Think back for a moment to your childhood days of play and wonder. When you changed the rules of games you played and made up completely new ones on the fly. When you invented scenarios and even whole worlds in your mind, and suddenly that little toy train became an actual train, with actual passengers in a world of your imagination. You created all that, and you had a lot of fun doing it. Why shouldn’t that work anymore now that you’re a few years older?
As adults we learn to categorize our thoughts. We learn to focus and train ourselves to think goal-oriented: How to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. And that’s great. But that does not allow for creativity, and let’s be honest, often it’s also just not any fun.
To arrive at unconventional and ingenious solutions, go from A to Z to B instead. When you want to foster community in rural Alabama, open a pie shop instead. When you want to clean up countries infested with land mines, simply blow the mines up with a cheap toy instead of clearing them with expensive detectors.
What I learned in my years working as a designer is that my work is only at its best when I’m having fun and when I’m playing. That doesn’t mean that every moment of my work is full of joy, or that I’m not buckling down and working hard every day of the week. But creativity is about bending the rules of logic to a point that allows the mind to wander, that allows it to take the unknown path. Without play, there is no creativity – and vice versa.
So whenever you are on a creative endeavour, make sure there’s space to explore, to go wrong. To come up with 100 solutions that are all wrong, only to arrive at the right one. Because when you think wrong, you end up right.
Thierry Blancpain is a graphic designer and the co-founder of the independent Swiss type foundry Grilli Type. Grilli Type offers exclusive retail and custom typefaces with a contemporary aesthetic in the Swiss tradition. He also writes the weekly Input—Output newsletter. To learn more about Thinking Wrong, check out Project M, an immersive yearly program for young creatives.
Love to write?
Every month we select a few writers to help us explore what it means to live more fully and mindfully. Reach out to write firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about contributing.
Welcome to Holstee
Our monthly membership helps conscious people (like you!) live a more meaningful life through actionable guide, inspiring art, thought-provoking content and a like-minded community.BECOME A MEMBER
Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.VIEW OUR THEMES