“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart, aviator
I’ll give you the “big secret” right away. Whatever it is that you want to do, go out and do it. It’s the only way to get over ANY creative block. I don’t care if want to take a picture, write a song or whatever. Go and do it! It doesn’t have to be perfect or good.
In fact, go do something that sucks ass! When you’re done, come back here and keep reading. Go on, go!
I was trying out a new app yesterday called “Periscope”. It’s basically a live streaming service where people can watch and interact with the caster, basically twitch.tv without the heavy emphasis on video games.
Since I didn’t really know what to talk about I just took the most common problem people have with creativity, the statement: “I’m not creative”.
Which is a myth! We’re all creative, we’ve just confused it with “art”.
See, when we look at something as being creative we actually only see the finished product. That in itself can be judged as more or less creative.
I like to define it like this: art is the result, creativity is the process.
Now, the result is judged to be more or less creative mainly on two factors.
1) How useful it is.
2) How unique it is.
The usefulness is how valuable it is judged to be either by the creator or the public. The question is: are our needs being satisfied by this and to which extent?
A creations uniqueness is how different it is relative to the things that’ve come before it. The question is: have I experienced anything like it before?
Some of us have been told by somebody that we’re not creative or that we’re doing it wrong. We may have been hypnotized by that statement. If we keep repeating it to ourselves pretty soon it becomes our truth.
The only way to dispel the myth that we’re not creative is by doing one thing: Do it.
Once you’ve gone through the process you’ve effectively shown that you have the ability to create something that wasn’t there before.
Now, it might not be very useful or very unique but that’s something else. If you want to know more about how to create something that’s more useful and unique check out this post!
The more we perform the process of creativity the easier it gets, but we must start by doing it!
We solve problems every day, right? That’s the creative process working undercover without us even noticing it. So, basically we’re doing it all the time. It’s only our beliefs about it that stands in our way.
An author told me that “you can’t explain creativity”, a businessman told me that “you can’t teach entrepreneurship”, another said “Either you got it, or you don’t. It’s in your DNA!”. I constantly hear “If you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all” and its cousin “Don’t do anything half-assed!”
Statements like the ones above piss me off. They don’t serve any other purpose than to raise the bar of entry. In some cases it fuels people, like me, to prove them wrong.
However, during my childhood I actually listened to statements like those and let them stand in my way for too long. I don’t remember exactly when it turned around but I noticed that I had this inner need to express my creativity, so I started doing it but hid it from other people.
In my teens I flipped the script and finally told people to go screw themselves and went on a mission to prove to the world that I had something of value to share. Sure, I got knocked around because of it. I also realized that I could survive it and that some people actually even enjoyed it.
It was the simple act of doing it over and over again that gave me the confidence. It will do the same for you.
That being said, I recently had to give a speech. Well, it was something I’d wanted to do and foolishly promised people that I would do.
Now, I’ve talked in front of people before but this was something different. I had to give a talk in front of people I felt knew far more about the music business than me. That made me feel like a total n00b and a fraud. We’ve probably all felt like that at various points, right?
Things were fine until about 2 days before the speech. I started having thoughts like: “What the fuck am I doing? I’m going to make an ass of myself out there!” and “It’s not too late to cancel. They can get someone else to fill in, can’t they?”. I looked at the phone but didn’t act on that feeling.
Finally, the day came and I was doing my poses. Protip: If you strike a so called “power pose” for 2 minutes or more it’ll start the production of testosterone which has positive effects on confidence.
I went on and gave my speech to the audience. I hadn’t been this nervous to deliver a speech for almost 2 years. I finished it to polite applause and exited.
A woman came up to me with her friends and said she enjoyed the talk and hadn’t really thought about how many times we’ve repeated the same mistakes in the business, until I spoke about the individuals who managed to change the course.
I thanked her for sharing and we spent some time discussing other ideas.
The next day I watched the video and felt like crap. The beginning was stale, I forgot to mention the name of a study I was referring to, at the end I sped up the pace because I realized the speech was almost over and there were too many um’s and ah’s.
It was shit. At least compared to some other speeches I’ve given before.
Then I thought back to the first speeches I gave, those were even worse. The only way they got better was by repetition and fixing it bit by bit. This was a new speech that I hadn’t given before, I’d rehearsed it but hadn’t taken the time to try it out in front of a crowd. No wonder it sucked!
The main point is that I did it, when I do it next time it’ll be even better. It’s the same with creativity.
We can’t expect to be perfect every time we perform a creative act. Sometimes we might even be outright bad at it.
We won’t know for sure until we actually do it.
I’ll leave you with a few quotes and some awesome workshops with actor Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover, There’s Something About Mary, Arrested Development & more!).
“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly – until you can learn to do it well.” – Zig Ziglar”
“Time goes on. So whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait.” – Robert De Niro
“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” – Thomas Edison
“Like some high official, you have to tell your brain: ‘Do it. Come on. I have to do it.” – Haile Gebrselassie
Jeffrey Tambor – SXSW 2013 – Acting Workshop
Jeffrey Tambos – SXSW 2009 – Acting Workshop
Jeffrey Tambor – SXSWedu 2014 – Keynote: Performing Your Life in the Classroom
Jeffrey Tambor – SXSW Film Festival – Workshop – With Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, Greenberg) before she broke through.