“The truth is, creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a numbers game.” – Robert Sutton
Do you ever wonder what makes a person creative? Have you ever thought about what it takes to make great ideas a reality? For the past few years I’ve been fascinated with what makes the most effective companies and people of our day successful.
I recently finished the terrific book, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky the founder and CEO of Behance.
Despite having read nearly 50 personal development books over the past two years, I found Making Ideas Happen (not an affiliate link), to be refreshing and full of powerful insights. The book especially spoke to the perfectionist side of me, and encouraged me to finally begin a few projects I have been putting off for far too long.
The book takes an in depth look at some of the most creative companies around today, including giants like Zappos and Apple, as well the secrets of what makes the team of Behance so successful.
The book is split into 3 parts which I feel helped effectively communicate the overall message.
Making Ideas = (The idea) + Organization and Execution + Forces of Community + Leadership Capability
Organization: Without a doubt one of the most common traits of “creative” individuals, is the relentless desire for organization. Are you organized? Can you keep the bigger picture insight?
Community: Community also plays a significant role in making ideas reality. Rarely can great ideas happen without the help of others. Is your community helping or holding you back?
Leadership: When all is said and done, turing an idea into an actionable goal all comes down to accepting responsibility for what you create. Can you take the leadership needed to succeed? Can you takeÂ responsibilityÂ for your successes as well as failures?
Be Personal: For you and your idea to really get rolling your idea has to be personal. You have to be passionate about seeing it through. If the passion isn’t there, it is very unlikely that your idea will see the light of day. What you’re passionate about won’t always turn out to be a success, but following your interests will surely increase your chances of succeeding. Run with an idea that makes you tick, not one that just looks good on paper.
Break Projects Down: You have a an amazing idea. So what? The next step is to break your idea down into actionable steps that you can instantly see progress with. The book recommends when writing actions steps to begin with a verb, that way, you are forced to take some sort of action. When you are specific in what needs to be done it makes each step that much easier. Focus on the small steps and it’s only a matter of time before the bigger picture comes into play.
Act Without Conviction: The truth is, the longer you wait to move on your idea the less likely it is to see the real world. That isn’t to say you should never plan, but more often than not people tend to over plan and become paralyzed by the fear of failure. Creative individuals don’t run from failure, they make it their friend.
Share Ideas Liberally: If you think you have a good idea it never hurts to share it. Your chances of success significantly increase when you have a team in place. That isn’t to say you can’t succeed alone but having people behind your idea will help you stay focused and keep your eye on what really matters: making your idea happen.
Feedback Is Essential: This was a big one for me, as I’m not the best when accepting feedback. Hearing what other people think about your idea can help you if you let it. Don’t let people’s opinions sway your overall goal, but at the same time don’t be naive enough to think feedback is worthless. Take what you need and ignore the rest.
You Are Creative
I honestly believe that we all have a creative side, it’s simply a matter of cultivating it.
How many times have you had an idea you never acted on, only to see weeks later that someone else did? Could that person have been you?
Far too often we focus too much on the idea rather than the execution. Obviously, planning and research does play an important role but you have to take off sometime.
When I started my personal blog a few years ago, I had no idea what I was going to write about, but I did know that I wanted to help people live better lives. I started a domain with literally no idea of what to write , but over time my idea refined itself. I’m glad started blogging because it has been one of the greatest things I have ever done. When you take the leap you’re nearly always rewarded.
The truth is, we have great ideas come to us everyday, yet without action our idea is quicklyÂ smothered.Â Â You don’t have to start big, tiny steps are better than no steps at all.
Once I realized what I wanted to write about on my personal blog, I routinely rejected my ideas because I was afraid it wouldn’t be well received. Even to this day, I sometimes struggle with fear and perfection. But the truth is, it’s far better to get something out than to never “ship” at all.
The more you create the better you become at making your ideas a reality. Execution, not ideas, is what makes you creative.The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the one’s with the best ideas, but instead, are the one’s who are willing to put in the work.
I can nearly guarantee that if you’re struggling with your creativity Â right now, it’s not because you have a lack of ideas, it’s because you’re Â letting Â fear of failure hold you back. Being creative is scary, but it is also one of the most rewarding things in the world. Knowing that you DO make a difference Â is sometimes scary to admit but it doesn’t make it any less true.
While I barely scratched the ideas covered in the book, I hope I gave you a better insight on what makes people creative.
What projects are you waiting to start? What amazing ideas are you selfishly holding back?
Start writing that novel. Begin that knittingÂ business. Create art. Let your ideas flow.
Time to execute. There is no other way.