My Theme for 2011, Plus Bonus Rant!
I isolated myself from the world by not-quite-publicly declaring that I wouldn’t have a New Years Resolution, Theme, Word or Intent for 2011. Now, I’d like to rejoin the rest of you, please, by retracting that non-declaration. Because suddenly, I have a theme.
That theme comes to you courtesy of Hugh MacLeod – yes, the remarkable business card cartoonist artist author dude at GapingVoid. Please go visit him and buy something, because for my theme of 2011, I’m co-opting the title of his book, “Ignore Everybody”.
But I’m changing the punctuation, so that I can pretend it’s original.
See? The punctuation and italics make it totally different from Hugh’s book, right? Right?
(Did I mention Hugh is here in Texas? It’s amazing how many cool people are here in Texas, since we’re the brunt of so many insults. I think it’s just jealousy of our backwards ways. And the guns. Hopefully Hugh won’t use those guns to track me down and exact his revenge, which is why I think you should go buy something and tell him I sent you. So he won’t shoot me or something.)
I settled on my theme while monkeying around on Twitter – which is where I get a lot of my most
inspired good questionable ideas. (like #Emmit, who will be back later this week)
But here’s a screen shot of where I announced it, and a bit of explanation:
For those who can’t read the image because the text is too small and you’re too lazy to click for the full size (which usually means me), here’s a transcript:
— Ok, so maybe I do have a theme for 2011, after all. Ready? *Ignore Everybody* (thank you, @gapingvoid).
— Seriously? I’m not listening when you <gestures at random people who aren’t you> trash creative ideas, concepts & approaches that work.
— And though you <gestures again> wouldn’t tell ME I’m doing it wrong, you do tell the world we’re doing it wrong. And I’m part of the world.
— So if an idea-concept-method-whatever bores, annoys, aggravates or makes you shake your head? Rant away. But my fingers are in my ears 😉
— This concludes today’s stompy hissy fit, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled innanity! (but I’m still gonna Ignore Everybody)
— *STOMP Glitter Gesture STOMP*
This was immediately preceded and followed by much more stomping and gesturing with glitter. Why glitter? Because I didn’t want people to think I was seriously angry, even though a few of you thought that, anyway.
For the record, I wasn’t seriously angry. I was, however, seriously annoyed. But what no one knew was that I wasn’t annoyed on behalf of myself, but for other people, my Right People, fellow Quirkipreneurs, members of my tribe (thank you Seth Godin).
See, creative, quirky spirits are often unsure of ourselves, so when Voices-of-Authority! start bitching about the new-idea-or-thing-we-find-helpful-and-inspiring, it can squelch that little spark and send us reeling into the depths of… of.. well, I don’t know exactly, but something really icky.
It’s even ickier than that stuff in the back of the fridge that I keep hoping will sprout legs and wander off so I don’t have to clean up after it. Yeah, I know, that’s an image you really didn’t need stuck in your head. See how disturbing an off-hand remark is? It’ll take you weeks rid your brain of that image, and I didn’t even need to draw it!
The point of all this ranting?
Well, first, a sort of side-point/wish: If you don’t find a method, project, concept or thing useful, just don’t use it. Don’t teach it, don’t coach it, don’t encourage it. But try not to slam it or insult it in front of a general audience, either. Even if it gets you applause, or page views, or new followers.
Because wandering around your social media networks bitching about things that others find helpful, and telling people not to do them?
It makes you look like a weenie who believes in one right way to be creative, and I know that you know better than that.
Creatives are diverse and unique.
We each have our own varied paths to productivity. What inspires you to greatness may annoy me to no end, or kill my creative spark altogether. And next week? We may switch positions entirely, or we’ll be on to another new thing, equally inspiring. That’s how creativity works – it’s flexible, flowy, changing, alternately annoying and beautiful.
That means that at any given point, we may find zero useful support for whatever we’re doing.
No how-to books, no gurus, no one who has cleared out the brambles along the path, or mapped out the pitfalls.
We’re on our own.
And anyone who tries to advise us, no matter how helpful they mean to be? They’re probably wrong.
If we’re going to plunge ahead with our unique, creative, against the grain and flow thing, we need to ignore everybody. That means ignoring the way-things-are-commonly-done, ignoring the experts, ignoring friends, family, spouses, the voices on Twitter, industry magazines and in our heads.
Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, sometimes they will be costly. Yes, we run a higher risk of failure. But if we learn from our own mistakes, do a few course corrections, there’s also a good chance we’ll succeed in doing something potentially valuable, groundbreaking, beautiful, and important.
Also? Financially successful, if that’s your thing.
So if your Right People are creatives, if you’re advising them, and even more, being PAID to advise them as an expert? Don’t go about on Facebook, Twitter or your blog crushing inspiration with a ranting hissy fit because you don’t like whatever the current big creative thing is. Besides making you look like a weenie, you may be crushing the spirits of your potentially most successful clients.
Of course, I’m being a bit hypocritical by throwing a ranting hissy fit about ranting hissy fits, when many people (including me) find ranting hissy fits inspiring.
So feel free to ignore me.
I know I will.
I am, after all, part of Everybody.
The same Everybody that I’m ignoring in 2011.
*STOMP Glitter Gesture STOMP!*
P.S. Throwing glitter on the ick in the back of the fridge does not appear to help it to evolve. It does, however, make it a sparkly sort of ick, improving its appearance exponentially.
P.P.S. This was supposed to be a far more productive interpretation of my new theme for 2011, with pointers about how ignoring everyone is a good business approach. It was supposed to be a thoughtful bit about ignoring Mr.Spouse and Circus Dog, when they’re being yappy and unhelpful. It was supposed to be about how innovation will always draw criticism and be misunderstood, and we must trudge on ahead inspite and even because of it… but I got too wound up about hissy fits, started having fun and didn’t get to the good stuff.
If you’d like to take a stab at a more useful interpretation, please do so in the comments.
Or just go read the original from @GapingVoid because he says it better than I can anyway. That chapter (and more) is available online, for free, here: http://gapingvoid.com/books/
That is all. Really. I’m done now.
Except for the comments section, of course. It’s down below. And you should contribute there, with your thoughts, themes, resolutions, rants or whatever.
Really. Start typing.
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