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The Creator Gene

by Anthony Bontrager on October 24, 2013

“I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher, but, above all, I am a man. A hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you.”

– Lancaster Dodd, The Master


Tony Stark


What is it that makes us build?  Compels us to seek the signal through the noise; and rather than swat its irksome buzzing, read its sign, identify its origin and race toward its conclusion?

The traits that make up what I call the “Creator Gene” are many and varied.  A tendency toward natural leadership, a disregard for tradition, a willingness to fail, excessive self-motivation, competitiveness, and a deep, deep curiosity – all bound together by a little OCD.

It is this gene that makes us the real 1-percenters – not because of some wealth statistic published by a political party – but because we possess that preternatural disposition to solving the known and sometimes-unknown problem or need.  Standing by our own judgment, in the face of sometimes-difficult odds  – we say simply: This is how it should be.

“I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

– Howard Roark, The Fountainhead

But what is it we really seek and what is it worth to us?

The answer to the first part is different for each of us.  Some use their gift for the thrill of creating something exciting and new, some use it for wealth or fame, while others use it altruistically.  For the second, it’s the same for us all – it is worth the sweat, the financial cost and sometimes the loneliness to do what we know to be right and build what we know to be good.

Sure we may be wrong – not in the “doing” per se – but wrong in our assumptions, market readiness, product fit, etc.  And this is ok.

We learn by doing.  Knowing (or perhaps hoping) that we don’t make the same mistake next time.  But even if we do, we keep at it – iterating again and again in our never-ending quest to create.

And this is how it should be…


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