priority word

I’ve heard that the word priority originally didn’t have a plural version. In other words, it just meant the one thing you put above everything else. 

A

Single 

Priority

But today we can’t accept that. There are too many important things in our lives and so we end up with many competing priorities. 

I believe this is, in part, one reason why so many people are so stressed out. Multi-tasking is a cultural mandate, one which is killing us. Trying to keep all those plates spinning at once without letting a single one drop soon becomes a near impossible task and even if we do pull it off for a time, we’re awkward and clumsy about it. No matter how good we are, eventually, one of those plates is going to come crashing down on our heads. Then we get all depressed about it because we couldn’t pull off the impossible. And no plate-ituds are gonna make us feel any better about it.

So yeah, I’ve broken a few plates in my day. 

There is a beauty to single-mindedness: stubbornly placing something above everything else on our to-do list, every time. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13, 14

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Like him or not, you've got to hand it to him, the guy knew what he was about. He had a single, clear goal that everything else fell beneath and was seen in light of. 

I must admit, I’m terribly bad at having a “one thing I do.” It’s an area where I really want and need to improve. Perhaps you do to. But how should we do it? Here’s a simple suggestion: pick a watchword.

After reading my post on FOCUS, my coworker, Colleen, told me her word for the year actually was “focus.” It struck me, this is a great and relatively easy way to center your mind and actions on a singular thing. 

Pick one word, write it down somewhere you’ll see it all the time and continue to reflect upon it. Are the things you’re doing line up with that goal?

Like my coworker, you could have one word for the year, or even for the month, maybe just the week. Whatever the case, pick one which means something to you and helps you prioritize your priorities.

 

If you're wondering, my word is: Onomatopoeia.

Kidding, kidding. I don't even know how I'd live that out, just making strange noises all the time. But I already do that, quite well might I add. No, my actual word, for realsies, is:

Persistent

From dictionary.com

  1. persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles,discouragement, etc.; persevering

  2. lasting or enduring tenaciously

  3. constantly repeated; continued

     

So there you have it, persistent.  

Say, what's your word?

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

attitude

When it comes to art, this is the general attitude I’ve discovered: in order to become great, you have to get all your bad junk out of the way. If you want to draw well, you have to draw 1,000 bad drawings first. If you want to write well, you have to get a million worthless words behind you. But I think there is an inherent flaw in this way of thinking: it views your previous work as useless, a necessary evil, an unfortunate part of the process.

Toward that end, there is a quote by Dorothy Parker I’ve heard repeated by many an author,

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

I once shared this mindset, but I’ve changed.

Malcom Gladwell proposed the idea you must spend 10,000 hours practicing at a thing before you become a master of it. He also pointed out that people who are exceptional at their craft are the ones who fall in love with the practice of it.

I heard fantasy author Brandon Sanderson make a statement about writing which really changed my perspective on the matter. I don’t recall the exact quote, but essentially what he said was, each and every word you write is a necessary one in the process of improvement. Those words aren’t a waste, they’re the steps you have to take to reach the next level and without them, you’ll never get there.

I believe this is just as true of any and every creative practice, artistic or not.  The difference, my fellow creatives, is in the attitude. If you want to be great at something, you have to love the practice of it, you have to enjoy the process. So I’ve been working to change my attitude about creativity and the hard work and effort required by it.

Fact is, I don't have to be creative, I get to be one. I don't have to write, I get to write. Creativity is a choice, one which takes determined effort, but it’s a good thing.

Now I’m thankful for the times I get to write, whether I feel like I’ve written well or not, because every words matters, each one accumulates toward something better.

 

What do you think? Do you view your own creative efforts this way? Do you see the importance in them or are they just something you have to do in order to achieve a desired result?

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

affirmation

I wrote before about drawing inspiration from creativity. Another healthy habit for the creative is to develop a sense of appreciation for the creative, to not only have an eye for signs of creativity, but to celebrate it when you find it.

There’s a tendency shared by creatives and non-creatives alike: the temptation to be critical of other creatives. I’ve found it’s very easy to do. Not long ago, I saw some friends watching a movie trailer on one of their phones. I stopped to watch as well, thinking I was seeing the trailer for an upcoming big-budget comedy. I immediately became critical in my mind, quick to judge how well I thought it would do and whether it would actually be very funny. Thankfully, I didn’t say much, because I soon found out one of the two people I was standing next to had actually directed the movie.

Realizing my error, I soon felt ashamed of my quick and negative assessment. In truth, it was pretty impressive for something done on a small budget. After all, it had tricked me into thinking it was soon to come out in major theaters. This is a feat in itself as low-budget movies are usually very easy to identify. But even then, I recognize I have a mindset that as long as something is big budget, it’s fair game for mockery. This is incredibly hypocritical of me, as I’ve actually worked on more than a few big budget projects, some more successful than others. Every project, no matter how big, was made by the work of many, many individuals, some who are both talented and hard workers.

Here’s what I’m getting at: it is much easier to critique creative works than it is to affirm them, to find the good parts. Pointing out what we see as wrong is a natural human tendency. Our eyes are trained to immediately recognize when something is off. They even made a game about it on Sesame Street with “which of these things is not like the other.” A critical mindset is the easier go-to because it takes more effort and attention to point out when something is right and even go so far as to compliment to the person or people responsible. 

Often, we take things done well for granted. As the adage goes, when the job’s done well, no one notices, but when you screw up, all eyes are on you (it’s something like that anyhow). There are so many creative processes all around us running smoothly that we hardly take a moment to recognize. Waste management for instance, just think about it—or maybe it’s better you don’t. How about the way your car works (most of the time at least) or how easy it’s become to find a new restaurant or have food delivered straight to you in short order? That’s not even getting into the arts themselves and how much we have available through digital media.

Is there a place for criticism? For sure. Like Ecclesiastes 3:3 states, there’s a time to tear down and a time to build. Criticism helps us improve. But I think we’re more prone to one than the other. Like kids with building blocks—it’s easier to knock down a tower than fortify it. We can even be our own worst critics, the first to knock our own constructs down before someone else can appreciate them. 

My advice? Before you are quick tear down, either your own work or someone else’s, instead see what you can build up.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, which are you more prone toward, criticism or affirmation? Let us know in the comments below.

exposure

I burn easily. This is why I apply liberal amounts of sunscreen when I plan to be outside for any length of time. And by liberal, I mean about enough to coat a small elephant. 

When it comes down to it, we’re all subject to being burnt, and I’m not talking about Mr. Sun this time. There are many times we may feel exposed to the harsher elements of life. Embarrassment, ridicule, mockery, failure and the like can leave us raw and red, in need of emotional aloe vera (if they sold it, I’d buy it).

One of the great challenges of creativity is being willing to put yourself out there, to let your work see the light of day, exposed to criticism and even rejection. This is especially hard because, most of the time, your first attempts aren’t going to be all that great. You’re likely to get some negative feedback. Even healthy, constructive criticism can be hard to take when you’re not used to it. Now, you could just wait for years, shut inside some ancient temple until you emerge a master, but let’s be real here, at some point you’ll have to show your work to someone; you’ll have to share your creativity if you hope to get advice on how to improve. If you want to learn to fly, you have to spread those wings of yours and give it a go, even if you’ve fallen before.

A specific line caught my eye from a post⁠ by K.M. Weiland about the stages new writers go through:

“Creating is about sticking your fist down deep in your soul, ruthlessly clawing at whatever you can find, and then dragging out to be shared in the shocking light of day.”

Besides just learning how to be comfortable showing our creativity to the world, there comes a point where you’ll have to willingly expose yourself to some very difficult internal searching. No matter what creative expertise you may subscribe to, you will encounter a time of soul-searching, of asking and discovering why you’re doing it in the first place. Without this, without an answer, you will come to a roadblock which, in Gandalf’s words, you shall not pass.

However, when you delve deep, when you ask the hard questions, you find the strength to go on, even when you’ve been burnt. You learn how to let things go, keep your head down and keep on keeping on.

Our creative works are, in a way, part of us. They are like our children, our little hand-made children. Let’s not go too far with this, it could get creepy—maybe it’s too late. Anyhow, letting the fruits of your creativity out into the world can be a fearful thing. Like watching your children grow and leave the house, you must admit: you don’t have control over them and they may never come back. As they stand on their own, they form new bonds with other people, they may return to you, changed. Yes, letting your creative babies go is hard, but it’s the best thing you can do for them. Besides, like a rabbit in springtime, you can always make more.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you have a hard time letting your creative children go? Let us know in the comments below.

struggle

Though I often use a humorous tone in these posts and try to keep things funny (and punny), I want to take the time to look at the other, more difficult, side. You see, creativity ain't all sunshine and double rainbows. When it comes down to it, being a creative doesn’t mean life is all fun and games. It’s a struggle, a fight. There are more than a few reasons for this.

To be creative is to go against the flow, to depart from normal. Whenever you do this, you will encounter resistance, in some form or another—it may be your own inner desire to play it safe, or pressure from the community at large. A friend of mine, whose husband created and drives a Star Wars themed art car, recounted to me how some people go out of their way to insult him simply because of his car. I find it strange, but some people are highly offended by creativity. Obviously, certain expressions of creativity get people riled up (and often are intended to), but I also think there are people who find the creative very discomforting. Yet, despite all the jeers and mockery, I also know that Star Wars car has earned even more positive comments and attention. Though the negative voices shout louder, I believe the positive ones last longer.

Like all things, creativity has a price. That’s not to say you can’t be creative any time of day, but as you pursue your most meaningful creative goals, you will discover a cost. This is natural: anything of value requires value to bring it forth. It may be time, money, energy, sleep, relationships, etc. A coworker recently talked with me about how difficult it was for him to live in LA and how much he’d given up to get a job in the animation industry. At one point, he’d lost 3 jobs in a month and had serious expenses stacking up. But he also told me something amazing, the very day he was about to pack it up, head out of town and go back home, he got the job offer he’d been hoping for. He got to stay and start doing the work he’d dreamed of doing.

I think about some famous creatives like Edgar Allan Poe or Vincent van Gogh who lived very difficult lives yet produced timeless works. Perhaps their creative genius is not just in spite of, but even a result of their circumstances. Yes, creativity costs, but the greater the cost, the greater the final product.

Another hard truth about being creative is it often does not fulfill our expectations. People don’t react the way we hope they will or we may not achieve the results desired from our creative efforts. After I launched this website, I felt a certain gloom from not getting the response I’d hoped for. That’s not to say I didn’t get a good response, it just didn’t match my expectations. I quickly began to doubt my efforts, why had I even started this thing anyways? But, the amazing thing is every time I’ve felt that way, someone comes along and gives me a compliment to keep me going. I’ve always found expectations need adjusting and encouragement keeps us going.

Over the years (and even more lately) I’ve heard and seen a lot of great creative work from African Americans, many who have suffered racial injustice. Be it rap, poetry, literature or visual arts, I am often moved and inspired by how they’ve taken deep struggles along with raw, painful feelings and made something beautiful out of them. They bring light and understanding to something personal and real. Like a flower after a storm, creativity can grow out of pain. As I've seen, it can also lead to healing.

To be a creative is  to struggle, but it can also give you a voice, it can allow you to sing in a way nothing else can. Don’t, even for a moment, believe it isn’t worth your efforts.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

creative magic

One of the things I love about creativity is the magic inherent in every creative act; it’s one of the reasons creativity never gets old.

For me, there is a difference between the mystical and magical. Mystical is unapproachable, indefinite, confusing. Magical, on the other hand, is wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring and fun. They are both strange, but for different reasons. These aren’t opposites, but they can be at odds.

It’s easy to relegate creativity and those who practice it to the mystical side of the spectrum, to believe only the elite can obtain it—that it must be earned in some way no one quite understands. But I see a different side to it. I see sparks of magic every time someone dares to be creative, like something from Harry Potter but with no Muggles and a more balanced and robust magic system.

To be clear, I’m not talking about witchcraft, spellbinding or similar practices, but something deeper, the same magic with which the world was made, the same which flows in each person and allows us to see a thing and call it beautiful, to be stirred deep in our souls—beyond the grasp of mere words.

The sweet thing is, no one owns this magic, it’s available to everyone. Sure, there are self-proclaimed watchdogs, people in suits who own big companies, make labels or give out awards. They’ve had their day, but the doors they guarded are blown wide open, I think this is for the best. Not to say the curators aren’t important. I think they’re even more important now, with such a flood of creative content available. The difference is it’s not just about the money and those with the money don’t get to make all the big decisions on what is and isn’t creative.

I recently heard an interview with the lead singer of The Flaming Lips. He talked about how much their process has changed over the years, gotten easier because of all the great audio tools available. But he also admitted they still don’t really know what they’re doing, despite all their experience making albums. The process may be faster for them, and smoother, but they’re figuring it out just as much as anyone else every time they begin a song.

I found this inspirational: no one gets to tell you the right or wrong way to be a creative because no one really knows for sure, it’s just an ongoing wonderful journey. The professionals are still figuring it out and novices discover new methods all the time.

Sure, you can get some great advice from people who have been there before, but they’re all still learning how the magic works the same way you are. It’s a magic that’s always there but always changing. Creative accomplishment, like tomorrow, is guaranteed to no one and those who had it might not always keep it. It takes effort every time and the moment we stop putting in the effort, we lose our grasp.

With the tools and technology available today, the bar to entry is low. It’s become very easy to make something wonderful and share it with the public. On the downside, it’s also easy to make junk and give it to a lot of people, which makes people more skeptical. This is why we need the curators. But the junk inevitably floats to the bottom and the creamiest of crops rise to the top.

So what am I trying to say in this half-crazed ramble? Perhaps, like a winged granny, I'm off my rocker, but I can't help being a little squirrely here—I'm just nuts about creativity and its endless possibilities. Here, I suppose, is my roundabout point: take time to enjoy the creative process, be open to new discoveries and stand back in wonder at the magic of it all.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you think of creativity as more magical or mystical, or is it something you approach with logic and reason? Let us know in the comments below.

decisive goals

Goals are important in the way a compass can be important when you’re out exploring. Without goals, we are like a ship lost at sea, buffeted by winds and waves with no land (or dinner buffets, for that matter) in sight. For some, this is a lifestyle—they’re driven forward and back, hither and yon by circumstances without really getting anywhere in particular.

Instead of being tossed and turned by a relentless sea, we must instead chose a port, a destination and do our darnedest to make it there, set anchor until we find the next port. Any boat which doesn’t make it to land at some point eventually becomes a shipwreck.

True, I’ve already touched on this in the post about FOCUS, but there’s another matter at stake: how do we choose a goal in the first place? Yes, chasing a goal is hard enough, but before you even begin plotting a course, you need to first set a goal, a destination. There is no better time than now.

Just as there are obstacles to completing goals, there are also obstacles when it comes to the initial task of goal-setting. Yes, the obstacles are many, so many I can’t decide which ones to talk about. Oh, right, how about indecision?

Indecision happens when we face multiple choices of similar value. It’s confusion about which option will yield the best results. I’ll admit, this is something I struggle with often. Life is full of decisions and sometimes the most simple ones can leave me dead in the water. Which ice cream should I pick up for tonight? (C’mon, it’s ice cream, they’re all good) What should I wear today? (How about that purple number with the interwoven green stripes and yellow spots—it’s a guaranteed winner) What should I name my kid? (Tyco-Benny-George-Newbaby-Slater, of course)

One problem with indecision is, it gets you nowhere. If it persists long enough, it’ll actually set you back. Think of a car driving uphill. Indecision is like letting off the gas. First you slow down, then you stop and at last, you’re moving in reverse. Indecision kills your momentum.

Like gravity, there are many influences in life pulling against you, bringing you to a place of indecision. But you aren’t helpless. You have an engine, an internal drive which can move you where you want to go, but you have to activate it. The fuel? Creativity!

So, just how do we get our motor revved and running again? How do we get decisive about decisions, especially when it comes to goal-setting? Here are a few ideas:

  • Set aside time to dream a little. It’s easy to get caught-up in daily demands and forget to step back and look at the big picture. Free-write for a while (try half an hour) about what you want out of life, where you wish you were, what you’d like to accomplish. Set it aside and let your mind mull it over more then re-read it in a couple days. You could even repeat this a few times. Afterwords, you should at least have a general idea of what your real interests are.
  • List all your options. Then spend a few minutes comparing each. If nothing else, this should narrow it down to only the best ones. Consider how each option makes you feel, imagine your possible future if you choose a particular one.
  • Ask for advice. Enlist some outside help. Tell a friend (or three) or a family (or even a village) about where you’re stuck and see if they have any ideas. Sometime it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see something right in front of you. Some of the best goals can come from people who know you well and understand what makes you tick and talk.
  • Once you’ve made a goal list, pick one at random and go for it. Since you’ve already narrowed down your options to the few best, you likely have no way of knowing if one is better than the other until you give them a test-drive. Roll some dice or draw them out of a hat. You can always change later, but only after you’ve chosen one and given it an honest attempt.

 

Indecision often comes when you feel overwhelmed. You may know your end goal, but feel caught up in the hundreds of little goals you need to make and complete on the way there. So, instead of focusing on the end, just keep your eyes on the next step. Set big goals first, but execute them in opposite order: from small to large.

Alright, enough lolly-gagging! Cough out those lollys and start setting your goals for the future. Get your Goal-in-ator 3000 engine topped off with the highest grade of creative fuel and those big wheels will keep on turning.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, what sorts of goals have you set lately? Let us know in the comments below.

on repeat

When I was younger, my little sister discovered an inhumane form of torture. Two actually. They were both albums on CD. One was the first Aqua album, featuring the "Barbie Girl" song. The other was the first Spice Girls album, featuring, well, I'm sure you've heard them at some point. She listened to them both unceasingly. I nearly went insane, or maybe I did and I just don’t know it yet …
Red hen, pink hen, 49 out!
Huh, who said that? 

Alright, so repetitive things tend to drive me a little batty. Let me say that again. No, wait, I won’t: to do so would only add further madness.

I usually don’t like hearing the same songs over and over or watching the same movie without a long break in between each viewing. There are exceptions, but very few.

It strikes me that repetition and creativity are an odd couple, but they are a couple. Notes repeat to make great music, patterns couldn’t exist without repetition. On the flip side, repetition dulls creativity. The more something is repeated, the less creative it becomes. Things fresh and creative today become old and stale tomorrow (like that bread I left out, but hey, it’s how French toast got invented and man is that stuff delicious). To repeat something is to make it normal, to lessen its creative appeal (or did I say that already?)

I recall the chant of the Hipster, “I liked it first, before it was cool.” Truly they seek the cutting edge of creativity in all aspects (pulls tongue out of cheek).

So yeah, creativity requires a fresh approach but it also has strong roots in repetition. What’s more, our own creative development is dependent on repeated attempts (and failures) before we can arrive at some measure of success. Truth be told (and I do try to tell it), repetition is one of the main ingredients for creative momentum.

Momentum comes from simple, repeated, continual effort over regular intervals of time.

But where is the balance between a life of endless repetition and one of newness? That’s a toughie. Perhaps it comes when we find the things which matter most, which are worth repeating. Some things take on a newness of their own the more familiar we become with them. We should also work on discovering new ways to do the same things.

The sun comes up and goes down every day (for most of us, sorry Alaska) but I still find it beautiful and moving each time.

I'll admit, not all repetition is bad; in fact, repetition can add meaning to a thing, put emotional cement around it. My first paid job was doing janitorial work and landscaping for an elementary school district over the summer. My best friend's dad (who landed us the gig) would drive the three of us to work every day in his pickup truck, bouncing over beat-up dirt roads while playing Garth Brook's "Shameless". That song was his morning ritual and, for reasons far beyond me, it held untold significance to him. Maybe we all need a little bit of shameless repetition, just to keep ourselves centered.

So find that favorite song you’ll never grow tired of, pump up the jam and put a new spin on your old ways. Really though, who thought Scary Spice was a good stage name? Honestly.

 

Creatively yours,
A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you enjoy repetition or find it monotonous? Let us know in the comments below.

information hound

 Yup, that's my goofy pup.

Yup, that's my goofy pup.

My dog is, without a doubt, the most distracted creature on God’s green earth. This may be in part because my dog loves to sniff. Let me rephrase that: she lives to sniff. Everything.
To be honest, it doesn’t even seem healthy how much she likes sniffing. I think it’s her goal in life to sniff every nook, cranny and crevasse on this fair planet. She’s well on her way, but she still has a lot of ground to cover.

One thing I realized about dogs is this: sniffing is a dog’s way of gaining information. I often wonder what sort of information my dog picks up in all her sniffing sniffery. Does she learn something about the other people and animals who have passed by a particular spot? And what good does all this sniffing do for her?

But dogs aren’t the only information hounds around. These days, the hunt for information has become more than a passing trend, it’s an epidemic. Whether we go out looking for it or not, we’re bombarded with tons of targeted information on a daily basis: billboards, tv commercials, radio shows, music, news articles, social media shares, and on and on. It’s a variable sea of info.

Though we don’t invite all of it into our heads, life can sometimes fall into a frantic info hunt. It’s an unusual image, but if we sniffed every time we were hunting down info, we’d probably look even crazier than the dogs. These days, we’ve become obsessed with information to the point where I question just how healthy our endless quest for more it really is. Sure, information can be useful, but how much of it do we actually use? It’s a small percentage in comparison to how much we take in.

I don’t know the exact quote, but I recall reading in one of the Sherlock Holmes books an interesting conversation between the titular detective and his faithful assistant. Watson had just spouted off some random fact (I believe about the moon) and Holmes’ response was that he would be sure to forget it immediately. Watson expressed surprise and Holmes explained how he saw the mind as a steel trap with only so much room in it: whenever something new comes in, something else gets pushed out, so he is careful to guard what goes in.

While I imagine there are more accurate metaphors for our mental capacity, this little section of a story has stuck in my mind. How many useful things have gotten smothered by all the trivial junk I take in? It’s something to ponder.

As creatives, we must guard our minds and the time we spend filling them. Yes, we need our noses to the ground, sniffing out creative trails, but we must be careful about the things which lead us off the scent, away from our own creative game, further from our purpose.

We must be careful, lest we become like the ancient mariner in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, who was surrounded by water but found none of it could quench his thirst. In my own twist on the old poem, we have:

Info, info, everywhere,
Yet no one stops to think.

Sometimes I worry we are headed for a world with so much information, we are in danger of drowning in it. It takes creative focus to learn how to filter all that flotsam into something of use, something which not only floats but actually transports us where we need to go. So let’s take the time necessary to process the information we do have and consider how to use it for creative ends before consuming more of the stuff.

 

Creatively yours,
A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you ever feel overwhelmed by information? Let us know in the comments below.

never normal

A few months back, our family went hiking near a lake in Arizona. It was quite a lovely hike, if I do say so. I got to try out my Christmas present: a backpack in which to carry my little girl. I felt like Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove when he’s carrying Yzma through the wilderness. But that’s not the point of this story.

My brother-in-law brought his dog along: a young but already sizable Boxer. He put these hiking shoes (lets call them booties, because it’s a fun word and probably the more accurate one) on his dog to protect its feet on the ruff trail. Without fail, everyone we passed on the hike had a comment to make about those booties. And we passed a lot of people. Everyone noticed.

We saw a few other dogs on the trail and none of them had hiking booties. I wouldn’t be surprised if the poor pup was a little self-conscious by the end of it, I know I’d be (yet another reason I don’t wear booties).

Here’s the thing: people can’t help but notice when something is not normal. Those dog-booties were definitely not normal, and so people pointed them out.

I’ve noticed the same thing with my daughter. She has exceptionally curly hair and it’s often the first thing people mention when they see her, even if they know her well. Why? Hair that curly isn’t normal—most people don’t have it.

Things that are not normal get noticed

Those who subscribe to my email list know I often encourage them to “never be normal.” I do this for many reasons. Partly because normal is boring but also because when you aren’t normal, you stand out as a creative.

Problem is, not everyone wants to stand out, not everyone wants the attention. And, I’ll admit, not all attention is good. People are prone to laugh at and ridicule the irregular. Perhaps you have been subject to this, I know I have and it ain’t exactly fun.

But here’s the thing: unless you are willing to depart from the world of normal, you will never be exceptional. You will forever be run-of-the mill.

When it comes to opposites, “creativity” has a few, likely because the word itself has more than one meaning. One obvious (and more literal) opposite to “creative” is “destructive.” Though destruction is very different from creation, I still think the strongest opponent to “creative” is “normative.”

Creativity and normalcy never go hand-in-hand. They are like two school kids that fight every time they’re near each other. They are oil and water: they simply don’t mix.

Is normal bad? Not necessarily. In truth, it can be very healthy. But if all you have (and all you are) is normal, you will never stand out from the crowd, you will never know the thrill of creativity, you will remain unmistakably like everyone else.

If, instead, you are creative, you will stand out. Might someone laugh at you? I (along with Men’s Warehouse) guarantee it. But I highly doubt there is a single successful creative on this planet who didn’t endure a few laughs at their expense. Turns out, it’s easier to point and laugh than it is to be the different, to stand apart.

I heard an interesting tale about the history of the pineapple. It used to be the most coveted fruit in the whole world. It was so rare, only the wealthiest could obtain it. Why, it was so prized, people would host exclusive parties where all they did was stand around and admire a pineapple, without even eating it! But today, well, you can hardly find a plain ol' fruit salad without some pineapple tossed in for good measure. You can hardly throw a pineapple these days without hitting a pineapple (don't do that though, they're pointy and could hurt someone's coconut). 

What is extraordinary eventually becomes normal.

That which we now consider safe and expected was once strange and unusual. It helps to keep this in mind: while your daring departures from normal may be mocked today, they could very well become the norm tomorrow.

So go ahead, wear your funny booties with pride and do your hair the way you like, I’ll be cheering you on. And don’t ever be normal.

 

Creatively yours,
A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you find being different difficult or easy? Let us know in the comments below.