As someone who has been in the creative services business for over 13 years, I have heard it all. Just do this one thing and your creative problem will be instantly solved. Search engine optimization and keywords, the right mixture of hashtags, the perfectly crafted viral video—there’s something satisfying about the search for the magic bullet solution. It gives hope that our solutions will work and we are valuable. But the less sexy reality I have been reminded of a few times this week: it’s better to focus on getting better than searching for the perfect shortcut.
Quotes Referenced in the Episode:
“…the secret to long-term success in any endeavor is not magic but sustained action over time. And we don’t do anything for long unless (1) it is easy to start and (2) we can keep doing it long enough for it to become a habit” (p. 58).
“Every breakthrough is preceded by great uncertainty…. The only way to avoid uncertainty, to come close to guaranteed success in an endeavor, is if you’ve done it before, or someone else has. At that point, why bother? You’re no longer creating, you’re replicating, checking off yet another largely inevitable outcome. It may be easier. It may carry less angst. But it will also matter far less to you and to those you seek to serve” (p. 76).
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman:
“When business owners get bored, there is always the potential for them to get distracted by the shiny stuff and inadvertently sabotage what they’ve created. Fading passion and losing sight of why you’re in business are other pitfalls that could lead to the same fate. Defining your core focus will return you to your original levels of clarity and excitement” (p. 47).
“Decide what business you are in, and be in that business” (p. 49).
Why Magic Bullet Solutions Don’t Work:
- Magic bullet solutions are built on hacks, not habits.
- Magic bullet solutions are about certainty in an uncertain world.
- Magic bullet solutions are distractions from your work.
- Magic bullet solutions don’t prepare you for prime time.
- Magic bullet solutions decrease your value.
- How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom by Jonathan Fields
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
- JFK (1991)
- Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
- The (Seven Deadly) Curiosity Killers
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