10 Mindsets for The Successful Creative You

1. Believe in the power of visualisation

Every human creation exists first in our imagination, it helps to picture with clarity what the final desired output looks like. The mind can be programmed to take pre-planned actions and mental practice can prepare you for creative success. Before every work, by getting your mind and body ready for what you want to happen, you can go through the process step-by-step, providing your brain with as many details about your work as possible. Then, go through the workflow execution and imagine how you would do it till fruition. The more visualisation of all the final possibilities means it will feel more real for you.

If you can visualise it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.

Walt Disney

2. Practice makes perfect

Like any craft, ideation, design or copy development it’s not just about end creation but a constant process of learning and improving. Even if you feel your work is not up to the mark or for that moment or not your best, you just need to get it out of your system and keep slugging on doing many iterations. Practising gives a chance of refining creative ideas, design or copy executions. One way is to look for inspiration in others and go through the steps they took to craft something magical. This will help reveal a certain understanding of what works and doesn’t. Focus on learning how to practice a craft, honing in on the fundamentals – over anything else, is what creates success over time. Once you reach a certain maturity and confidence, you will constantly upswing your skills and craftsmanship, finding a whole new world open to you. Practice is the pathway to perfection.

It’s funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.

Arnold Palmer

3. Be in the zone

Tight deadlines might seem daunting but you always heard that once the creative juice starts to flow, he or she will be in the zone or flow state. The zone is simply a mental state of total focus in the present moment. The ability to get into the zone makes personal peak performances possible. When you are set to do something challenging, there is a high chance to be in the zone. If it’s boring or too easy, you just can’t reach that special state – see the findings of Mihály Csikszentmihalyi (link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)) in his concept of flow.

You also need to do something that requires your highest skill level, something that you really can do very well. Try to train your mind and develop a sharp mental focus, as it is a key skill for success and self-improvement.

Always remember, your focus determines your reality

George Lucas

4. Copy from the best

If in doubt, try emulating ideas or designs you admire until you can make them better than the original. Awareness and realisation can stem from recreation from other work, such as web, print or app. Although the first natural instinct for any creative that’s worth their salt is to avoid copying the work of others, since deep down, they felt the action is ethically questionable, truth to be told, if you look closely at any creative work, rarely will there be any original ideas left in this world. Chances are, your original creative ideas or work that you’re thinking about creating today, have been done before. What’s believed to be original, is actually how it comes to light, with a refreshingly unique approach, new execution method or angle of visualisation that no one has seen, heard or recognised before. If you are new to the industry, it can be good training for you, learning and emulating from the best. If you are a seasoned creative, it will serve to remind you that you still have what it takes to be in the same league or better and continue to soldier on, taking something old and making it into something new.

Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.

Albert Einstein

5. Simplify your design

Strive to only use things that serve a purpose. Remove unnecessary elements in your work. Whether it is in the copy, content or design. Highly utilitarian, the purpose is only to focus on what is essential and get rid of the fluff. Many designers or writers tend to design or write ‘more’, as they felt it is necessary to fill up their works’ real estate, overriding their first instinct that ‘less is more’. So train to abstain. It’s best to use only what is needed and get rid of the clutter. Focus only on the essentials – this will make your work richer and more meaningful.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

6. Storytelling is the key

Whether you are presenting or defending your concept, idea or design, the recipient is more inclined to be convinced if you can explain them through story format because that makes them interesting, entertaining, and memorable. The best stories are on something personal – whether it is motivation, emotion, action, or just sharing – that drives to their point or primary message. If you focus your storytelling around important messages and calls to action, you will build memories that insight action in your customers. Moreover, to turn a good story into a great story would be the kind that your audience hangs onto until the very end. They will start to picture themselves in your story and relate to you. The convincing buy-in power through the relatable human experiences behind the brand will forge a true, meaningful relationship.

The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.

Steve Jobs

7. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake

Making mistakes is a normal part of life. However, be it a veteran or a rookie, there is always that innate fear of making mistakes at work. Also, the pressure to perform in a highly fuelled creative environment doesn’t help. The best way to navigate this is to own it when it happens. And trust the process, accept what happened and move forward, rather than beating yourself up over it. Mistakes force you to push limits and look for new solutions, which enables you to think out of the box. Communicate openly and honestly and ask for help when needed. How you recover defines you. Learn and view it as an opportunity for better performance and growth. Stay humble and have the courage to move on.

What is defeat? Nothing but education; Nothing but the first step to something better.

Bruce Lee

8. God is in the details

The key to any great work is in the details. Attention to detail is essential to performance where errors can be costly so it is best to be cautious while generating your work. For your craft and your ideas, firstly, ensure all the necessary mechanics are covered. Take the extra time and add the touches that you know will make your work really shine. Try to cultivate your critical eye and pay attention to the smallest things as it is imperative to help build trust since the end consumers can feel if something is ‘off’ or ‘spot on’. The overall sum of all things will add up to create an amazing or not-so-amazing experience. So make the time to polish and harmonise your work right down to the little details as it deserves your attention.

If you don’t understand details of your business, you are going to fail.

Jeff Bezos

9. Don’t fall in love with your idea, design or copy

When you come up with an idea, design or develop copy, it’s natural that you’d hope to see it through till the end. It’s important to keep objective about what you are doing because you are not in fine art but communication. Not only do you need to fight your way to self or clients’ biases, but you need to be able to convey meaning or purpose to the targeted audience. It can be very hard to be objective and admit when something is not working, so set up key milestones or KPIs for yourself, to use as a benchmark for fulfilling all the targeted criteria. On the same note, don’t be afraid to start over. If something isn’t working, trash it. At the end of the day, it’s all about solving problems.

If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.

James Cameron

10. Go out and live life to the fullest

Sometimes it’s the little things that may spark your creativity and imagination. That fresh, innovative ideas or crafts may be triggered by what you see, hear or taste. Perhaps it’s the inspiration that brings you joy. Explore new ways of thinking and being, and you may discover that you have talents and passions you never knew existed. When you are inspired and pursuing your passion, your mind transcends limitations and this will help in your creative expression. It’s never too late to strive to be the best version of the creative you.

Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.

Horace