Advice For Talented People


This term one of my teacher held individual lessons with tasks made specifically for each student based on what they wanted their future to look like. My tasks were to read some inspirational books. I liked them so much that I decided to share them with you all.

Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) by George Lois

120 pieces of advice from a Master Communicator who wants everyone to be who they are and be proud of it. He wants to kick everyone who is not following their dreams in the butt and get them to take control of their destiny. He draws on his experiences working in advertising and most of his advice are for people in the advertising business but can also be used in other creative industries.

It took me two afternoons to read so not a major task. The task came when I had to think how I could use each advice in my life. Granted some of them I still don’t understand. Here is two of my favourites:

No. 14: A trend is always a trap

“Trend can tyrannize; trends are traps. In any creative industry, the fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof positive, at least to me, that a new direction is the only direction.” – George lois

I was a little surprised by this advice seeing as it is coming from a major player in advertising, who inspired a TV series, I would have have thought that following trends was key in creative industries, because that is what we are being taught at my school. On the other hand, not following trends is exactly why he is famous. When someone asks him around the start of a new year what he thinks the coming trends will be, he always answers: “I’ll know it when I do it”.

I agree with him. Following trends always seems boring to me. Why should I have a Mac just because everyone else does?

You can never truly be original if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. Knowing trends is important but I find that they hinder creativity rather than helps it.

I don’t want be known for following trends. I want to be known for being creative, being original.

No. 10: My first commandment: The word comes first, then the visual.

This I’ve actually tried a few times, especially in group work. A lot of times, it is easier to understand a concept if it is written. Then there are no questions about what concept is being worked on and if there are any misunderstandings they can be discussed.

Personally, I also find it a lot easier to envision something if I try to describe it on paper first. I have a lot of ideas and dreams for the future but it has been difficult for me to just go out there and get them done because I think too much about it and try to have everything planned out first.

Except when I started this blog. It was a bit impulsive and there are a lot of things I still have to figure out about it, what I want to do with it and at the same time I am thinking of all the other things I want to do.

Now on to the second book…

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden

This book is a lot like the previous but also different. It gives a lot of the same advice but in a different way.

It is described on the back as a “guide to making the most of yourself – a pocket ‘bible’ for the talented and timid (me) to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible.”

The main theme of this book is that if you want to be big that is what you will be. Already on the first pages it says it in white on black:

“Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good-looking. They become rich and powerful by wanting to be rich and powerful.”

I can see that with certain people, like reality stars, most of them don’t seem notably talented to me but they’re famous anyway.

“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”

Because I often let my doubts hold me back, I have never thought that my vision of who I want to be was my greatest asset. It might be because I have so many ideas of what I want to do that I’m not sure which to do first. My main theme, however, seems to be the sameno matter what I want to do: Be creative!

Among my many favourite pieces of advice from this book, I would like to introduce you to two of them.

The Person Who Doesn’t Make Mistakes Is Unlikely To Make Anything

Failing is okay. You learn from it. Mistakes teaches how not to do something so you don’t repeat it later.

“..failures and false starts are a precondition of success.”

Like Thomas Edison’s light bulb: “Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt.” He didn’t fail 200 times, he learned 200 ways of not to make a light bulb.

The thing to take away from this, is that it’s your attitude towards failure that is crucial to how you go on. If your attitude is negative you will drop what you were doing immediately upon failing but if your attitude is positive, you learn from it, change and keep soldiering on.

As Einstein is quote in this chapter: “There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.”

You can’t make the same light bulb 200 times and expect it to work better next time if it failed the first time.

Life’s Creative Circle

The last chapter is probably my favourite. It is about what creativity is. It really got thinking about what I see as creative.

Its-right-to-be-wrong

When I was a child and later in life, I thought as Paul Arden writes that many do, that creativity had something to do with the arts. As such I never thought of for example games as being creative but after studying Multimedia Design and Concept Development, I see creativity in almost everything. And at the root of it is imagination.

Imagination and creativity are related and perhaps even one and the same.

Imagination is a powerful tool. Humans can survive the most horrible things because they imagine life after their current trial is over. They see the end goal. They create images in their mind and recall them when they start to lose hope and even before that so they don’t lose hope.

When you use your imagination to create something different, something new, something that is truly you, then you become truly creative.

As the motto I use for one of my many unwritten book ideas: Imagination is Creation. If I can imagine it, I can create it, in fact, I have already created in my mind. Next step is then to make it come alive.

As I said before imagination is a powerful tool. We all have it and must never forget to use it in a positive way.

I hope you pick up these two books and give them a chance. You can find both of them at Amazon here and here.

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