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Best Creative Advice: Don't Think!

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • A lot of creativity fails before it even has a chance to bloom.
  • A large part of creativity is about the bravery to commit.
  • Using a phrase like "Don't Think" can help break through doubt and live a life of action and doing.

Watching an interesting documentary on Ray Bradbury, I noticed a small note that was posted on the wall directly across from where he sat and typed (gives you an idea of when the documentary was shot). The note said:

Don’t Think!

As a creative writer, Bradbury traded in the imaginary, the unknown, the not to be believed. But this didn’t mean he lived in a make-believe-world or was above being human. I’m sure there were thousands of times when he thought, “This doesn’t make any sense,” or “What! That’s the worst sentence I’ve ever seen!”

What he realized is that these internal voices, which we all have, can’t simply be managed with tit-for-tat dialogue, they have to be controlled. And one way of doing that is simply to ignore them and move on. The fact that he had the note even as an adult writer, famous enough to have his own documentary, says to me that even talented and extremely dedicated creatives are not immune to the same types of internal fears that plague all creative endeavors.

A lot of creativity fails before it even begins because we begin to analyze and weigh the options. We juxtapose and try to make sure that it’s all perfect - before we even get started.

The truth is that a large part of creativity is about the bravery to commit. It’s about our ability to deafen ourselves to the chorus of critique (internal and otherwise) and shove the creations that lie safely within the walls of our own mind into the ruckus that this the real world.

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