Yesterday was the best day ever. The work day went by super fast, I got a bunch of compliments on my new hair cut, it was a beautiful day outside, and I met Ze Frank!
Ze was one of many guests at my office yesterday and spoke for a few minutes about social media. I was so excited when I heard he would be in the office! I can’t really say I’m the biggest Ze Frank fan since I haven’t really seen a lot of his videos or checked out most of the stuff on his website, but what I have seen I’ve really liked. In particular, his The Show episode on Brain Crack really made a big impact on me and the way I consider and act upon my creative ideas. I really recommend you watch the video (though it gets a little weird at the end and might not be safe for work), but basically he describes this condition a lot of us have where we get a great idea in our heads and spend a lot of time thinking about it and developing it in our minds, but we never actually get around to executing it. Instead of just realizing the idea in its current state, we dream up all the wonderful things our idea could be if we just cook it in our heads long enough. The reality is that no matter how long an idea cooks, “you’re almost guaranteed the first time you do something it’ll blow” anyway. So Ze recommends that we get our ideas out into the world as soon as possible so we simultaneously avoid becoming addicted to that “brain crack” our ideas produce, and so that we have the experience of actually doing something so we’ll improve. He puts it all a lot more eloquently than that.
Anyway, that video really got me thinking, and I realized I was a total brain crack junkie, constantly thinking and making excuses, but never doing. Since then, I’ve done my best to execute my ideas without fear that they wont’ be as good as they could be. They almost definitely won’t be as good as they could be, or as I imagine they could be, but the bottom line is that one sucky completed project is infinitely better than one amazing imaginary project. The real waste of potential is letting your ideas sit in your head forever. Take this blog, for instance. In the past when I’ve decided to make a blog, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what subject the blog should be about, what to call it, and then designing and implementing the web layout. What I usually end up with is $10 out for a new domain name and a half-finished blog layout, no blog. With this one, I just got an idea for a blog post and made it at that moment. I thought of a name later, I added a template later, and I’ll integrate it into my real website later. Right now I’m focusing on making fun blog posts!
So I just had to meet the guy who came up with this life-changing philosophy on creativity! After all the guests were done speaking, the CEO of my company said it was alright to stick around and talk to any of them, so I kind of hung around Ze’s area until he was done meeting the other guests and a co-worker helped introduce me =) I told him how the brain crack video had had a big impact on me, and we spoke for a few minutes about that. I had actually been pretty intimidated to meet him because he is so very charismatic and kind of in-your-face in his videos, but happily, that charisma translated into friendliness in a one-on-one conversation. He was super nice, not intimidating at all, and seemed genuinely interested in the words nervously shooting out of my mouth. I even got to tell him about a webcomic I’m working on with a friend and how I hope it will prove my ability to execute ideas and stick to one project at a time (something I read over at Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders that seemed like a good idea). I feel very lucky to have gotten to meet him, especially since he is in town for SXSW, where I’m sure he’s been giving talks to thousands of his fans who probably won’t get a chance to meet him face-to-face and have a chat. So, thanks for being a cool dude, Ze Frank! It was a pleasure to meet you. Keep on being cool!