Friday, 18 January 2013

Stay with it

The main theme of the 1st movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto is an eloquently long phrase that seems to last and last. As it progresses it seems to come to life: slowly growing, blossoming and maturing and then ever so gradually resigning itself to its eventual gently quietening conclusion.

By staying with his initial idea and allowing his mind to accompany it along its path, developing it in an unhurried and natural way, Elgar achieves what all great composers are capable of: he realises the innate potential of his idea. He is then able to use it as the foundation for a fully worked out and extended piece of music.

We often think of very good initial ideas but then, for one reason or another, we fail to stay with them: not giving them the time and attention needed to explore them fully and realise their potential.

The next time you have a new idea imagine yourself helping it to grow. Travel with it along its lifeline at its own natural pace. Watch it develop and gently encourage it to blossom. Once it has blossomed do not be too quick to assume that you have realised its full potential. Continue to nurture it for as long as possible. You may then find that previously hidden benefits accrue, not only as the blossoming continues but also as it begins to fade. Previously unappreciated thoughts that have been supporting the flowering idea may (like leaves in autumn) begin to present new hues, patterns and perspectives that add unexpected insights and value. Or perhaps unexpected offshoots previously obscured by the blossoming of your idea will be more easily seen and followed.  

Stay with and nurture your ideas from their beginnings to their apparent endings and they will repay you tenfold and more with the immense power of their fully realised potential.

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