Imagine you’re a young, creative person with lots of potential.
One day you aspire to be a professional “creative” (whatever that means). Artist, playwright, inventor, filmmaker, entrepreneur, intrapreneur, change-maker, fire starter, world builder, whatever. But creative you are, nonetheless, intoxicated by possibility.
So what advice can the older generations give you?
Lots, apparently. Vast, endless shelves of books have been written on the subject, especially in the last twenty years.
But one of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard in a while comes from the creativity specialist, Herbert Lui. It’s only four words long:
“Do more. Think less.”
This has certainly been our experience. Because if you’re creative, you’re already thinking plenty. You eat, sleep, and eat your art, whatever form it might take. You dream of it at night. You obsess over it over your first cup of coffee in the morning. And then you think about it some more in all the spaces in between.
Thinking, thinking, thinking about your art. That’s all you do.
The much harder part is actual action. Why? Because we procrastinate. Why? Because when we embark on something new, especially when we’re younger, it’s hard to know what road to take. So we just stay at the fork in the road. Terrified of failure. Waiting for something to kill the inertia, if ever.
And while we’re standing there like a deer caught in the headlights, we think some more. It gives us something to do while we procrastinate.
“Do more, think less” isn’t exactly a new idea, but then again, if it’s so simple and easy, why aren’t more people doing it?
The reality is that action can be really hard. That’s because, as Luca Dellanna puts it in The Control Heuristic, procrastination happens when our “expected emotional outcome is low” (i.e. when we expect the result to suck).
When we’re just starting out, we often don’t have enough positive experiences to pull from that give us the confidence to keep going. But this confidence increases the more we show up.
So start thinking more about thinking less, and watch the curve shoot upwards. Easy peasy (except that it isn’t).
PS. Herbert (who was featured on the Infinite Loop podcast) is offering his book, Creative Doing, half off for Friends of Gapingvoid using this special link. Enjoy!