The Creative Tipping Point

The creative tipping point is that point you reach when what you create is stellar. Before you reach the creative tipping point you are in various stages of not quite liking what you create (aka sucking).

You move past the creative tipping point when you reach a groove and are creating at a stellar level. It’s also the point at which, if you have been doing some “marketing” along the way you finally get external validation via traffic or attention.

The real kicker? You don’t know how long it will take to get to the creative tipping point. It’s different for everyone and you have to deal with an internal element (monster) which uses 4 types of kryptonite to work against you…

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From a business perspective, the creative tipping point is when what you create has a solid return on investment.

What makes the creative tipping point so interesting is that in order to reach beyond it your internal validation for creating needs to be strong enough to ignore the external validations.

In other words, although you want to get to a point when the external validations kick in that external validation isn’t the primary reason why you are creating in the first place.

Which is why the magical creative tipping point is so elusive to many people. They give up before reaching the creative tipping point usually because there wasn’t enough internal validation or why to start with.

To illustrate this let’s go through a common scenario.

Let’s say you get really excited about blogging. You start in really happy and willing to give it a go.

As you start a course and then apply it to your writing. At first not many really notice. It’s hard to get anyone to look at what you are doing. The few who do look just offer a quick, great or looks good.

You keep going but the lack of attention slowly erodes your motivation until you reach a point where other things you could be doing instead distract you.

So although you write every now and again, in the end you let it go saying blogging just isn’t for you.

This is very simplistic but overall not uncommon however if you stay with what you are doing long enough you will actually reach a point where your stuff get’s noticed.

That’s the creative tipping point, the point you reach when you start seeing strong outward validation of your efforts. People start liking and commenting about what you are doing. This provides some necessary fuel to keep going. Although it’s not the primary fuel for your efforts, it’s certainly helps.

So how do you reach the creative tipping point?

It’s different for everyone however two powerful tools to start with are willpower and creative habits.

Willpower and Creative Habits to the Creative Tipping Point

See willpower is known by everyone to get the thing to get people to where they want to be. Pure grit is a cultural concept known to attract many to a book or movie.

However willpower is known to be like a battery in that it gets drained so that by the end of the day it’s been used up and you have nothing left. Willpower gets recharged for the next day however this won’t help you to do everything you want to do.

You need to leverage your willpower energy and that’s where creative habits come into play.

Creative habit’s are human algo’s designed to make creating easier by going into motion via a trigger. Once that trigger is in action most of what you do is automatic in the sense that it takes less brain and willpower to get it done.

That’s what you want, automatic creative systems you can jump into so that doubt is less of an issue and your willpower can be extended.

By having creative habits in place you have a much better chance of reaching that ever elusive creative tipping point. Yet there is one block that will still hold you back. It’s an internal monster created in your subconscious probably at some early point in life.

That internal monster is different for everyone however the results are usually the same.

While one part of yourself is putting on the gas, that monster is putting on the brakes and you end up spinning your wheels.

Usually the internal monster will use special kryptonite to prevent you from reaching past the creative tipping point. This kryptonite shows up masked as an valid excuse behind the four T’s: Talent, Tools, Traffic, and Time.

Talent, Tools, Traffic and Time

There are businesses run and books written all designed to help you around each one of these. What works to get past these takes some experimentation however it’s good to have some plans to get past these BEFORE they creep into your brain and side track you from reaching beyond the creative tipping point.

Talent and Skills

Talent or skills are often used because that’s one of the best reasons for producing sucky results. Once there is more skill why then you will have what it takes. Which means you wait only you don’t get the skills or have the talent unless you start in somewhere.

Just start with your first step is as old as time however actually applying it on a regular basis is where it get’s tough. Never will it really go away because the deeper you dive into a skill the more you realize there is to learn.

Then you look on your work with new eyes and while it didn’t suck as much as before, it still sucks. This type of kryptonite never really goes away so just deal with it.

Tools or the Next Shiny Object

Tools are great to go after in the digital age because there is always the next shiny object. There will always be better or cooler tools to use than the ones you have at hand.

Just when you think the tools you have are awesome, something else comes along that’s better. It’s best to just focus on the output, not the tools.

Treat yourself every once in awhile after some mile markers, see if that helps.

Research other ways to get past those shiny objects but make a plan before you need one so that you can just apply it without much thought.

Traffic and Attention

Traffic or attention is a supreme external validation.

First you work to get enough traffic and then the larger it gets the more you bend your work to please it.

One way around this is by establishing an internal fortitude so that you create even when no one is watching. This fortitude helps you get past the creative tipping point while serving as a guide when strongly influenced to just please the crowd and avoid negative feedback.

Though it’s great to use ideas from the crowd you won’t ever please everyone and should expect to get negative feedback at some point.

Time Bandits

Time is one of the best excuses of all time, right? Especially if you can prove what you are doing isn’t providing a return on investment. You need to make money, you need to use all the time you have which is limited.

So it’s easy to toss out what you are doing for something different. Experiment with what works for you however one place to start is with why.

When you know why you are doing something, have a strong enough reminder, and combine willpower with habits then it’s easier to establish techniques for turning off Facebook or a TV program.

The Internal Monster

What to do about the larger internal monster block is different for everyone.

You could start with some free writing exercises to get ideas on what might be blocking you however usually this will only get you so far.

For more you may have to do other exercises like those from John Assaraf or Tony Robbins, and others. You could also check out The One Thing.

Knowing about the four T’s though helps in establishing ways to get past them.

Now you might reach that creative tipping point with just creative habits and willpower it really depends on what you are creating and what your internal monster is. It may just take longer to get there and require more willpower and habits.

So the next time you start a course, challenge, or embark on a creative project recognize there is an unknown creative tipping point you want to reach past.

Knowing and establishing creative habits with willpower will hopefully liberate you from the ongoing barrage of doubt fueled by the four T’s.