There are two types of home chefs. Those who need to follow a recipe to the letter, and those who can throw things together and make a meal.
One way of doing it isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both can lead to wonderful results. I love classical music which is mostly written down, and I love jazz which is mostly improvised.
My wife makes amazing meals using cook books. When I’m in the kitchen, I pick ingredients and figure out what to do with them along the way. There is no right or wrong. There’s just a different approach.
But sometimes one way of doing it is faster and more practical. It can also be safer. Following a tried recipe step by step, will give you the same result every single time. As soon as you randomly mix things together, there’s no guarantee it will even taste good.
Following the rules is something we learn from the day we are born. When we break them we are punished. Rules allow for things to be organized and predictable. Our laws divide actions into right and wrong. Good and bad.
Here’s the astonishing thing: progress in any context is seldom made by doing what’s already been done, and by following the rules. Progress is made by those who push the boundaries and think outside of the box. Movers, shakers, visionaries, and creatives see endless possibilities in a world ruled by limitations.
That’s why they’re often perceived as impractical radicals, as a threat to the fabric of society and the status quo. We call them rebels, mavericks, heretics, and anti-social. If you dare to go against the grain, you better be ready for some pushback. It’s much easier to conform and blend in.
I was six when in art class our very strict teacher asked us to make an animal out of clay. Some kids made cats or dogs. Others made cows and sheep. Soon it became clear how we were graded. The clay creations that most closely resembled reality, got the highest marks. That day I received my first F, the lowest grade possible. I was devastated because I didn’t understand why.
“Your son made a dragon out of clay. Dragons don’t exist. I can’t give a good grade to something that doesn’t exist. Your son is a dreamer. My job is to teach him about reality.”
Till this day I am so glad my parents never listened to that man. When I learned to play the piano, I was taught the rules, good posture and the like, but I was also encouraged to improvise and compose. When I started writing stories, I had to use proper grammar and spelling, but they also wanted me to use my imagination.
As a creative freelancer, it helps to do certain things by the book, but if you can’t improvise and bend the rules sometimes, you’re not going to survive, stand out, and create new things.
Are you going to play it safe in 2022, or will we see a side of you we’ve never seen before?
Happy Christmas and a very creative new year!