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A really sharp young man came to me frustrated he hadn’t completed a task I gave him. I had told him what I wanted but left the how-to-do-it to him. He was feeling blocked by that, I think, and couldn’t make progress.

Now, you should know I’m a particularly bad manager of people. But I’ve heard this is the way you delegate without stepping on people’s creativity (this is what I need, the rest is up to you).

We got it worked out but that started me thinking about how people access creativity. Which made my ears perk up when I read Nick Cave’s recent post about getting through songwriter’s block (written in response to a comment – the bolding is my emphasis)-

“My advice to you is to change your basic relationship to songwriting. You are not the ‘Great Creator’ of your songs, you are simply their servant, and the songs will come to you when you have adequately prepared yourself to receive them. They are not inside you, unable to get out; rather, they are outside of you, unable to get in. Songs, in my experience, are attracted to an open, playful and motivated mind.”

As go songs, I believe, so goes creativity. Pressing blocks the creative process. Breathe. Take a walk. Draw something. Pet the dog.

You may want to grind through that spreadsheet, but you can’t grind your way through solving tasks that require you to do things you haven’t done before (i.e., creatively approaching a problem or task).