The 99% Conference – “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – wrapped up a couple of weeks back, and there have been some amazing conversations among leading creatives and visionary speakers. We’ve excerpted a few of them below, thanks to the wonderful recap from the 99 Percent team, and included snippets of a visual documentary of the event from illustrator Wendy MacNaughton.
RILLA ALEXANDER | Designer & Illustrator, Rinzen
“Without the doing, the dreaming is useless.” Most creative professionals are dreamers. Sure, a tendency to be struck with ideas and inspiration means you’re in the right field, but it takes discipline to persevere past the “dreaming stage” and start chipping away at really making it happen.
JONATHAN ADLER | Founder, Jonathan Adler
Forget about strategy occasionally; missteps are okay. We’re trained to focus on a goal and make “strategic decisions” to reach it, but a rigid plan can stifle creativity. Give yourself the freedom to “make whatever is in your head” and do something risky from time to time. You never know how it might turn out.
JAD ABUMRAD| Creater & Host, Radiolab
Embrace “gut churn.” Gut Churn is that awful feeling of discomfort and uncertainty you have when you’re not sure if your idea will sink or swim. In the early days of Radiolab, Jad’s cohort remembered, “years and years of being sick to my stomach.” Greatness might not always feel good, but heading into unchartered territory is rarely comfortable. In fact, “gut churn” probably means you’re onto something.
JONAH LEHRER | Author, Imagine: How Creativity Works
“The answer will only arrive after we stop looking for it.” It turns out that scientists can actually predict when you’re most likely to have an epiphany. In fact, being relaxed and not thinking about the problem you’d like to solve ups your chances of having that “aha!” moment. Ergo, the most productive thing we can do when we’re stuck is: Forget all about work. Force yourself to waste time – take a walk, a shower, a day off – and you just may find what you’ve been searching for.
TONY FADELL | Founder & CEO, Nest
“Frustration is where my creativity comes from.” An early curiosity about how things worked, understanding how they were built, and then wanting them to be built differently – and better – is where Fadell’s unique brand of creativity came from. Inspiration is highly personal and often strikes unexpectedly; be attuned to the world around you to find more of it.
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