Productivity Secrets of a “Supergenius”

A friend was discussing her fears around her writing, and, in particular, of taking on bigger projects than she could handle, when she came up with a great comparison: “I feel like Wile E. Coyote when he goes off the edge of a cliff. Then he looks down and realizes he’s gone too far, but it’s too late, and down he goes.”

She was conveying a real sense of fear. (Falling off a cliff, even in a cartoon, is scary!) And yet…something about the comparison felt off. I thought for a moment, and then pointed out: “But he always survives the fall, doesn’t he?”

She paused. “Uh, yes. I guess he does.”

“And then he goes on with the chase?”


I think it’s fair to say my friend’s attitude shifted at that moment.

In fact, her comparison was more apt than she realized. As a creator, it’s actually your job to “run off the cliff”—i.e., take risks. And that, by definition, means you’ll fall (a.k.a., fail) a lot. It’s essential you not overreact to those failures when they happen. Even better, stop looking at them as failures! They’re just ordinary parts of the creative process, and a creative life. (More here.)

Just like Wile E., you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep on going.

Here are two ways you can improve on Wile E:

1) Hopefully you can learn a bit from the experience so as not to repeat the same mistake over and over. (For a self-proclaimed supergenius, he never seems to learn!)

2) Keep going, and sooner or later you’re likely to “catch your Roadrunner”- meaning, create something you’re proud of, and that you feel was worth the struggle.

So, unlike poor Wile E., you can eventually expect a happy ending!

Do you find inspiration from an unusual fictional or historical character? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Please share it as a comment below, or I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.

BTW – I knew I couldn’t be the first to derive productivity lessons from Wile E., and sure enough I’m not.

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