“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” — Nolan Bushnell
People often classify themselves as either a thinker or a doer, and think that both of these things are a good quality in their own right. This is true, but in order to really be successful, you have to be both. You have to have the ability to form the thought, see its potential impact, and come up with a finished product. If you can’t see your ideas through until the end, you will end up with a bunch of half-baked plans that never get off the ground.
It might seem like good practice to be able to lay out the groundwork for a multitude of different projects and then see where they go, but the reality is that it is much more difficult to put the finishing touches on something than to simply start it. The reason for this is that when you are just starting something, the creative aspect of your brain is on full power, pouring all of its fresh ideas out into the project. But after a while, the creativity starts to run dry, and now you don’t even know whether the project is going to go anywhere at all. This is where a lot of people give up and move on to something new. But the experience you get from finishing the project, even if it doesn’t turn out to be as useful as you thought it would be, is much more important than anything else.
My son produces music as a hobby, and he told me that the first couple days of working on a song are always the best. Ideas flow and are implemented with ease. But as the song gets more and more complex, he says, it gets harder to see where it needs to go, and eventually you become unsure of whether it is good in the first place. This can be very easily related to the business world. I’m sure everybody has had at least one moment where they have doubts about their work, that it seems almost meaningless. This almost always happens when your creativity tap is running dry. It can almost seem like you’re following a formula, and you completely lose the ability to tell the quality of your work. Here are some tips for getting through this uninspired stage with ease:
Get Help — Ask a coworker or friend to look over your project for you. Having an unbiased, objective opinion is an incredibly useful tool for blasting through a creative block. Even if you don’t like all of the advice you receive (which you rarely will), it might give you an idea of a new direction that you want to go.
Try Things — If the ideas are swirling in your head but none of them seem like they would ‘fit’, then try implementing one of them. Seeing what doesn’t work will help lead you to the ideas that do.
Practice — This is the most important, and I discussed it briefly above. Practice taking your project to the very end, as this will make it much easier to complete future projects. Remember, it isn’t about making sure everything you do is perfect, its about making every project important so that when the perfect one does start to form, you know what steps to take to ensure that it is the best it can be.