I love to make things happen. And when I talk about making things happen I refer to what we, humans, understand by creating stuff. Building communities, for instance. Creating a blog. Starting a business. Writing a book. Traveling around the world. All these are acts of creation, or, in less presumptuous words, things we can actually make happen.
In time, I came to the understanding that this process – because, yes, this is a process – can be somehow formalized. While there isn’t any fool proof recipe (I don’t believe in recipes, by the way, as I don’t believe in advice) there are a few steps which keep popping up in any successful attempt. Like a red string or something. A blueprint that can be adjusted to any specific act of creation.
What follows is a short attempt to put this into a digestible and – hopefully – easy to understand list. It isn’t by far perfect, or complete. Feel free to add your own points of view in the comments.
1. Don’t Stop
The first, and the most important thing is: don’t stop. Dumb, I know. But fundamental. So many projects are stopping at the planning stage because of this simple thing, you know: nobody is doing what it has to be done. They’re stopping it. They don’t do it anymore. This part of the process became especially vivid to me during the last few years, after I started to run marathons.
When you run a marathon, you may not run as fast as you started, when you reach the 20th kilometer, for instance, but the very act of continuing will eventually lead you to the finish line. I know few, if any, more important things for people who want to become creators, than finishing a marathon.
There is a deep sense of power that you gain after crossing the finish line, knowing that you went way over your physical limitations (yes, a marathon is designed to go way beyond what we’re designed to bear) and still survived. You will never think to stop again in the middle of a project. You will keep running. No matter what.
2. Be responsive
That comes down to handling the communication overflow. When you start to create something, the order of the universe is disturbed. Literally. There is this new thing that has to be there, so the other stuff have to, you know, move on and make room for it. And in that process a lot has to be balanced, pondered, managed. You get all sort of signals from a variety of persons, situations or contexts. It’s pretty much chaotic, in the beginning. I know you’ve been there.
But if you don’t handle this process, if you’re not giving responses (sometimes in the very simple form of: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do this right now, because I have too many other things on my back”) then something interesting happens. The inertia of stuff increases. Somehow, everything becomes heavier. I have this sense of difficulty, of heaviness, every time when I’m failing in managing the entire flow of communication.
It’s like communication acts like a helium filled balloon attached to the entire thing, which makes the structure easier to move around.
3. Keep It Funny
It is supposed to be funny. That much I learned by heart. If it’s not funny, then it won’t be enjoyed. It may be created, it may be alive, at the end of much struggle and effort, but it won’t be enjoyed. Not to mention that the process of coming to life will be really, really boring. And boring is not ok.
We, humans, we have this capacity of laughing, which is, at the bottom of it, an expression of pure happiness. The mere act of laughing will lift tons of heaviness. Because we focus so much on the deadline, we don’t leave enough room for the funny part. That’s a cultural bias. We’ve been taught like this. We’ve been taught to keep the things under control until it’s done. I agree 100% with this. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t laugh every now and then.
Even at, or especially at, ourselves.
4. Witness The Progress
If you build something, take photos. If you do something that only you know about, write in your journal. But do whatever you can to witness the progress. Watch it grow. Enjoy the process.
This works on at least two levels. First one is to keep you accountable and give you ongoing information about the status of your project. Feedback, you know. Assessing the status quo. That way, you’ll know when to stop, so to speak.
And the second level is to accumulate stamina. The more you see it growing, the more powerful you become. I don’t have enough statistical, scientifically proven data to back this assumption, but it goes like this: if you constantly witness the status of any project, the progress goes up logarithmically, advancing in speed and power as you’re approaching the finish. And if you don’t, it just shows a simple, constant line. It goes without saying that the satisfaction is way bigger if things are going towards and explosion near the finish, rather than being just dull and predictable.
5. Enjoy The Result
Again, this may compete in dumbness with no. 1, but is just as useful. If you’re not feeling satisfaction for what you did, then your creative capacity decreases. It’s like the joy fuels the creativity. The more you are happy about what you did, the more you want to do it again.
The danger here, and I’ve been in that room oh, for so many times, is to make it ordinary. To acknowledge the fact that you did something – presumably beautiful, yes, but just something – and then move on. Modesty in its worst form of misunderstanding. Nope, boyz and galz. Enjoy it! Be loudly happy abut what you did. Celebrate. Feel joy and exhilaration. Modesty is knowing who you are, nothing more, nothing less. If you are extraordinary, then act like that.
7. Share It With Others
In a sense, things simply do not exists if we don’t share them. Before consuming, or enjoying what we did, others are performing a much more important role: they are the witnesses of what we actually did.
Sharing is, in a subtle way, the very act of birth of the things we create. That second, that tiny moment when other people are starting to see, to consume, to enjoy what we did, that object is coming to essence, it’s becoming real. It works. It’s there. It’s real.
So, sharing is the final proof that what we wanted to create is actually born.