The Napoleon in Me

Compare yourself to Napoleon? Probably not. Most of us don't identify with the little Frenchman, yet it was Napoleon Bonaparte who said "Imagination rules the world".

Whether we are expressing ourselves in such diverse medias as metal, stone, wood, paint, fabric, yarn, flowers, words, or in an infinite number of other creative modes, imagination is our common factor.

Best remembered as a warrior, Napoleon's successes, including eleven years as the on again, off again, on again, Emperor of France, are often forgotten, and his name has become synonymous with the word, Waterloo, his great, and last defeat.

My guess is that this plucky little man's vivid imagination, possibly his most important attribute, worked overtime, plotting and planning a royal comeback during his last six years, while confined on the island of St. Helena.

While most of us will never soar as high as Napoleon, nor have the misfortune of being imprisoned till death on an island, we can learn from his successes and mistakes.

Let's focus on his successes. Number one, he didn't quit when the going got tough. As a military leader, when one opportunity failed, Napoleon thought of another way to achieve his goal. As a political leader, he broke with tradition and instituted civil laws that are still in use today.

Fast forward to the present, to a modern-day Imagineer, as the late Walt Disney called his engineers.

The May 2012 issue of Costco magazine features an article on Sir James Dyson, inventor extraordinaire. He imagined a better vacuum cleaner.  In his quest to perfect what he imagined such an appliance could be, he created 5,127 prototypes over a period of 13 years. (Make that; FIVE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED, TWENTY SEVEN prototypes & THIRTEEN YEARS!)His ultimate success is a tribute to his creative spirit.

Both Dyson and Bonaparte had fiery imaginations, but they had other attributes that ultimately sealed their successes. They had faith in their vision, and they had bulldog-like tenacity. Along with their vision and tenacity, their imaginations did indeed, rule their respective worlds.

As an artist, I know I can toughen up a bit when a beloved project, a brainchild, doesn't turn out exactly as envisioned, on the first, the fifth, or the tenth try, or is not accepted as well as I might like. (Yes, I am talking to myself here) I can learn from Napoleon and Dyson. Instead of sulking, or giving up, I can use that experience to fire my imagination to create more ideas to express my passion.

And, I can hang in there for the long haul. The creative spirits of Napoleon and Dyson were not fragile.  Mine will not be fragile either!


  1. I love this, Grace! Will have to share it in a bit.

  2. I will try to not feel as fragile and make my first comment on your blog! You have fun ideas. Thank you for sharing.


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