Every Act of Creation Is First an Act of Destruction

October 1, 2014

Creating something new usually requires us to let go of something old. As Pablo Picasso said, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”

Transitions are painful because they destroy the status quo, pushing us beyond our comfort zones. Times of change are most excruciating for those most deeply vested in the old way of doing things.

New Growth

“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” – Pablo Picasso

Like many companies, my employer (the American Red Cross) is undergoing yet another major, national reorganization. The details have yet to be finalized, but one this is certain: Things will change. Dramatically!

We are in that phase of the creative process focusing on “destruction” (to use Picasso’s word). Within a few weeks, however, we should learn the details of the “act of creation.”

Uncertainty abounds. The winds of change continue to howl around us. Though I’m uncertain of many things, of this I am certain: Those who thrive in the new reality will be those who embrace Picasso’s wisdom. They will understand that something is being destroyed so something new can be created.

Not everything makes sense, but I’ll sort through the confusion and figure out how to succeed in this new reality. As I move forward, I’ll keep reminding myself of what Henry Miller, the American author, once said: “Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.”

The futurist Alvin Toffler paralleled Picasso’s sentiment when he said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

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More Wisdom for Life’s Transitions

October 22, 2009
  1. The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything.  Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences…The world doesn’t fear a new idea.  It can pigeon-hole any idea.  But it can’t pigeon-hole a real new experience. D.H. Lawrence
  2. Every path to a new understanding begins in confusion. Mason Cooley
  3. The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster. Rosabeth Moss Cantor
  4. When things reach maturity, they decay of themselves. Lao Tzu
  5. Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you…Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition. Florida Scott-Maxwell Read the rest of this entry »

Wisdom for Life’s Transitions

October 20, 2009
  1. Most people do not resist change. What we resist is transition. Change is a situational shift. Transition, on the other hand, is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either. William Bridges
  2. Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood. Henry Miller
  3. There is a time for departure, even when there’s no certain place to go. Tennessee Williams
  4. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Anonymous
  5. The door into life generally opens behind us, and a hand is put forth which draws us in backwards. George MacDonald Read the rest of this entry »

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