What doesn’t kill your ideas doesn’t make you stronger. – By @LagoonLynx
What doesn’t kill your ideas doesn’t make you stronger.
Last week’s introductory video about the concepts of a learning zone and a performance zone really got me thinking.
It was implied that we spend a big amount of time in a performance zone, where we ought to, well, perform, and avoid mistakes at all costs, minimize risk. And that zone is not the ideal place for growth, in all the senses of the word. The learning zone is about testing ideas, reflecting, a place where mistakes mean that you’ve tried, explored an option and learned something. It is not about proving anything.
But weirdly, I don’t feel like I truly am in either one, or rather in the hallway of the learning zone. What I mean by that, is that I tend to feel safe in a « I’m feeding myself with informations and have dozens of books that I started reading and don’t always finish or even leaf through because the following days I chance upon an other one and feel the urge to immerge into it as soon as I hear about it and the cycle keeps going on » zone.
I can spend nights scratching the bottom of lost Tumblr accounts and blogs for old fashion or interior design ads. I enrolled into literally dozens of free online courses about various subjects. Some I’ve completed, some I haven’t started yet and probably won’t until several months. And ironically, that place that should be about growth might not serve me that well. Moreover, with so many references at hand, I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of things that I feel I need to know about vs the so little amount of time I have. And here the learning zone might even become a paralyzing zone. It also made me reflect on the fact that nowadays, we have so many choices to make. What do I want to study ? Is this the right path, the right decision ? Choices also mainly centered on the notion of self. Of course when people’s fate was determined by blood and birth, life was not easy and fair. But the way to happiness was maybe more direct: it was about finding contempt in knowing that the task you were assigned to was done well and would bring something to your community. Now each step we take is centered around the question « Is this where I am supposed to go ? »
Coming back to my point about the learning zone, I recently realized that, that behavior might be an avoidant coping mechanism, enabling me to not have to make choices about things I deeply care about. Usually I find myself thinking « before starting that project, I need to know about X ». As if I find safety in a passive attitude towards creativity and creation. It definitely is more comfortable to be in such a position than to confront your ideas to reality. It is postponing the inevitable death or failed birth of my ideas, I actually still get to play with them mentally for a little while.
And when the idea is only in a thought format, it is perfect. You don’t picture its flaws, it is not confronted to your clumsy hands, or to the software that you’ve barely touched but that would require a good amount of expertise to make something out of it.
The idea that quantity leads to quality, I accoutered several times this week and started to find in it an escape to that pattern I show. It convinced me that my ideas or their executions don’t have to be perfect straight away to have value or to add up to a meaningful ensemble.
I even read about a more practical way to picture that idea: strive for 70%. Having a 70% mindset gives you a concrete idea of when to move on. When completing a project, don’t feel bad if it didn’t reach perfection. The polishing stage required to reach the 100% is usually one that takes quite some time, but is not the step where you learn the most. Feeling contempt and able to move on when reaching a 70% rather than 100%, might be a good formula for growth.
Hopefully after brewing those concepts for a few more days, I might quit that comfortable become stuffy armchair facing the learning zone and jump in.