How well do you respond to difficulty?

Today is March 12 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how well do you respond to difficulty?” Almost everyone that has ever successfully navigated the chaos has learned how to respond to difficulty. Dale Chihuly is one such example.


Chihuly is an American artist, glass sculptor and entrepreneur. Although disinterested in college at first, Chihuly discovered his love of art when is studied abroad in Florence, Italy and eventually graduated from the University of Washington in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design.


Chihuly began experimenting with glassblowing in 1965, and in 1966 he received a full scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He studied under Harvey Littleton, who had established the first glass program in the United States. He has been a hit since 1976, when Henry Geldzahler first acquired three Chihuly glass baskets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Unfortunately, two terrible accidents would force Chihuly to change his career path. A 1976 traffic accident in England blinded his left eye. Ironically, the very element that he turned into art, and made him famous, also nearly killed him as he flew through a glass windshield on a rainy night in England.


Three years later he dislocated his right shoulder in a bodysurfing accident. These two events prohibited Chihuly from holding the pipe involved with glass blowing. Not to be deterred he hired others to do the work.


Unable to create the glass art he taught others and learned how to become “more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, more director than actor." In order for Chihuly to succeed he had to think differently. He needed to approach the making of his glass sculptures from an entirely different point of view. In the pursuit of our dreams life sometimes puts up a brick wall. How we respond is a testament to our character.


British economist John Maynard Keynes noted "The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." Chihuly had to escape his way of blowing glass and develop a new approach. In responding to difficulty are you able to escape old ideas in order to create new ones?


How well do you escape old ideas in order to respond to difficulty?