How to Not Destroy Your Creativity! Lessons from Steve Jobs.
I’m a writer.
But according to some experts I shouldn’t be. Over the years I have been told by teachers, editors and various other experts that I am not a writer. One editor in particular told me that my first book, One Boy’s Struggle should be scrapped.
One Boy’s Struggle became a bestseller for Infinity Publishing. But, isn’t that kind of strange? Then again, maybe it’s not so strange.
Has anyone ever told you that you could not do something? Maybe you’re a painter and someone told you that you cannot make any money from it or maybe someone told you that your art stinks! If so, take heart, there’s a reason experts are often proven wrong.
3 print books, a half dozen eBooks, hundreds of blog posts, published magazine and newspaper articles and now a new blog, so let’s talk about why I’ve done all those things despite what experts told me.
Experts are important, but they are not always right. Experts tend to live and die by formulas and looking back at what has worked in the past. Their vision often involves ‘fitting’ you into a model and if you don’t fit, you’re out.
Where I have a problem with some experts is not merely with their formulas for success because they have those formulas for good reasons, rather it’s when they decide you have no place and you should give up. That’s wrong and reminds me of something Steve Job’s said:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
– Steve Jobs
One major hurdle for most all creative people is doubt. We doubt if others will like what we create, accept it or, heaven forbid, even praise it.
We want others to read, view or use our creations. Don’t we?
But that doesn’t mean anyone will.
The challenge we have is to do what we do despite our doubts, and despite what so called experts might tell you, especially if it is bad news.
This doesn’t mean we can’t improve our skills and make things better by taking someone’s advice, especially an expert’s. But sometimes when someone tells us we can’t do something related to our passion then we have to get up the nerve and do it anyway.
If you fail or succeed that doesn’t matter as much as you’re doing what you love to do, what you are compelled to do. It’s not always about what you ‘earn’ from it, even though it’s great when you do.
And who knows, maybe you will create something that resonates with people simply because they haven’t seen it before, read it that way or heard it like that.
One Boy’s Struggle resonates with people, they identify with my story because they’ve been where I was in some way. Ultimately, the book is about overcoming the odds and how a positive mindset can make a difference.
And if I could make it through, find my way and overcome my doubts and setbacks, then others can, too!
That’s why I published it anyway!
I did overlook one important factor about the book by tying it so closely to one specific issue, and since I’ve published it I’ve discovered more people identify with my story than I realized would.
I think that’s the real problem experts had with it, the issue it centers around.
You don’t know until you do it anyway.
Imagine your viewers, readers or listeners as customers and then read this next gem from Steve Jobs:
You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
– Steve Jobs
And within that quote is the problem with many experts and it’s the reason Amazon has become so big when there were bigger and better before them, because experts have difficulty realizing the future. Jeffrey Preston Bezos, founder of Amazon, realized the future and he continues to change industries because there are still experts who believe what he’s doing can’t be done.
Maybe you are the future.
Honestly, think about it, it’s no real surprise anymore when someone creates the next big thing, but was told “No!” by expert after expert before doing it. Steve Jobs was rejected by both Atari and HP. I guess the experts got Steve wrong.
And if you’re a writer, you only have to pick up a copy of Harry Potter to have a success story in your hands by someone who was told “No!” many times! I mean, really, what expert would turn down Harry Potter?
Experts are certainly valuable, we need them, and when they say no, or that you can’t do something, we should use their rejection to drive us to be better.
But whatever you do:
Don’t. Let. Them. Stop. You.
Don’t give up! Don’t destroy your creativity!
If you’d like to read what other experts have said about One Boy’s Struggle since publication click here. So, the question becomes: Which experts do you listen to? I’ll write about that, too.
Have you ever done something anyway despite an expert’s rejection? Share with us in the comments.