Product Designer


4 Lessons I Learned About Being Creative

You are a creator. Your calling came to you one day in a ray of sunshine as you sat under a tree while you doodled in your history book. Ok, maybe it wasn't that romantic but you decided that you would be  a creator.

Congrats, Creative-Shiva.

But you also have a very important problem: you just can't seem to create what you envisioned. This is called "The Creators Dilemma" and this is what stops most would-be creators from being being painters, game designers, writers, product designers, wood artisans, programmers, and anything near creative. 

Why can't you just write that amazing script for the universe that you've been building? Why can't you paint that spaceship that is in your head? 


1. Practice Your Craft and Know The Rules

Study the rules of the game that you want to play. Let's pick something very simple. Let me explain Super Mario Bros. to you.


You have 1 goal: find the fucking princess. Movement: left and right on a 2D axis. Actions: walking, running, jumping, if you're super then you can shoot fireballs, and swimming (there are a few more but these are enough). Levels: brick/bushes, underwater, dungeons.

Should be easy enough right? Nope. Go from Level 1-1 to Level 8-4; 32 levels of avoiding enemies.It's really not that straight forward.

Even though you know the rules now, it doesn't mean that you'll succeed. If we dig deeper into Level 1-1 you can notice something that they don't tell you, it's something you have to learn through trial and error:in order to beat this game, you need intense hand-eye coordination. 

Learn the fucking rules.

2. Break Those Rules

Ok good, step 2: break the rules. Get to the "end" as effectively as possible. This is where the previous analogy kind of breaks apart. Did you know that you can beat Super Mario Bros. by NOT going through all the levels? Yup.

Learn as many shortcuts as possible. This is only possible when you learn all the rules.


3. You Will Fail and You Must Fail Fast

"...Move fast and break things. The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough." - Mark Zuckerberg

Copyright, Forbes.

Copyright, Forbes.

You know the rules, you can break the rules, and now, don't be afraid to fail. In fact, you will fail. Nothing is precious and this is necessary for anything creative. Build a thousand things and put them on the shelf.The only way to move forward is to learn from your mistakes so fail hard, fail fast, and learn fast.

Facebook does it, you can too.

4. Use Your Vision as a Starting Point

Finally, this is something that took me a long time to learn: what you have in your head is fuzzy.

Don't adhere 100% to that fuzzy thought. Better question, why would you? It's just inspiration. You can create something better than what's in your head. 

Learn the rules, break the rules, fail fast, go beyond your vision. Good luck, Creative-Shiva.