“For anyone who is making something that previously did not exist in this form, is at this point, of necessity an amateur. How can he knowhow this thing is done that has never existed before? Every designer, every artists, every inventor or discoverer of something new is in that sense an amateur. And to explore the untried, he must be an adventurer. For he finds himself alone on new ground. He is left to his own devices and must have imagination and daring. All decisions are his own, and only he is responsible. But though it is he who is in charge, he feels himself only to be an intermediary who is trying to help the not-yet-existent turn into reality.”
Anni Albers, Designing As A Visual Organization. Anni Albers 1965
I love those words of Anni Albers because for me they sum up the scariness of starting to create something, anything new. The feelings of uncertainty, and fear that it will go wrong, the inner voices that bring self-doubt. We are in what W. Timothy Gallway calls the ‘inner game.’ Gallway has an equation: P=p-i
The capital P is about our performance, what we can achieve, and this is our (p)innate potential – what we are naturally capable of, and the I is our own interference – our capacity to trip ourselves up. Our self-talk brings us down far too often. Gallway was a tennis coach who began to realise that whilst coaching technique and physical fitness was important and devising strategies to defeat specific opponents was very sensible, players faced not only an opponent across the net but an inner opponent as well.
“In every human endeavour there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions.”
I mention all of this , not to scare you off but rather for you to know and for me to remind myself everyday, that feeling like an amateur every time I start something new, or build upon an idea, is a very normal place to be. In a creative place our brains are firing excitedly just like they do when about to do anything physically risky, so its no wonder we can feel a mixture of excitement and fear. Feeling excited and disempowered at the same time? It’s a humble place from which to start, but it means that we are on our mettle. The key is draw one’s focus onto the physical and mental processes taking place and to notice it all without self-criticism and see them as the narrowing down onto the task in hand. I will explore this more in later blogs.