August 6

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustave Flaubert

Simplicity of process yields complex, interesting ideas.

When confronted with a difficult creative challenge, it’s tempting to dive in and start building or making something without first stepping back to think strategically about the best way to approach it. I’m not talking about the creative strategy, or desired outcome, I’m talking about the process by which we create it.

On his podcast, Tim Ferriss once shared a question that helped him find more clarity in his work. He said that when he feels overwhelmed by something he’s working on, he asks “What would this look like if it were easy?” This is not a lazy question. He isn’t implying that the work shouldn’t require effort. Rather, he is asking how his approach to the work might be more simple so that he can pour his problem-solving efforts into the work itself instead of wasting mental cycles resolving the complexity of the process.

As you consider your work today, pause and ask “What would this look like if it were easy?” Is there a way to simplify the process or the objectives so that you aren’t wasting energy doing work that provides little return on your effort?

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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