Be More Creative: Ignore Everyone

Hugh MacLeod - Great IdeasCreating may be at times a collaboration, and it can be helpful to get input from others about your work, but a number of artists also say they create primarily to please themselves, to realize their own unique creative inspirations.

Also, criticism from others can be destructive and self-limiting, eroding our creative assurance and vitality, especially if it is based on excessive perfectionism or values that you, the creator, may not hold.

Creativity coach and psychologist Eric Maisel has even declared, “Criticism is a real crippler.”

From my post: Toxic Criticism and Developing Creativity.

Hugh MacLeod, a brand consultant, copywriter and cartoonist, has made available (for free) a stimulating PDF: “How To Be Creative” – here are some excerpts from the beginning:

So you want to be more creative in art, in business, whatever.

Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years.

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 cartoon-on-back-of-bizcard format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasnʼt I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest, i.e., cutie-pie greeting cards or whatever?

You donʼt know if your idea is any good the moment itʼs 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. Thereʼs a reason why feelings scare us.

And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. Itʼs not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. Itʼs just they donʼt 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 donʼt want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, thatʼs 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. Thatʼs human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe were on the other foot. With business colleagues, itʼs even worse. Theyʼre used to dealing with you in a certain way. Theyʼre 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 thatʼs 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 theyʼre going to resist your idea every chance they can. Again, thatʼs human nature.

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

Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.

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You can find the download link and more information on the Change This site.

The drawing by Hugh MacLeod is from one of his books: Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.

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