There Are No Mistakes
The idea that we can make mistakes is ridiculous to me. I know it's prominent in our psyche but it shows a real inability to see the reality of a situation.
The truth is that there are no mistakes – period.
Mistakes mean failure at some level or other, and to most of society failure means you're incapable, worthless, useless, less than normal, outside the circle.
It's bollocks lads.
I don't care if you're a painter, poet, writer, plumber, corporate professional, street sweeper or whatever, mistakes are other people's ideas.
The idea we make mistakes kills our creativity.
This is why so many creative people burn up in business.
The business world is focused on results and numbers and everything right now.
Competition is the primary driver.
If you don't get there first someone else will take your share and so we believe this bullshit and get sucked in.
Investing In The Outcome
I remember when I was 15 or 16, I just started my apprenticeship. An older sparks I was working with said to me…
Anything worth doing is worth doing right kid. Shortcuts are for wankers.
Although, I reckon I already had something built in that meant I gave a fuck about doing stuff right anyway.
Now of course the definition of “right” is one for debate. But to me it means being focused, bringing a high degree of attention to the detail to the task.
There is an investment in the outcome but that outcome is for my own sake. The easy road is not an option, in fact the longer the road the better.
Sure I fuck things up, but that's part of the process.
Besides, fucking things up doesn't mean I made a mistake – Like I said, there are no mistakes.
Going the long road means we get to know the thing. This is the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell speaks of that we need to put in, in order to become an expert.
What we should be doing is setting up institutions and structures that allow people to spend the time and effort to reach mastery – Malcolm Gladwell
To be an artist takes longer. It's more like 20,000 hours to reach that point.
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Trusting The Creative Process
In all creative endeavour be that a business, sport, art or otherwise, there must be state of presence, a feeling of being really inside the thing.
We can't possibly project ourselves into some kind of future and expect to create something worthwhile. It's just not going to end well.
Now that kind of goes against some of the prominent thought around goal setting and planning, doesn't it.
I mean, we've got to plan right? We've got to make it happen.
“If it is to be it is up to me” and all the shite.
Now that statement might hold some truth but I feel it has been bastardised by too many people who don't know what it means.
It implies that we've got to force the world into submission. Pin the universe down by the throat and demand we get what we want.
You're a creative person, you know that this doesn't work.
We've got to be self directed.
Trust the process.
Taking other people's ideas and expecting them to fit our stage of progress won't work most of the time.
We've got to take the space and time to just wait.
To just do the work, create the thing simply for the sake of it and see where it takes us.
Creativity Is Not About Perfection, Yet It Is
Creativity is a bit of a double edged sword.
On the one hand striving for perfection is counter productive, it will almost kill the creative process from the start.
On the other hand, by just letting go of the need to be perfect we have the opportunity to create something great.
Now, be careful here, because the voice in your head will tell you that you should be planning, working towards getting it right.
This is especially so if you are building a small business around your skill or art.
Your mind is a dangerous bastard!
She'll lead you down the wrong road and that can add lots of pain and difficulty if you listen to it.
On the other hand if we listen to the small voice, the quieter one, good shit happens.
I think it was an Oscar acceptance speech, Spielberg said he didn't have a choice. It almost came up from behind him. The dream wasn't out in front.
Sometimes a dream almost whispers, it never shouts…
When we bury ourselves in the creative process purely for the sake of it then hard or easy doesn't come into it.
The irony of all of this is when we take what seems to be the hard road, the easy road eventually shows itself.