My principles of creativity:

1. Every creative project is different, but the creative process is timeless and unchanging.
2. When you're in a creative rut, make fresh snow

The mind is like a snow-covered mountain. Every thought is like a sled. Over time, the sled creates trails in the snow and new sleds favor the existing trails.

Fresh snow changes that and creates new paths for exploration.
3. Create fresh snow by finding new ideas

Every Michelin Star chef knows that delicious food begins with quality ingredients.

The same is true for creative work. The quality of what you consume is a leading indicator for what you'll eventually produce, so cultivate your taste.
4. Expression is compression

It takes 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Likewise, Picasso's displayed his commitment to distillation by removing the unnecessary until he was left with only the essentials. This image of a bull is my favorite example.
5. Spurts and consistency

Since creativity comes in spurts, most of your creative working sessions won't feel productive.

But because creativity rewards the consistent, most successful creatives commit to working regularly, even when they don't feel inspired.
6. Creativity to start, discipline to finish

Creatives love to start projects, but often struggle to follow through on them. But the fruits of your labor are only shared once you press publish.
7. Start with quantity, move towards quality

When you start doing creative work, the quality of your output will frustrate you. Focus on reps. Publish all the time.

With experience, start focusing on quality. Commit to relentless improvement and publishing only your best work.
8. The paradox of creativity

Your work is done when it looks so simple that the consumer thinks they could've done it, which means they won't appreciate how hard you worked.

9. The best way to be original is to stop trying to be original.

Move towards truth and excitement instead. You'll know you're on the right track when you start surprising yourself.

In the words of CS Lewis: "You will become original without ever having noticed it."
10. Imposter syndrome

Neil Armstrong once attended a party of top performers.

He said: "I look at all these people, and I think, what am I doing here? They've made amazing things. I just went where I was sent."

If the first man on the moon felt like an imposter, you might too.

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More from @david_perell

2 Jun
How Philosophers Think

Philosophers are the best thinkers I know, and their tactics can help us all.

Here are my favorite ones:

1. Be an intellectual boxer: Understand ideas by making them battle with each other. Create characters in your mind and make them debate each other.
2. Dissect ideas

The smartest kid in my middle school class used to take computers apart and put them back together again in order to understand how they work.

Good philosophers are like my friend from middle school. But instead of playing with computers, they play with ideas.
3. Think by writing

Deep thinking happens by writing, which allows us to navigate the hazy labyrinth of consciousness.

Most roads lead to a dead end. But every now and then, the compass of intuition leads to an epiphany that the top-down planning mind would’ve never discovered.
Read 13 tweets
1 Jun
I teach people how to become citizens of the Internet.

Writing online is the best way to do that.

That’s why I tweet about learning, business, and the craft of writing. I aim to make ideas fun and easy to understand.

Here is a collection of my best threads. Enjoy!
Read 21 tweets
31 May
How to improve your writing:

1. Get ideas on paper: Put words on the page as fast as you can. First drafts are always messy. But you can only start shaping ideas into polished writing once they're out of your head. The beauty and clarity you desire will emerge with each edit.
2. Finding ideas

Sherlock Holmes once said: "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." But when you write regularly, you start observing those things because the pen turns you into a curious detective who is always hunting for clues.
3. Collecting ideas

Finding ideas isn't enough. You have to save them too. Preferably, in a centralized place where you can instantly search for the best ideas you've ever had. The better your note-taking system, the less you have to rely on memory.

Read 14 tweets
26 May
Write like your reader talks.

Read a bunch of Internet forums about whatever you're writing about. Identify common phrases and put them into a list. Then, use their language whenever you write.

By writing like a friend, you build trust.
The idea of using your reader's voice works best for tactical writing that aims to be clear and persuasive. As a writer, this strategy also helps you get inside the mind of your reader so you can speak to their specific feelings.

(h/t @dollarsanddata)
@dollarsanddata Copywriters should do the same thing.

They should ask questions like "What inspired you to buy our product?" Then, they should collect the most vivid phrases onto a spreadsheet they can pull from whenever they write.

Let your customers do the work for you.
Read 7 tweets
23 May
What made Kobe Bryant so good?

5 championship rings. 7 trips to the NBA finals. Though fans were inspired by his excellence, others were offended by his personality. To learn about the nature of greatness, let's talk about his career.

Time for a thread.
The Lakers are famous for their roster of stars: Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.

Kobe wanted to add his name to the list but worried his legacy would be undermined by sharing the court with another great player who he didn’t always get along with: Shaq.
Kobe motivated himself through a combination of envy and desire.

For example, Kobe and Shaq had one of the most famous feuds in NBA history, due to the conflict of Shaq’s desire to be the team’s leader, and Kobe’s need to take the spotlight and outperform.
Read 9 tweets
19 May
This paper explores the core personality traits of entrepreneurs:

∙ Capable
∙ Hubristic
∙ High self-esteem
∙ More likely to have done “illicit activities”

But here's the key line: "The number one predictor of entrepreneurship is asymmetric information about skill levels."
I discovered this paper when @wolfejosh shared it a few years ago.

He mentioned a quote from William Blake: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create."
By asymmetric skill levels, the authors refer to people who are more talented than they are credentialed. They're the kinds of people who know how to build a business, even though they never went to college.

Being under-estimated makes them more likely to start a company.
Read 4 tweets

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