I was asked this question by a Jewish Rabbi a very long time ago and still the ramifications of it linger on, nearly thirty years later.
I can attempt to answer the question by asking a second one, ‘What is the difference between the song ‘Born to be Wild’ by Mars Bonfire (made famous by the band Steppenwolf) and the great B Minor Mass from J.S. Bach?’ There are a number of obvious answers, the first being length: Steppenwolf’s song takes only 2 minutes fifty five seconds to perform and the B Minor mass very much longer. The B Minor Mass has a (necessarily) complex structure; Born to be Wild does not. But the real difference is that one represents unbridled adventure and the other duty and sense of purpose. But both portray the very passion of life in their deepest forms.
Our lives are a necessary balance between three key items; pure fun (‘feel good’ actions), work and responsibility. The trouble is that too often we long to try to combine all three. The result being that we become dissatisfied and ineffective in all of them.
Project Managers need structure to be able to plot the tasks that need to be performed in order to achieve the goals that combine together to reach the overall objective of their projects. In most cases, the more understanding of the structure they and their project team have, the better. Like the B Minor Mass, it is the structure that guides and enables their creativity, giving it form and meaning. (Give a child a massive sheet of paper and twenty different colored pens, twenty tubes of paint with differing sized brushes and ask them to draw whatever they like, and then give the same child a small sheet of writing paper and two colored pens and ask them to draw a picture of happiness. Observe which result is the most creative and which gives the child the most pleasure).
For most teenagers the important things in life are all driven by passion and are necessarily short lived; parties, concerts, one night stands, friendships. Therefore, a song that simply bursts life and passion and fires the brain with an incredible desire for something more than what their parents have, need only last a few minutes.
In the spirit of ‘Born to be Wild’ an entrepreneur may start a new business, a new adventure. An adventure is exciting, it is always new and unknown, it nearly always involves risks and that drives the adrenaline. But without structure and planning adventures quickly become dull and too difficult, and more often than not fail. Over time we find the necessary balance between adventure and project management, and we learn to separate the two, keeping just enough controlled energy and passion over to make our work as much fun as it can be.
So what is the answer to the Rabbi’s question; ‘How do you Make God Laugh?’
Answer: ‘You tell him your plans’.