On my first day at work, my boss told me if he could give me one piece of advice - it would be to say ‘yes’ to everything. No matter what it was, who was asking or what absurdities it might entail, I should say ‘yes’. Whilst some (boss included) might think this is sound advice for somebody starting out in the Creative Industries, I soon began to learn this advice in fact was crap, if taken at face value. I began to realise that what he really meant was decisions shouldn’t be based on fear of failure or conventionalism. They should be based on brilliance. And I learned that saying ‘no’, is actually quite brilliant.
There are two reasons I think ‘no’ is brilliant. Firstly, to say ‘no’ it requires you to pack away all of the tiny fucks you give about what the person would think about declining the invitation. It requires you to think forwardly, independently, confidently and unapologetically. Secondly, to put it quite bluntly, it’s braver to say ‘no’ than it is to say ‘yes’. ‘No’ is a decision informed by choice, ‘yes’ is a decision based on fucks you should not give.
Now there are of course exceptions to this rule. When in fact it is braver to say ‘yes’ than it is to say ‘no’ - but the premise behind how these decisions are informed, remains the same. Judgement, or the fear thereof shouldn’t inform our decisions to create, ideate, or live. But our lives thrive on it. We judge ourselves for how we look, how others look, what we do, what others do. We’re judged by our last idea, by our next idea. But what is there beyond judgement? I believe beyond judgement there is a place of brilliance. Brilliance in celebrating who you are, what you do and what you stand for. Hitting delete on the cares others might think, or what we think they might think, and being a little braver. And by being a little braver, we will stop conforming to the rules we feel compelled to play by. As from what I’ve learned, there are no rules. At least not any cool ones, anyway. When I stopped conforming to the rules, it was liberating. It opened up a playing field all of my own. A place of just that, play. Where no idea is good, bad or indifferent. A place where scrutiny is always served with a side of sass.
Next time you're faced with a creative challenge, I dare you to think big. Think like you’ve never thought before - how you never thought you were ‘allowed’ to think. Make a conscious effort to be brave, and put forward ideas, thoughts or words you’re sure will get shot down. Criticism means growth, and growth means brilliance. A good place to start is stripping back how you think you should think - yes, you know what I’m talking about. Park the binder of bollocks about how you should approach a brief, and start to think how you want to approach it. Don’t like notebooks? Don’t use one. Want to spend 99% of your time flicking through your ASOS graveyard of saved items? Do it. How you get from brief to solution is up to you, in reality, nobody can tell you how to get there - because only you can.
As for the venom of this post, I’d encourage you to think braver - try something new, write down something ridiculous and see where it takes you. Remember there are no bad ideas (legit, I’ve had hundreds, ask said boss from paragraph 1), but there are ideas that don’t fulfil the brief. Delivery is everything, and any good Creative Director will get a whiff of uncertainty a mile off. For me, it comes down to the three C’s. Confidence, coolness and calm. Confidence, to convince them you believe in the idea. Coolness to convince them they should believe in it too. Calm to assure them you’ve got a hundred others up your sleeve.
My advice, be inspired and educated by those around you, but do with it what you wish. Don’t let it cloud your creativity, your thoughts or crush your vibe. Be brave and you’ll be brilliant. To prove I practice what I preach, this blog is an embodiment of the lack of fucks I give. My mission is to empower creative voices, of all kinds. Encouraging people to think bravely, think boldly and behave badly.