Your resistance to change is killing your creativity
Every year, without fail, I go through a process of reinvention. Like a reptilian creature, I need to rid myself of my old skin and rise anew–shiny. This usually comes in a simple package, such as “learn something new”, but lately it has expanded into “who am I?” and “what do I want out of life?”
Looking back, I have largely been motivated by the challenge of learning something new. As I work on the same thing, with the same tools, approaching the same problems, sometimes for the same company, can start to feel dull. Not boring, gosh, I love my job! (please don’t fire me…), but somehow repetition starts drowning out what I [think] I started doing this, to begin with. I swear if I have to sit again through a sprint planning session… Actually, I’ll love it as well. But, you know what I mean? It feels expected. The same. Again. And while KPIs are met, goals become clearer, products ship and concepts die before becoming a reality, I find myself pressing the same keys, the same shortcuts, exporting @2x, and sending inspect links. Then what?
Then came a pandemic, to wreak havoc. Physically, mentally, politically, and globally. It came to fuck everything up. Steal our loved ones, make us super judgemental towards our neighbors for not wearing a mask in the hallway, and to make us sit at home in silence in between Zoom “happy hours” where we all groan about the same stuff.
So what do I do? I sit and I write, after years! I write in real-time about what’s going on in my head. Which is totally weird because I am not sure what the next word will be. Or what I’ll type. Including this! Ok, I’ll stop that and get to the point.
I realize that my goals are perhaps too small and suffocating my creativity. I wanted to start a YouTube channel in 2018. Learn Premier in 2019. Learn Dimension and Figma in 2020… I’ve done that, but found something else in solitude… I started reaching out to people–connecting them. I started mentoring young designers. I started interviewing friends who I admire and sharing their stories. I started getting myself out of the way and acting as a platform for others to rise. I am addicted. I feel a profound purpose.
So now, I plan on continuing to learn new tools, adopt new processes, and whatnot. But I realize that the limited nature of my previous goals was getting in the way of what makes me happy today. Granted, it wasn’t always this way, but it is clear to me now that year by year, I can’t be planning in the exact same way. I am an organism, with organic thoughts, and as such my goals should reflect my shifting nature, rather than giving me a box to tick.
Now, this might be me projecting, or erroneously treating this platform like LiveJournal, but I want you to think about your goals. It is ok to start simple, but as you grow in your space, it is ok to think bigger too. Do what makes you happy and don’t let your own goal-setting to box you in as the scale of your goals should evolve with you.