I’m a big fan of the Volkswagen bus…it’s big eye headlights, quirky, yet functional shape, and how its very image is a symbol of simpler, wilder times. Endearments aside, the VW bus is also an engineering masterpiece, as described in an article on Quartz.com by Chris Ebbert, titled “The Magic Recipe That Caused Hippies To Fall In Love With The Incredible, Enduring Volkswagen Van.”
Adapted from the VW Beetle, the bus used advanced and unconventional technology to re-imagine what was generally an uncomfortable experience for van drivers. Ebbert explains:
“The VW van—sometimes known as the Type 2 (the Beetle was Type 1)—changed all this by shifting its air-cooled engine to the back altogether, allowing the driver and passenger to enjoy a relatively spacious compartment without much engine noise or engine heat.”
While you’ve gotten a quick history lesson on German auto manufacturing, this post is also about creativity—specifically, having the ability to notice a problem and try to fix it. As I’m beginning to realize in my own life, creative people often experience a gap between what they need to do versus what they think they should do, or what everyone else is doing. It’s so often that we don’t pay attention to this need, whether it be to slow down our work, speed up, or go in a new direction, even if it seems scary or overwhelming.
Creativity is not one size fits all, and as the VW bus shows, sometimes we have to shift things around to make it fit into our lives, taking into account our own comfort and sustainability as an artist.
This might mean blogging less, creating more work, or creating less in order to increase quality or play around with a larger scale. In my case, it means letting go of one definition of success so I can enjoy the work I do rather than constantly measuring it as not good enough because it didn’t achieve the outcome I wanted.
Like the VW bus, adaptability is key:
“Body construction was adaptable, and a large number of different types emerged over time, including delivery vans and micro passenger buses with any number of windows and window configurations. There were pickups, crew cabs with four doors, and, obviously, campers—some with folding roofs or raised roofs.”
Creativity belongs to you, and it has to fit your lifestyle. As Ebbert further states: “…the possibilities for personalization and adaptation allowed a break from conformity.”
That break from conformity created an icon that became an enduring success. Similarly, imagine what you might be able to create if you changed and adapted the way creativity flows through your life. When you create, remember the VW bus and be willing to shift and adapt when necessary.