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Today is all about being creative under pressure. In the workplace, whether you are a person doing creative work in a non-creative industry, or a person doing creative work in a creative industry, we all work to various deadlines, and you need to know how to harness your creative process in a hurry!
The best example of successfully doing creative work under pressure is fairly ancient. The story of ‘One thousand and one nights’, also known as ‘Arabian nights’, is the story of Scheherezade in Arabia.
A portrait of Princess Dunyazade (‘The Coffee Bearer’) by John Frederick Lewis
When a Persian king, Shahryar, discovers that his wife has been unfaithful to him, he has her executed. He keeps on marrying a bunch of women, but each time, he executes her the morning after their wedding, before she has a chance to be unfaithful to him. It is the vizier’s job to provide these virgins to marry the king, but one day he finds they’ve run out! So his daughter, Scheherezade, convinces her father to let her be the next bride.
On the night of Scheherezade’s marriage to the king, she begins telling the king a tale, but she doesn’t give him the ending. He’s so curious to know how the story ends that he doesn’t execute her the next morning. He figures he’ll just wait until he’s heard the ending, then execute her the next morning. But that night, Scheherezade finishes that story and starts right into a new one. But she doesn’t finish it! So the king is forced to keep her alive for one thousand and one nights.
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