what is worth more, creativity or hard work?

You must have heard the story of the tortoise and the rabbit that raced each other to a finish line. The bunny underestimating the tortoise’s speed took a small nap under the tree while the tortoise walked slowly but steadily to prove himself. Ever wondered what a creative tortoise would do? I bet it would have plugged wheels onto its body and raced past the rabbit! In the original story hard work did pay off but then who can ignore the fact that it was because the rabbit took a nap?

Hard work and creativity tend to sound similar at times. For an entrepreneur, choosing between the two can be really tricky. One reason is that people work hard for different reasons but we can never expect them to score all the time. Robert Safian, the editor and managing director of Fast Company, a top US business magazine said, “Working hard isn’t enough – and can even be a trap.

There is so much information available; we can get sucked into the morass. It is more and more difficult to know which activity is meaningful. Working hard is one thing; working smart is something else.” And truly it is- working endlessly on a problem that has already taken a wrong path may restrain entrepreneurs from moving forward. And so it is important for them to realize what they are really dealing with when they are willing to give a hundred percent for.

Although creativity and hard work intertwine at some levels, their entire definition of ‘work’ is different. Steve Jobs of Apple said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” However, creative people being free-willed and imaginative, do not always melt in easily with rigid structures. For such people, following a to-do list can be very difficult. But chances are that when constraints are put up, creativity might spark as Jack Dorsey the mastermind behind Twitter believes. Dorsey had his employees bring out their creativity by making them work under several constraints. What one aspect of work we usually miss out on when discussing creativity versus hard work, is interest.

Nobody gets anywhere without a strong urge to get something done. If Shyam Kashapati had never taken an interest in the restaurant business while serving tea at his then one-room café in Ratna Park in the 1970s, he would have never been the person behind Nanglo Bakery. Today Mr. Kakshapati is known for coming up with Nepal’s most popular chain of restaurants. To achieve this, he worked hard and came up with creative ideas like beach volleyball in a country where a beach doesn’t even exist. As a result, his business blossomed. Hotel entrepreneur Karna Shakya can be counted in for his interest too. Mr. Shakya is credited with popularizing Thamel after he started the landmark Kathmandu Guest House. His business flourished when he put effort into making a name for himself with it by introducing innovative hotel service to attend to tourists at the time. Even today, tourists choose to stay in Thamel to experience the legacy and the popular stories of its heydays.

Interest is that domain that triggers creativity and also the same vehicle that drives hard work. Without it both hard work and creativity are left weak and meaningless. However, some tasks will require hard work when we don’t have an interest for it. A creative idea can be a fun thing to work on but focusing on just that can create severe damage. Just like the rabbit who thought it was efficient and terrific and didn’t have to try harder. This is where we have to think of balancing creativity and hard work. As new innovative ideas push us closer to success, not putting in the required hard work while digging for creativity might take us away from success. The thing we have to learn is to fill in the void between creativity and hard work.

Hard work then seems to be a responsibility and creativity an opportunity with which we can take a leap and spark an interest in the task at hand. Had the tortoise and the rabbit known this, they would still be racing. At least we got to learn something from them.

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