The Sfumato Principle

The Sfumato Principle

As humans, our brains crave logic, rational thought, and certainty.

As creators, designers, and achievers, we need to learn to crave the opposite:

  • To embrace uncertainty.
  • To let go.

The word Sfumato is an Italian word that means “going up in smoke” which at the heart of it, is the creative principle that spawns creativity.

When we’re willing to live in uncomfortable uncertainty, willing for our projects to “go up in smoke”, we unlock the creative process herself.

The greatest achievements and creativity are made possible by a willingness to luxuriate in the mystery, to accept the unacceptable, to go beyond the reaching of fact & reason.

The greatest entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and actors are able to enjoy the uncertainty of the creative process.

They give up control and make way for surprises.

Rather than quickly trying to finish a piece of art, or nail a performance or a business idea that is just “okay” — they override their discomfort and give mystery a chance.

In this state, we don’t rush to solve problems. We start seeing unpredictable patterns. We start exploring our untapped abilities and talents to have new experiences that expand our creativity, and happiness.

Take the words of Rainer Maria Rilke to heart:

“Have patience with everything
that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question”

And remember: Tolerance for uncertainty is our subway token to possibility.

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