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Creative mind has the spirit of a warrior. The warrior throughout history has embodied the qualities of clear intent, fearlessness, determination, and a willingness to conquer new territory. A warrior goes into battle with the purpose of conquering the enemy. The enemies of a creative mind are rutted mental pathways, laziness and lack of purposeful intent to create.

The quintessential warrior is the martial artist or Zen archer. What is so remarkable about the Zen tradition is that the martial arts were born because Zen monks needed to defend themselves yet did not want to cause harm or carry any weapons. As a result they trained and disciplined their own body and mind into serving as their weapon. They also relied upon their opponent's weaknesses to succeed. It is the opponent who defeats himself, the martial artist is so disciplined and mindful during battle that he allows this to occur. The martial artist does not have inflexible habits that prevent him from making the appropriate move in the moment. The Zen archer becomes one with the target, knowing that he, the bow and the target are one. The arrow represents his will and when perfectly aligned pierces the target.

Another wonderful example of the creative warrior is that of the British mathematician, Andrew Wiles, who solved Fermat's last theorem. I watched an excellent documentary on his creative process and was very moved by his dedication to resolve this "insoluble" problem. Though Fermat stated that he had resolved this problem, no one could find the proof in his writings.

t is the simplest of mathematical equations: x2 + y2 = z2. In 1637, French mathematician, Pierre de Fermat, said that this equation could not be true for x3 + y3 = z3 or for any equation xn + yn = zn where n is greater than 2. Though at first glance it would appear that a computer could solve this, to date no computer program has been able to devise the mathematical proof in formula form that solves for all numbers, nor is any computer capable of doing so.

Wiles employed several methods in resolving this problem that to my mind qualify him as a creative warrior. First, he did not rely on a computer to do the calculations, but used his own mind to run through the variables and their results. Second, this proof took more than seven years of his life, working completely alone.

Creative Warrior

The future has several names.
For the weak it is the impossible.
For the fainthearted
it is the unknown.
For the thoughtful and valiant
it is the ideal."

Victor Hugo


Third, his dedication to the solution was undaunted by any of the numerous failures he suffered, even the humiliation when his first proof was found to have a fatal flaw. This flaw was circulated throughout the entire mathematical and scientific community. He showed pure courage when he continued to work on a problem that none of his peers was willing to tackle.


As Wiles recounted the moment of his final inspiration he was visibly moved and emotionally overcome. The missing element was understood in a flash of intuition, as is most monumental creative work. True inspiration is a gift that is not lightly received or casually discounted. As a result of his continued dedication, self-discipline, willingness to explore new territory, and open mindedness to intuit the answer, he accomplished what no one else had dared to try. Great achievements are brought to fruition in this way.

To embody the qualities of the creative warrior you simply need to adopt the following attitudes:

  • Be clear in your intent to design a work of art or resolve a problem. Know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish.
  • Be resolved to see the solution through to the end. Time is not a factor, nor are any roadblocks.
  • Have the courage to venture into the unknown, even if you don't understand where you're going or why this new path will lead you to your goal.

These are three simple attitudes that will allow you to accomplish anything you desire. Consistent creativity depends upon them. If developed as commonplace modes of thought, you will acquire the character traits and produce the works that genius realizes.

© J.L. Read, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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This site is dedicated in loving memory
to its creator, Janet L. Read
1949 — 2000


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