“Choosing is a creative process, one through which we construct our environment, our lives, ourselves.” – Sheena Iyengar
As creative people we have to make a lot of tough choices when we all feel like saying is: “I want it all, and I want it now!”. We have to decide what makes the cut and what we have to put aside.
It’s really hard. Especially if we’ve started to bond with the project (I love you project!). Sometimes we even confuse the outcome with our self worth. Which, needless to say, es no bueno!
Working with an artist I was curious about what the block was. It wasn’t any of the usual suspects. Well, it was a little bit perfectionism but that wasn’t the root cause. So, we dug a little deeper.
We found that there seemed to be three competing interests. Not being able to satisfy all three interests, things just tended to fizzle out.
After our talk I started noticing the same pattern emerging with a lot of people. Not that it stopped them in the same way, but it still slowed down the process. Mainly because they weren’t aware that they had to make a choice.
The choice? A trilemma between creative, beautiful and fast.
A trilemma is usually known as a choice between three wholly unappealing choices. In this case it’s having to choose only 2 out of 3 things we actually want. As you can see in the Venn Diagram (aren’t they just the best?) above, complications will arise.
What can we expect from these choices? Well, let’s go through it.
1. Creative & Beautiful. This will be time consuming. If this is your modus operandi don’t expect to be able to get a lot of work done. However, the work you’ll produce will probably be above average. Artistic development here is slow.
2. Creative & Fast. Your work will be interesting and noteworthy. It will however be lacking a deeper aesthetic. Ideas will flow more easily as you develop this approach.
3. Beautiful & Fast. Your work will be admired for it’s intricacy and attention to detail. It will however not be as interesting. Development here will enable you to make things of beauty.
So, what do we choose?
Well, what are you willing to sacrifice?
Are you willing to do less and develop at a slower pace? Is beauty not as important as making things interesting? Or do you want to leave behind something beautiful to the world?
You don’t need to make a permanent choice. Analyze what suits your needs, each and every time.
If you’re young spend your time alternating between 2 and 3 as much as you can. This is key for development. Get comfortable with putting out garbage. It might sound really crass but it’s probably the best way to go. You’re going to have a lot of time taking your time later on.
Personally, i’m guilty of spending a lot of my time in the “Creative & Fast”-box. I feel most comfortable putting out interesting stuff rather than spend time making it beautiful. That’s just how I feel. If something needs polishing i’d rather leave it to someone else, i’m already onto the next thing!
“For me, music is in the choice of what not to play as much as in what you’ve chosen to play.” – Feist