May 20

Ritual and Creating Magic Part 3: Let Your Creations Exist

Cody Lee



Does this sound familiar?

You have a brilliant idea and finally you found the time to execute it. After hours of fulfilling but exhaustive work, you’re finished, and it turns out the idea sucks. Not only does it suck – it’s awful. Embarrassing. What were you even thinking in the first place?


We’d argue this phenomenon is the real reason producing creative work in any medium is difficult. To quote Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The mind in creation is as a fading coal.” Shelley’s assertion is that an idea is hottest at the point of conception. By the time you’ve acted on it and created something, your idea has begun to fade, meaning whatever you produce is going to be a dull afterimage of what your consciousness envisioned. It’s just the way the brain works. Blame the human condition. Shelley did. While talent certainly comes into play here – certain minds conceive of ideas so brilliant their “faded coal” looks like others’ most inspired idea – it’s still something everyone has to deal with.


The difference, at least the one you have control over, is you can learn to let your creation exist and not squelch it before it develops. You don’t have to put it out into the world just yet. It will need time to grow. Maybe a lot of time. But don’t trash it because it failed to live up to expectations.


This is where discipline comes into play. Every creative person suffers from “analysis paralysis.” The type of critical thinking skills required to produce something original go hand-in-hand with deep analytical skills. Get comfortable with the notion that 95% of what you produce will be total crap that requires time to hone, experiment, and improve. (Good thing you’ve implemented a solid routine to work every day to improve your work.) If you expect your idea to shine in the world as brilliantly as it did in your mind, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Every. Single. Time.


Degree of talent matters (but not as much as you might think)...

It is important you honestly and objectively assess your own. To the best of your ability, remove your sense of judgement and rate yourself. Are your expectations far too grand for your natural talent? If so, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You likely don’t need a ground-breaking solution that shifts the paradigm. Reaching to do so will end in a failed objective, disappointment, and a lot of unnecessary heartache. Learn to accept your talent level and work within that.


On the other hand, don’t rake yourself over the coals for occasional shoddy work. It happens. Trust your talents. You wouldn’t have gotten where you are if you had none.


The bottom line: let your bad ideas exist. This way you can observe them, learn from them, and improve them. The last thing you want is to end up with countless aborted attempts at brilliance. This is so important in the workplace where it can seem like all ideas are bad except that perfect solution that’s just out of reach.


The truth is that good and bad ideas often look the same until they’re put into practice.


In order to reach the final product, whether it’s a sales pitch, design deliverable, or even a new internal process, you’ll need to cycle through some ideas.


Ready to start letting your creations live and breathe? Give the full eBook a read.