- I am working on bringing more creativity to my work.
- I am a very, very slow reader.
Point number 1 has developed through my work with a coach over the past year. I recognized that my thinking - and by extension my leadership - is sometimes less creative and flexible than I'd like. This recognition came out of some other conversations about my imagination or lack thereof, and some failed attempts at creative writing. I therefore resolved to try to engage the creative side of my brain through other writing - in other words, blogging. And thus was this blog born, or more accurately resurrected in its current form here.
Point number 2 has always been a characteristic of me. Despite the fact that I truly love to read, I am very slow, requiring several days of vacation - where hours are devoted to reading without distraction - to get through a novel or book of barely 300 pages. And so another future resolution: to learn to read faster.
Which brings me back to the topic of this post: the book Ignore Everybody. It perfectly addresses both of my challenges. The book describes 40 keys to creativity (point number 1) in very short chapters with illustrations (point number 2). I've now read the book twice, the second time with post-it notes to flag my favourite keys, some of which were familiar to me, already being a part of my beliefs, and others which were revelatory. The best ones to me included:
- "Put the hours in". Essentially, success at anything is mostly time and effort, so be prepared to work long and hard.
- "You are responsible for your own experience." You make your own choices and follow your own path. It can be lonely, but it is yours.
- "Sing in your own voice." Don't try to copy someone else's style. Be yourself and don't worry about the evaluation of others.
- "Don't worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually." To me, this said something that I've always believed: the harder you search for something intangible, the more elusive it will be. Stop looking and get back to working on being yourself. It - whatever it is - will come eventually.
- "The best way to get approval is to not need it." Like inspiration, seeking approval is the surest way to not find it.
- "Start blogging." Or really whatever creative endeavour you've been putting off, just get started. To co-opt a corporate phrase: just do it.
The book is not for everyone. The abrupt style of writing and direction (and the occasional profanity) will be off-putting to some. And the book focuses a lot on writing/drawing with the outcome of being published as the main experience. But those characteristics are in keeping with the very keys the author is getting at - being himself, working hard, and taking advantage of successes and opportunities. I recommend this read to folks already doing something in the creative realm, and also to others looking for keys to getting started.