13 May How to have Better Ideas – Chapter 1
Have happy thoughts.
Peter Pan couldn’t teach others to fly without a happy thought. Likewise, in design we’d be hard pressed to teach someone else how to effectively push past creative blocks and ultimately arrive at solutions without a healthy dose of optimism and a pinch of fairy dust.
Optimism and creativity are almost synonymous. You can hardly have one without the other. You have to have the optimistic mindset to not get discouraged when you reach a block, by continuously saying “This is ok, I can get past this.”
Even in brutally dark and depressing works, optimism is clearly present.
For example think of the collective works of Edgar Allen Poe. In his dark and tormented world, if he had even once, just said “no… being buried alive is stupid. It’s not scary, it’s impractical,” nearly half of his works wouldn’t even exist!
In math, the symmetric property of equality states: if a=b then b=a. In creativity, this is also true.
People use creativity to solve problems. The quote “Necessity is the mother of all invention” summarizes this point perfectly. Even if we were to get to a point where we were unable to think “It’s ok, I can get past this” — Our minds have an amazing ability to think creatively and pave a path to a solution, sometimes by creating a tool or methodology. We are all born creative and rely on this relationship even from birth.
As a child, when we want something we are inherently optimistic that we can achieve our goal. We point and grunt — a creative solution to communication. If we can’t reach the cookies on the counter, we climb or use a tool to knock the cookies to the ground another creative solution to a problem.
Somewhere along the way we lose this relationship between creativity and optimism.
They have lost something they were born with, just like in Peter Pan. In a hurry to “grow up” many choose the path to abandon the child-like wonder in which creatives require.
People start to think they are not creative. You will find that consistently they are also the first to abandon all hope when they encounter difficulty.
How are we expected to fly without happy thoughts?
We can’t. You can use all the fairy dust in the world, but without an optimistic mindset you may never get an idea off the ground.