An idea hangs around me lately about what I do and what I like.
It is delight.
Those things that make you smile. That make you nostalgic. That bring you simple joy.
I realize my favorite things are the things that delight me.
In a culture bent on commerce, utility, and popularity, delight is something forgotten.
In listening to a recent podcast, I heard BJ Novak criticize Christopher Nolan’s movies on the basis that they didn’t make people smile.
Surprisingly, I agree. Despite their well crafted nature, I’m not sure they brought delight.
Compare that to picking up a 30 year old video game like Mario Bros. on NES. That game still holds up and makes me smile like a kid again.
I don’t know how well Creative Pursuit will hold up over time, but for me it has that quality. When I read it, I’m delighted.
I didn’t think about that until the very end of the editing process. Then, I tweaked chapter endings to inspire.
It wasn’t a lot of words. Just a few. Maybe a new sentence.
Those tiny changes delighted me.
That reaction, my reaction. I believe it sits at the heart of what I consider great work.
The reaction we call delight.
For a moment we touch something divine, maybe perfect. That feeling courses through us and is gone in an instant.
It makes you sigh and remember it fondly when it’s gone. You can revel in the nostalgia of it.
If you could bottle delight, you’d be the most successful company in the world. In fact, for the last twenty years one company has.
It’s more than solving a problem or making someone happy. It’s about making someone smile.
That is different.
That is delightful.
P.S. I unpack more ideas in Creative Genius