ignore everybody

More thoughts on “How To Be Creative”:

1. Ignore everybody.

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the biz card format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest i.e. cutey-pie greeting cards or whatever?

You don’t know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. Neither does anyone else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And trusting your feelings is not as easy as the optimists say it is. There’s a reason why feelings scare us.
And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. It’s not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. It’s just they don’t know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.
Plus a big idea will change you. Your friends may love you, but they don’t want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, that’s how they love you- the way you are, not the way you may become.
Ergo, they have no incentive to see you change. And they will be resistant to anything that catalyzes it. That’s human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe was on the other foot.
With business colleagues it’s even worse. They’re used to dealing with you in a certain way. They’re used to having a certain level of control over the relationship. And they want whatever makes them more prosperous. Sure, they might prefer it if you prosper as well, but that’s not their top priority.
If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less, or God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then they’re going to resist your idea every chance they can.
Again, that’s human nature.
Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.


  1. I liken this to the secret loathing everyone has for their friends’ significant others, especially when you and your friend start the day as two single people and one of you ends it with a new partner. On the one hand, I’m happy for you! On the other hand, you’re no longer the same “you” you were yesterday, and that pisses me off!
    I’m surprised there aren’t more self-help groups for People Whose Friends Succeed.

    Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.”
    It makes me think of “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I like that connection, as the thought of an obligation to our creativity pleases me.

  3. You’re dead on with this idea. It’s true. People who know you will virtually never see in you the ability to do anything revolutionary.
    You just can’t let it get to you. I actually find this spurring me on even harder. Achieving what your friends and family thought was not possible for “you” to achieve is a feeling with few comparisons.

  4. Mason, how about achieving what YOU though was impossible.
    Your friends might see in you what you do not. Ask them (good friends) what they see in you. You will be surprised.

  5. I agree that this quote is relevant: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” While that idea can inspire you to realize your creative potential, it can also crush you under the pressure to produce wonderful things. I feel great pressure to come up with good ideas, and I wind up dismissing too many thoughts because I’m trying to think of a guaranteed great idea.
    I suppose that that is another hurdle that I alone am responsible for overcoming.

  6. Once read a quote that went something to the effect of “There’s nothing as sweet as the failure of a friend.” Ouch.
    We do want people to stay in the boxes we’ve built for them since it’s seemingly much easier for us to comprehend and relate to them that way. I guess another way to look at is that keeping up with the Joneses is easy when the Joneses stay put.
    On a similar note, also once read a quote regarding investment outperformance, i.e., beating the stock market’s return. The individual (a finance professor, I believe) said “In order to outperform the market, you must satisfy two criteria: You must be correct, and you must be different from everyone else.” I submit that the latter of the two gets to the heart of the issue discussed here, since being different from everyone else almost necessitates that you ignore everyone else to begin with.

  7. Morrissey has a song – “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful” and it’s about what it says.

  8. Hmmm, what you said is true. I really really try hard to (yes, sounds paradoxical but it’s possible) to accept my friends as they are at same time as seeing them as their highest, best self. I’m not surprised if they rise to their potential. Real friendship, real love isn’t confining but freeing. I moved about 18 months ago and one reason was it was a chance to make a fresh start. I was changing so fast that no one that already “knew” me seemed to be able to keep up with their preconceptions of who I was. I’m not so sure that was necessary. The biggest gift you give anyone (including yourself) is to see with fresh eyes every moment. It’s a two-way street. My friends see the best in me and coax me back there even if I myself am feeling in a blind funk and vice versa.
    What you call your ‘wee voice’ – what I call my authentic voice – sometimes comes through in others. I know it when I hear it regardless of the source. For instance, I was going on and one about one of my tangential latest moneymaking ideas du jour the other day with a true friend. He jolted me back to reality – why had “I” tabled another idea that really spoke to my wee voice but that scared the shit out of me – he gently called me on it. I’m more anxious to drown out my wee voice than anyone else…

  9. this discussion reminds me of that scene from _elizabeth_ when everyone is telling her she needs to get married. and she’s like, yes but to whom? everyone wants me to marry someone different, so maybe i should marry one of each to please you all.
    the more i sing and play my music in front of people, the more advice i get. it’s well-meant, coming from people who care about me, but it’s all conflicting. b. says i should play acoustic more. r. says i should rock harder. c. says i sing too loud. k. says i sing too loud too (ok, maybe i sing too loud). but the point is, who do i listen to?
    everyone, i guess. but it can only go in so far, cause like you say in the article, they don’t know me like i know me.

  10. What do you want to create? Stop looking at or to others.

    I realize I am taking a big risk by mentioning this performer’s name as many people find him irritating. But it is a good example, so what the hay. (Make sure you look at the bottom of the post, there

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