Saturday, August 11, 2007

"He Lives Well Who Lives Lightly"

Success does not come from hoarding things. Rather, it comes from the pleasure of using familiar things to make something new and unexpected. In that respect, business is every bit as much a creative act as painting or poetry.

The fact that business must produce something that is not only beautiful, but useful as well does not take anything away from the creative nature of the act. Varying standards of beauty often pose a challenge to the appreciation of individuals who do not possess the knowledge of the specialist, but it is beauty, nonetheless. Just because we don't all recognize something as beautiful doesn't mean that it is not.

Finally, like art, business is restless. It constantly seeks new inspiration and new ideas, and stands ready to jettison the old ones. Someone once described capitalism as "institutionalized restlessness."

The words of the contemporary English poet Peter Abbs also describe the genius of the entrepreneur:

He lives well who lives lightly,

hoards nothing,

lets go the air he breathes—
to draw in more.

For more on Peter Abbs, check out this review of his work in "The Economist."

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