Could you be great?
I think probably you could.
By great, I don't mean people would be carrying you around town on their shoulders, although I guess that's always a possibility...I just mean doing work that realliy stands out and goes far beyond the norm.
At WebDesignerDepot.com I read a long post on this topic by designer Speider Schneider. He starts by recounting what a jerk he was when teachers tried to help him understand art. That part is a real tribute to the dedication of some of his teachers, who went out of their way to get him to open his eyes instead of being a wise guy. He later thanked some of them, but others were already dead by that point.
He says his ephiphany came when the late Tom Corey, owner and creative director of Big Blue Dot, showed him the difference between good work and great work. Here's what Schneider writes about that distinction:
There is always another dimension that can be explored, another step that can be taken before falling over the edge… and that falling over the edge is sometimes how we learn to fly.
Coming up with something great requires challenging the usual assumptions:
Why does a logo have to have the same parameters they have had for centuries? In the age of digital movement, paper-thin t-ink and lenticular technology, what is the future of paperless logos?
Web sites, applying the same thinking, can be an immersive experience and not just a layout of blocks of information. ...Will you be able to look at a site you’ve designed and see a level of innovative design no one else has seen? Can you say, “how will I make this different and exciting?” This is the freeing process to experience a leap into a creativity you have never thought you could imagine...why does an ad, brochure or billboard have to be a rectangle? Why does a piece of paper have to lie flat in two dimensions when it can be three dimensions? Imagine all possibilities your designs can have and take it farther… as far as your mind will allow and budgets be damned! It’s better to aim high and let others bring you back to Earth.
His examples are from the world of design but the idea applies to just about anything. I sometimes teach screenwriting and often what students want to know is how to fit within the conventions of screenwriting, how to write so their script is most like the ones that have been made recently. I understand that desire and frankly that may well be the best way to sell a story, but it's not the best way to come up with a great one.
What assumptions are keeping you in the realm of the good?
How could you break out of it into the realm of the great?
(Want to stimulate your imagination? There are many ways to do that revealed in my book, Creativity Now, published by Pearson and available this very minute from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)