November 7, 2020

The problem you didn’t realize could be solved.


Creative professionals, both the entrepreneur types and the employee types, have a unique category of problems to contend with on an hourly basis.

There’s the fear of team members rejecting your work.
The longing to be noticed for your innovative ideas.
The dread of having to start projects from scratch.
The pressure of finishing tasks on time.
The exhaustion of having to prove yourself to customers and coworkers.

And the disappointment of your career not following the path you imagined.

Not to mention, there’s the apathy of not wanting to do the work on certain days.

The frustration of collaborating with people who can’t be productive unless they’ve had their coffee.

The paranoia of sharing your ideas before they’re ready.

The difficulty of staying focused amidst all the noise inside of your head, on your devices and around your workplace.

Or the isolation of slaving away alone in your apartment all day without anyone to talk to but the barista who thinks you’re stalking him.

Indeed, the life of the mind is not an easy one, nor is it always a desirable one. Arendt characterized it perfectly in her brilliant book on doing the hard work of thinking:

Turn yourself upside down, stand on your head and on your thoughts, and build reality according to it.

Wow, that’s one hell of a job description.

The challenge is, if we as creative professionals are committed to this life, we need to change our relationship with our unique category of problems. Motivation, organization, originality, community, we need to figure out a way to turn these daily struggles into a positive interaction instead. Otherwise we’ll never make it out alive.

Because what’s working against us is the current repertoire of solutions to our creative problems. These offerings are outdated, clunky, inefficient, expensive and labor intensive.

Most productivity and creativity solutions are just distractions in disguise. They’re billed as time savors, but they actually cause more work than they complete.

Most creative professionals don’t need complicated, bloated project management systems to execute their work, they need a different framework for making clear, firm decisions.

They don’t need addictive smartphone games to engage their creativity, they need to work with leaders who remove the barriers that suppress the creative driver.

They don’t need to spend three days at a conference learning how be more productive, they need a daily practice of taking risks with their original ideas so they can fail, bounce back and build resilience.

The good news is, once creative people change their relationship with these problems, once they start to see that they can be solved in a new way, then the daily struggle will end.

Yes, the work will still be challenging, but it won’t be such an uphill battle anymore.

What problem are you not paying attention to because you never thought there was another way to solve it?