For years I’ve wondered about what distinguish a great work to the ‘not-great’ ones. The easy answer for it of course is to say that the creator are extremely talented and genius. But, that is not enough for me. If it is only about intelligence, trust me, I’ve met a lot of genius people, but not all of them create great work. Some of them, ironically, just become people who talk more than do without really create real things that matters. I’ve met a lot of talented people, but their prowesses are overshadowed by other things in their life, and they end up create nothing close to deliver great work.

When I observed the story of people who makes great creation, I sense several qualities in their works. Those qualities are emotionally provoking, cognitively inspiring and positively energizing. Emotionally provoking, because their works evoke people’s feelings. They make people love them. Or, they make people hate them, but still couldn’t forget them. Cognitively inspiring, as they make us think about what they want. Through their work, they attract us, draw our curiosity, and sometimes, even give us insights or inspirations. And at the end, they are also positively energizing, by which the feelings and inspiration we got from their work prompt us to do something. Not only inviting fascination on their work, they also give us a ‘push’ to take action.

OK, now let’s get grounded a bit. Let’s not just  talk about great people who creates great works. Let’s talk about people around us who do special things.

Yes, I’m sure we all can find at least a few people around us, that we  may see them as common people, who actual do special things. They perhaps are just professional people who have done good changes in their job. Or, just very humble people who are very devoted to their responsibility, and bring unexpected mind-opening results. These people deliver qualities that represents great works, even though they are not the smarter people in the room or the creme de la creme talent of the year. Therefore, I’m sure these qualities are not just coming from intelligence, skill or talents. There must be some kind of source where these great creator find the right energy to produce great work.

And then I stumbled to this word…….Muse!

I found this as the easiest way to explain how we get our inspiration and energy on what we are doing. Yes, a muse. Or, perhaps the better way to call it as ‘the muse’, since a muse is a personal thing which can be in any kind of form. Something can be your muse, while my muse probably is someone, instead of something. The muse can be everything or everyone.

OK, what is the ‘muse’ I’m talking about here?

If you are looking for literal definition, go get your dictionary, or find one in the web. I’ll jump directly to the commonly used meaning of it. The muse often times refer to the person that inspire us in what we are doing. In many cases, the muse is a woman. The word muse itself was inspired by Greek goddesses, so I guess it is not surprising to find that muse is somewhat female in nature.

“The Muse” photographed by Oliver Meyer

Nevertheless, I have a different way to look at it. I think the reference of female nature here is not necessarily limited in gender perspective. I think of it as the nature of aesthetic and emotional perspective. In a simple word, it is about the beauty.

In my definition, the muse is the inspiring beauty, which is not exclusively attached to a female person only. Beauty can also be seen in things in our surrounding. It can be seen from small stuffs in our work desk, or a happening event in our neighborhood. Thus, the inspiring beauty can be from anyone, anything, anywhere around us. The muse can take different form. It could be someone who inspire our creations. It could be a place where the energy and inspiration of our work came from. It is something or someone with an aesthetic quality, a beauty in our mind, which gives us energy to create special things that marked our great work.

And when this muse is absent, we feel that our work is soulless, flat, empty, or dry. Even worse, we just not into our work. Our passion is lost, our energy is drained. We just physically doing things we call as work, but actually we are lacking of inspiration to make our work valuable.

As for my personal take on it, I say that a muse is indeed a quality that inspire my work, and it is primarily about the artistry of things I’m doing rather than the work itself.  It is beyond a physical elements. It is a quality that inspire the beauty in everything Ido. It is an aesthetic quality that inspire me to do what I do best, and deliver s state-of-the-art result. It makes me love what I do, and want to do it again and again. And, when the muse is absence, I fell empty and dry in what I do.

OK, enough about my muse. What about your muse?


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