Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. —Benjamin Franklin
We learn best when we’re doing. When we bind the inputs and outputs, taking what we’ve discovered on the journey and use it to make things, we internalise knowledge. We hardwire it into our brains.
As Benjamin Franklin puts it: “Involve me and I learn.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series of a dozen thoughts on creativity for The Pastry Box as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I started in January by stressing that the creative process involves a combination of inputs and outputs. These two sides of the creative equation, input and output, when coupled, work symbiotically.
As I put it when I embarked on this series, in Designing a Mind, inputs are critical:
Without constant input we stagnate. The secret to a wealth of ideas is simple: nourish the mind.
Fuelling the mind isn’t easy, it requires rigour and discipline. Put in that discipline, however, and the returns will be considerable. Your ideas will flow and, the more you apply yourself to priming the brain, the more you’ll see connections in the content you encounter.
Inputs on their own, however, are only half of the story. Outputs – the things we make and share – are equally important:
Our outputs define us. What we share shapes us, as both creatives and individuals. The work we do and the work we put out into the world paints a picture of us, it portrays us in others’ eyes.
Output is every bit as important as input. Our outputs can take many forms: words we wrestle, pixels we push, and code we commit. Output, just like input, is hard work (no one said this would be easy), but it’s well worth the effort.
To grow as creatives, to design our minds, we need to focus on both the inputs and outputs. Marry them and the rest falls into place.
Your life is a journey and, like any journey, it involves an endless series of collisions with new and interesting things. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Be receptive to what you encounter. Open yourself to new inputs and, as you travel, make things and share things. Your outputs, in turn, shape others, completing the circle.
Life is an endless series of exchanges: take from the world, give back to the world; always try to leave more than you took out; do that and everything should work out well. As you embark on your journey, I wish you Godspeed.
If you enjoyed this series of thoughts, you might enjoy my next venture, Tiny Books. Tiny Books are short, sharp books for creative entrepreneurs that explore the design of business and the business of design.
Intended for digital pioneers – creatives taking their talents to the rapidly proliferating digital landscape and harnessing the opportunities it affords – Tiny Books explore both theory and practice, applying theory through focused, downloadable worksheets. They are intended for what David Hieatt calls doers (individuals who ‘do’ rather than ‘talk’).
I aim to launch the first Tiny Books in 2016 and will be publishing an edited version of my dozen thoughts for The Pastry Box there.
Thanks for following along with my thinking, I wish you well on your journey. I hope to see you at Tiny Books in 2016 for more thoughts on creativity.