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August 01, 2004

How to be creative.

Hugh Macleod has an unbelievable post at his Gaping Void weblog, titled "How to be Creative." Hugh has 12 well-reasoned and perfectly explained rules for becoming (and staying) creative. This is a must read for anyone interested in creativity. The first rule is my favorite:

1. Ignore everybody.

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the biz card format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasn't I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest i.e. cutey-pie greeting cards or whatever?

You don't know if your idea is any good the moment it's created. Neither does anyone else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And trusting your feelings is not as easy as the optimists say it is. There's a reason why feelings scare us.

And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. It's not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. It's just they don't know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.

Plus a big idea will change you. Your friends may love you, but they don't want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, that's how they love you- the way you are, not the way you may become.

Ergo, they have no incentive to see you change. And they will be resistant to anything that catalyzes it. That's human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe was on the other foot.

With business colleagues it's even worse. They're used to dealing with you in a certain way. They're used to having a certain level of control over the relationship. And they want whatever makes them more prosperous. Sure, they might prefer it if you prosper as well, but that's not their top priority.

If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less, or God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then they're going to resist your idea every chance they can.

Again, that's human nature.

GOOD IDEAS ALTER THE POWER BALANCE IN RELATIONSHIPS, THAT IS WHY GOOD IDEAS ARE ALWAYS INITIALLY RESISTED.

Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

Each of the other eleven ideas is as good as -- or better than -- this one. Absoutely fantastic stuff.

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Comments

Man! Is that an incredible guide to being creative, or what???
I haven't been that inspired since I read Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth (http://www.brucemaudesign.com/manifesto.html)

Thanks for posting this, Matt (I immediately lifted it for my own blog -- we gotta spread the word!)
~DON

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