Earlier this week, I attended my son's college orientation. During one of the presentations on the student Honor Code, the presenter said, "Encourage your student to consider the process, not the results."
As a designer, I, like so many of us, get caught up in the finished product that I don't always take time to enjoy the design or production process. In fact, Dr. Margaret Paul suggests that getting caught up in the end result may lead to a rut.
"If you find yourself stuck or blocked in your life in any area, look inside to see if your focus is on the outcome and on what people think of you, or if you are focused in the present moment, fully engaged in the process. When your sense of worth is attached to the effort you make and putting forth your very best, then the process itself becomes exciting and rewarding, regardless of the outcome." Dr. Margaret Paul for The Huffington Post
So this blog post is more like a "note to self" if you will, to remind me to slow down, redefine failure, experiment, and put forth my best.
In a podcast [On Being with Krista Tippett], Author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about choosing curiosity over fear. She says that everything interesting in life is 90 percent boring.
"And creativity is the same, where 90 percent of the work is quite tedious. And if you can stick through those parts, not rush through the experiences of life that have the most possibility of transforming you, but to stay with it until the moment of transformation comes, and then through that to the other side, then very interesting things will start to happen within very boring frameworks." - Elizabeth Gilbert
In other words, stick with the process, even when it's seems boring, because that's when the spark of creation, the magic, happens.
"Failure is the unsung hero of the creative process," writes Tyler Jones for The Filmmakers Process. "Every time you fail, you gain a valuable piece of information. What doesn’t work is sometimes even more important than what does, and mastering skills only happens through a process of trial and error."
In other words, failure is the engine that drives the process forward. Embrace it.
Many years ago, I made jewelry using polymer clay. One afternoon I was experimenting with different image transfer techniques. After what I deemed was an "epic fail" trying a technique using alcohol, I crumbled the clay up to throw it away. It then occurred to me that if I could crumble up the clay to throw it away, I might be able to perfect this alcohol image transfer technique and wrap the transferred images around a bead. The end result was award winning array of mixed media jewelry designs.
The bottom line is that experimentation drives us forward.
"Repetition gives us practice just 'doing' things in one way, but it’s experimentation and innovative thinking that pushes us into a new dimension." - Paula Jung, The Curiosity Behind the Spark
Admittedly, none of these steps towards engaging in the process come easy for me, but I'll embrace it as a work in progress (or process as the case may be).
Who's with me?