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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 25 2022

Healthy creative passion

What’s healthy creative passion?

The ‘healthy’ part comes from identifying the things that cause unhealthy behaviour… and destroying them:

For me, it can be the fear that someone will let me down at the last minute (it happened enough times over the years!) which has led me to be slower to deploy teams at activities in case it happened. But this led to healthy habits: creating SOPs for everything. Because ‘luck’ hadn’t been on my side, I hardened the process to eliminate the need for ‘luck’ to appear. It’s also why I’m so enamoured with reliable, loyal people!

For you, there may be other areas where unhealthy behaviour lives…

It could be taking too many things on at once in fear of things taking to long (thus making everything take longer).

It could be tardiness in response times or clear communication because you’re so slammed (thus making others trust you less due to your seemingly-unknown status).

Whatever it is, it pays dividends to identify where unhealthy habits exist in your pursuit of meaningful, creative work. Making those areas healthy will equip both you and your work to thrive in ways you had only imagined.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 24 2022

Paper memories

If you’re a creative in 2022, you probably use a lot of tech.

Your strategies, ideas, plans, sketches and writing are probably on a machine.

I write all my blog posts are in Apple Notes. My art is all on local hard drives.

But you know what isn’t on a machine?

The memories:

When I’m exploring new characters, I do it on paper. My paper memories of how personalities were born are priceless, and old avenues sometimes birth new ideas while looking back on them.

When I’m exploring new strategies, I do it on paper. My paper memories remind me of how the slower pace of handwriting slowed my thinking, allowing me to digest each thought more divergently. There’s no backspace, so old ideas are available for rediscovery later on.

When I’m developing new habits, I do it on paper. My paper memories immortalise my commitments and skipped days in ways an app you uninstalled years ago never could.

If you’re not making paper memories, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 23 2022

First, peace

Peace and Possibility go together.

From a real sense of peace comes the ability to let creative energy thrive, revealing possibilities and opportunities that were previously either invisible or out of reach. The bigger the peace, the bigger the possibility.

Impatience and Impossibility go together.

From a place of impatience, all we see is what’s in our way as we work to displace what lies ahead. The thought of making a great body of work or deeply investing into your family feel impossible when all you can see are problems.

If we feel peace isn’t an option, it thus means we’re being impatient.

Find peace first, to find what’s possible.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 22 2022

99% wasted

Yesterday we touched on how creative energy is 99% waste, in pursuit of the 1%.

I’ve been pondering those numbers since writing it, being reminded of Sahil Lavingia’s remark (paraphrasing from a video I don’t have a link to) that 99% of work on developing entrepreneurial projects is waste, too.

A number reflecting perhaps the number of ideas that will amount to little or nothing. Or the tests that will fail. Or the false-starts. Or the setbacks. Or the betrayals.

And yet the 1% is enough to make up for it all.

This is true of new ventures and new venture capital. It’s true of sketches for an animation and lines of code that will continue to be in production in five years. It’s true of the positive response rate you can expect to receive in your cold email campaign.

99% is wasted.

And it’s a worthy reminder to not stress about those setbacks, failures, false-starts or betrayals.

The 1% is worth it.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 21 2022

Creative vs Productive

Creativity and productivity are opposites.

When you’re focusing on creativity, you’re exploring divergent ideas, many of which will not work, in order to find new paths and opportunities previously unseen. It’s “unproductive” –99% of this time is wasted.

When you’re focusing on productivity, you’re optimising for utilisation and efficiency, which improves output but leaves little room for divergent thinking,

Both are good. Both are useful. Both are opposites.

To be creative, we need to be at peace with effectiveness exceeding efficiency.

To be productive, we need to be at peace with travelling linear paths marked by creativity from another time.

We benefit far more from both by letting them be opposites: by letting creativity feel inefficient, and by letting productivity feel uninspired.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 20 2022

Too many yesses make a no

Does saying “Yes” more often help us achieve more things?

Too many yesses to conversation make a no to thoughtful reflection.Saying no to the occasional walk alone to learn more about yourself is a choice.

Too many yesses to smartphone distractions make a no to picking up that book. Saying no to learning far more and growing from it is a choice.

Too many yesses to email make a no to writing a blog post. Saying no to creating and publishing creative work is a choice.

We don’t achieve more by saying “Yes”.

We achieve more by saying “No”.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 19 2022

Weekend Questions

I like asking hard questions. Especially on weekends.

Your mind germinates on them, then gifts you with a plan of attack on Monday.

Consider challenging your creative pursuits with some hard questions this weekend:

What’s the point in doing this work?

Does the work matter?

Is the journey toward making it work worth it?

Would those you serve with this work miss you if you stopped the work?

What one thing could you change that would double the effectiveness?

What one thing could you change that would double the fun?

Treat yourself to some hard questions. Your future-you will thank you on Monday.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 18 2022

Bend time with creative habits

What could you achieve if you could bend time?

Can you change the past?

Yes… by reworking your habits of today, you change the story others tell themselves about who you are and who you must have been in order to be that way.

Can you change the present?

Yes… we can transform ourselves and our creative pursuits in an instant, with a decision, coupled with the resolve to keep it.

Can you change the future?

Yes… by keeping the promises made in the present.

While physicists and philosophers ponder whether or not time (one thing sequentially following another) exists, causation (the act of agency) persists, and with it we can shape our lives and creative pursuits into whatever we choose.

So… now that you can bend time, what will you achieve with this in mind?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 17 2022

Old too, not too old

Old too, not too old:

In 2013, Slack launched with the desire to replace email (which began in the 70s). Now, they exist together. Email’s decentralised, open nature may have seemed old-hat to some, but its resilience makes it a lifeline of connection. Proprietary platforms have come and gone, yet email remains. Old too, not too old.

In 1996, “Three Dirty Dwarves” and “Tomb Raider” were both released. One with beautiful 2D sprites, the other with low-poly 3D graphics. At the time, the latter was preferred for its technical advances, and the former dismissed for being ‘old 2D style’. Now, only one of them has aged well, and the former is truly appreciated. Old too, not too old.

Today, your industry is probably evolving and going through similar transitions, some ideas coming into favour, and others falling out of it. Embrace what’s coming. But don’t throw out the past. Old too, not too old.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 16 2022

Keep building

Keep building.

When the markets are down, many people quit. But not you. These are the times to prepare for what comes next, to be considered ‘lucky’ when spring follows winter.

When it’s not cool anymore, many people move on. But not you. You weren’t riding on the coat-tails of passing trends anyway, you were building something that stands on its own feet.

When it’s hard to build, people stop building. But not you. Competition not being fierce is not a market disadvantage, but a perfect storm to take your fair share.

It’s only hard if you decide it is because of what news outlets and opinions of others would have you believe.

Keep building.

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