Finding inspiration can be hard during the best of times. Add a global pandemic and a fraction of the social interaction we’re all used to, and it can be a downright creative dead zone. One way I like to jumpstart my bigger thinking is to listen to some of the most creative minds. Luckily for those of us not getting out much these days, there’s no shortage of interesting content available. Last week I spent 3 days watching Adobe MAX, the annual creativity conference. Normally in-person but this year held virtually, Adobe MAX is not an ordinary event. It’s a mash up of celebrities, activists, designers, filmmakers, musicians and more. And wow – did I ever find inspiration and a renewed sense of creative mojo.
I was incredibly touched by Ava DuVernay’s take on how she got into filmmaking at the over-the-hill-in-Hollywood-age in her mid-30s: “I didn’t kick down the door; I made my own door. Nobody would open the door for me. So I decided 'let me create my own thing.' Instead of spending all my energy … trying to get into that room, I said ‘my room will be better so let’s just do that.’” When asked how people can get into filmmaking or any other career of their dreams, she asked us to think: “What are all your excuses? And what are those excuses based upon? Then get rid of them.” And later – even more succinctly: “Do it. Just get started.” It’s true isn’t it? So much of the time when we have an idea we think about it, think some more, argue with ourselves about why it won’t work, and over analyze it some more. In the end, the act of just doing it is what matters. Thanks Ava DuVernay and Nike: Just Do It.
Actress and rapper Awkwafina had a similar message: “If you’re not putting anything out there, you’re fulfilling your own prophecy of failure. Press the publish button and you’re good.” It reminds me of the phrase: “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Such a good reminder.
Actor Zac Braff encouraged us to be our unique selves: “What’s specific and unique about what you are sharing? Because if you’re just bringing vanilla ice cream to the party, everybody’s had vanilla ice cream.” I mean, I love vanilla ice cream, but I get what he’s saying. Be authentically and uniquely you. Now that’s something we all can do.
If you want a little inspiration for yourself, you can still watch Adobe MAX on demand where you’ll find 350+ sessions: https://www.adobe.com/max.html.