I recently attended two bi-coastal conferences: 99U in New York, NY and See, Think, Design, Produce in San Jose, CA. One of the resounding themes was this: Fear and uncertainty should not be avoided while you work. Rather, they should be harnessed to help you reach your potential. Embracing uncertainty and fear in your work, benefits you these three ways:
1. Provides new perspectives
“Start by getting lost.”
– Scott Belsky, 99U
What do you remember most about your recent travels? The times you stuck to the itinerary, or the times you strayed from it?
Whether you choose to change the plan, or it’s chosen for you, detours like these uncover the new and unexpected. Something that lasts as a part of your history. A story worth telling. A photo worth taking.
The same is true with the design process. When you choose to discover new corners of your own creative process, you’ll uncover unexpected gems along the way. These new experiences act as a different lens by which you view your work. As you see your work from new and different angles, it grows in all directions. Your work reaches new depths, breadths and heights.
2. Prevents you from resorting to familiar patterns
“Try bad ideas deliberately.” – Mike Bostock, NYT
When you travel, do you seek out the same chain restaurants you have at home? Or do you search for local, family-run restaurants?
If you approach every design problem the same way, with the same solutions, you won’t discover anything new.
3. Keeps your mind open and your senses alert
“Embrace the mess — inspiration is all around you if you let it in.” – Marc Ecko
When you travel to new places, with heightened senses for the unknown, you see and experience more.
Approach your design process with heightened senses for the unknown; the outcome will benefit. And you’ll have a satisfying experience in the process.
So get your hands dirty! Try something new. It might fail, but try it anyway. It will lead you to something exciting, worthwhile, and rewarding.
“I don’t think you can get rid of the fear… but you can dance with it. When fear presents itself, you may be onto something great.”
– Seth Godin