geniuses’ most prolific periods, you’ll find a common pattern: it was exactly when they produced their masterpieces that they also produced their greatest failures.

Great innovators, then, don’t seem to care about having remarkable ideas: all they care about is having ideas – any ideas, lots and lots of them, anywhere and at anytime.

We need to feel free to create - and to do this, we need a supportive environment.