We live in a world obsessed with the analytic construct of volume. We continually crave more, more, more. We’re in a constant cycle of more. We are told this cycle is good. More productivity, more efficiency, and more predictability are what we crave so that we can get even more.
But more of what exactly?
When looked at analytically, volume becomes a mindset that champions more but has little regard to what that more might be. It may be that, yes, you are getting more—but it may be more waves that are battering your boat. Or more wind taking you off course. Or more issues thrown in your way.
More isn’t always necessarily better.
But when looked at creatively, volume becomes an antiquated relic that champions only what is quantifiable, missing out on a whole host of other things that creativity sees as more important—like the quality of more, which is really the founding cornerstone of the new 21st-century economy.
But time and time again, we are instead drawn to quantification that we can touch and feel. And volume being the pursuit of more is something we constantly seek and desire, because we feel it is tangible. We feel it is real. We crave its multitude.
However, the endless worship of the analytical and quantifiable takes us away from creativity in any real sense. While we are on an endless search for more and more, the casualty is any meaningful development of a Creator Mindset.
This quest for volume and quantity clouds our vision when we try to think creatively. So instead, to become more creative in all that we do, we need to shift our focus away from quantity and onto quality. The quality of what we are doing is far more important than the quantity of what we are doing. Quality is the only scalable product which will ensure a Creator Mindset, no matter what you do. If you scale quantity, you end up making a lot of nothing. But scaling quality is a sure way to embrace creativity in your career or business.
With the quest for more, more, more so ingrained in us, how can you recognize when your hunt for quantity and volume overshadows your drive for quality and creativity? Taking a quick gut check can help. No matter what your career or what type of business you are running, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to ensure a Creator Mindset blooms:
1. Why am I doing this?
So much of our time and energy is spent producing volume that the reason we produce it in the first place is outside the realm of our understanding. We are just ‘doing’. The ‘why’ is essential because without the why, we are just doing for doing sake. There has got to be some reason in the first place we are doing what we are doing. And that reason will unlock the creativity we have traded for blind repetition.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself why. For example, why do I own this landscape business? Is it to trim trees and hedge bushes? Or is it to mow lawns? I doubt it. I am certain there is a far greater reason you are doing what you are doing than the activity of your labor. It is the magic that drew you to that profession in the first place. You need to rediscover the reason creatively. And when you look at your career or company creatively, that reason will yield quality to your approach. You just need to remember enough of what got you there in the first place to uncover it.
Sometimes, what we are doing has lost its purpose; without creativity, it simply becomes a multiplication of all that has come before it. The why of what you are doing comes from who you are creatively. It is up to you to rediscover it.
2. What am I doing?
Are you stuck in endless meetings all day that seem to go nowhere? Most of us feel that way from time to time, especially in these days of group Zooming. Are you focused so much on the day-to-day details that you’ve lost touch with the meaning of your work? Or does the pursuit of volume and quantity overwhelm you? It’s easy to get bogged in the small stuff that doesn’t seem to matter in a big-picture initiative—that is, continually working in the business instead of on it.
A brief look at the ‘what’ behind the execution can lead you closer to a Creator Mindset and a focus on quality. For example, if you are a nurse, what is it that you do? Most think that it’s providing care or administering initiatives and so on. What you are executing can seem like an unconnected series of details—a shot here, a check of the IV there—a daily routine that seems like an endless blur. But if you really look at the ‘what’ of what it is that you do, you will tend to find greater meaning in connecting the work into purpose. Maybe you are a patent advocate—or maybe you are a patient communications manager who helps connect the patent journey throughout the hospital stay.
No matter what the ‘what’ is, if you look at it creatively, you will tend to shy away from quantity and volume and latch onto quality and meaning.
By taking these two rather simple steps, we can help control an otherwise out-of-control appetite for quantity and more, more, more. If we stop to think about what that ‘more’ just might be, we can unleash creativity. Because any approach to creativity has to have both a ‘why’ and a ‘what’ factor in order to reach creative solutions that the analytical mind alone cannot provide. And in that solution, there will be a newfound wealth of quality, meaning, and, yes, creativity.
Nir Bashan is the founder and CEO of The Creator Mindset LLC, where he teaches business leaders how to harness the power of creativity to improve profitability, increase sales, and make work more meaningful. His clients include AT&T, Microsoft, Ace Hardware, NFL Network, EA Sports, and JetBlue. He received a Clio Award and an Emmy nomination for his creative work on albums, movies, and advertisements, and was one of the youngest professors ever selected to teach graduate courses at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about his new book, The Creator Mindset: 92 Tools to Unlock the Secrets to Innovation, Growth, and Sustainability (McGraw-Hill; August 2020), at https://www.nirbashan.com/the-creator-mindset. Or visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/1260460010.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.