What We Want

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We don’t get what we want.

We get what we need.

We get what we can’t, not have.

And so a question to ask yourself is…

What is it that would be unacceptable for me to NOT have in the next year, or 5 years?

We arrive at the floor of our expectations, every time. Because not arriving at that floor is so unacceptable that we will do anything we can to make a change happen.

So if we aim for the stars, but land on the moon…

We were unknowingly aiming for the moon.

Despite what we told ourselves.

Despite what we told others.

We “rise” to the level of our training.

No, we fall to the level of our musts in life.

Growth happens as the floor of musts moves over time. I don’t want to say “up” because directions aren’t real in this conversation.

But as our level of unacceptability “improves” it does so toward our personal level of preference.

And so mine may look different than yours. But what unites us, despite our varied interests and expectations…

Is seeking to “raise” that bar.

And waking up,

To it being there.

xx David

FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

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Hey, I’m David. I’ve been marketing and community building for the last 7 years.
Most people know me from Death to Stock (https://mc.us19.list-manage.com/pages/track/click?u=c902571b9ac0aa0e45b3cc71e&id=f1d4e160d7) : 500,000+ outsiders of the world connected by inspiring visual resources that revive their creativity.
* Generously Human (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/human) 25 Actions and Lessons to build a community of your own.
* No Agenda (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) – A no filters podcast.

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No longer want these emails?

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Hey! This is David Sherry from Creative Caffeine.

Seems like you haven’t opened much lately, so I just wanted to see if you intended to stick around on this mailing list?

I don’t want you getting needless email if it’s no longer of value to you. That said, maybe this is just a list you’ve been wanting to get to but haven’t had the time previously!

As a reminder: Creative Caffeine is a newsletter about the creative mind, we cover undiscussed nuances of how to raise the bar on our creative work.

Some past newsletter highlights:
* It’s a 24/7 World. (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/24-7-world)
* Walking into the Wilderness (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/into-the-wilderness)
* This business found me. (https://mailchi.mp/deathtothestockphoto.com/creative-caffeine-the-business-found-me?e=a11d0e373f)
* The Power of the Individual (https://mailchi.mp/deathtothestockphoto/the-power-of-the-individual)

I also send out member responses, talk about brand and community building, and
you might know me from my company, Death to the Stock Photo. (http://deathtostock.com)

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Hey, I’m David. I’ve been marketing and community building for the last 7 years.
Most people know me from Death to Stock (https://mc.us19.list-manage.com/pages/track/click?u=c902571b9ac0aa0e45b3cc71e&id=f1d4e160d7) 500,000+ outsiders of the world connected by inspiring visual resources that revive their creativity.
* Generously Human (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/human) 25 Actions to take to build a community of your own.
* No Agenda (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) – A no filter podcast with quick sparks for your creativity.

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Stories and Symbols

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Symbols and Stories Guide us.

Why else would they be so prevelant?

They’ve been used since the beginning of time to point us in directions.

To take our self, moving through space and alter our course of action and direction.

To unite and rally a direction.

And guide the desire of groups toward a shared outcome.

And the reason symbols and stories guide us is becuase they activate a different type of thinking inside of us.

They activate a different type of person inside of us.

They engage our emotions and bypass our logic.

This works quite well when the stories are positive.

Like a placebo, the right story invokes beautiful change without the dose of a harmful substance that has side effects.

But positive is in the eye of the beholder.

And the stories that take hold may not be truthful.

The distortion of reality from a story can happen through its retelling.

There’s a reason we laugh at playing a game of telephone, the end story looks nothing like the original.

And so we must be careful to understand the stories that are being told around us. Which ones we believe, and which ones we’re encouraging others to believe.

We do this through observation, what is serving us? And what is distortion which is creating conflict or harm?

Telling stories that alter the world around you is your power, your responsibility, and your gift.

We must wield our stories like a sword. They are powerful, but they also can draw blood.

Don’t shy away from this.

But be mindful…

Stories are magic that we believe.

And sometimes it’s best to understand what is truly going on behind the curtain.

xx David

FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

Submit what’s on our mind.
If chosen I’ll share it my Friday email.
Get input and ideas sent to you by anyone the community.

Submit your 300 WORDS here: (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd)
Hey, I’m David. I’ve been marketing and community building for the last 7 years.
Most people know me from Death to Stock (https://mc.us19.list-manage.com/pages/track/click?u=c902571b9ac0aa0e45b3cc71e&id=f1d4e160d7) : 500,000+ outsiders of the world connected by inspiring visual resources that revive their creativity.
* Generously Human (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/human) 25 Actions and Lessons to build a community of your own.
* No Agenda (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) – A no filters podcast.

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CC, How do I Make Something New?

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“I am a product designer. Lately, I’m feeling stuck – every product (or idea for a new use of a product) is already in existence, and with technology, I can get it in 2 days or less. What makes something new or different? Or is being new or different even important anymore?”

– Jessica

Inspire Jessica with Your Thoughts (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/jnwZty)

The sameness you’re seeing is thanks to an echo chamber that’s repeatedly sharing the same ideas which are recycled over and over again.

If you’re looking to come up with new ideas, stop looking at places where other ideas are.

Because it’s more likely that you kill your own unique ideas than the market getting there first.

When people talk about their ideas, they often describe their idea, and then somewhere during the conversation, they let slip, almost as an aside, a different or twist on the idea they have.

They’ll say “yeah so it’s an app that helps you storyboard your animations, I’m going to call it UnAdobe.”

…..

“But it really came from this idea I had when I was a kid from fingerpainting where I recognized that designing could be made easier if the interface was built for finger touch only rather than desktop, and you could get haptic feedback, changing the objects from the pointer tool to…”

“Anyways, so about the storyboard idea.”

……

Why do we try to keep that to ourselves?

When we see the pool of ideas online, we don’t often check back to see how many of the ideas that distracted us, went out of business 6 months later.

What if you work on this for the next 10 or 20 years. How would that change what you think about building? How would that amount of time let your idea mature and differentiate, to where only you know the ins and outs of the smallest details that people notice?

I’m honestly excited about what ideas you have.

But the surface (beginning) is the least interesting part of an idea as it develops. You dig in to find what’s interesting, by seeing things other people don’t see and then sharing them through your work.

Use the rabbit holes you find interesting and go down them.

The farther down those holes you go, the fewer people there will be, and the more you will make something truly unique.

xx David

FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

Submit what’s on our mind,
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Get input and ideas sent by the community.

Submit your 300 WORDS here (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd)
If you’re just joining us, I’m David Sherry (https://twitter.com/_brandswell) , and you signed up to Creative Caffeine, or found me through Death to Stock (http://deathtothestockphoto.com/) . I also host the no agenda. (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) podcast and livestream.

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Don’t Hesitate

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Don’t Hesitate

Hesitation kills creativity.

When we have an idea… when we’re inspired by a thought, when we’ve laid out a task in front of us…

We take a moments pause (instead of a plunge).

And in that moment of pause, our thinking mind activates and starts cycling through what we will say, what we will write, or what we will make.

And the subtle pause kills our best work. Because that subtle pause introduces a different form of thinking. It activates our strategic mind.

You’d think that it would be helpful to use strategy in your work.

You’d think that it would help to allow thinking to help guide what you make.

But this is an error in order.

Thinking happens best after our work is done, and miles before our work starts again. Thinking is for setting a direction.

Work is for work.

As soon as you sense you are about to put pen to paper, what we want is for the thinking to stop and the doing to take over.

Because our best work is done without a filter.

And the thinking creates a barrier between us in our work, it jumbles the magic and replaces it with strategy and “trying.” And the audience can tell.

Now it’s possible that we’re all on a spectrum, and my natural place used to sit on the “thinking too much” end. Whereas some are “doing” all over without ever having thought about it, even before hand.

But if you’re like me, thinking creates a variety of complex pathways to go down, and at each turn, there is a decision. This is a slow and imperfect way to produce something.

Instead, simply working is like slowly rolling down a hill, you’ve got momentum thanks to a pull of gravity. Small changes to direction are made with little thought, and it’s apparent when the work is finished and you’re at the bottom.

What many will learn and few will say…

Is that the best work we create, the best ideas we have, don’t come out through a long, hard, process of thinking. At least not when they arrive.

They arrive when we let ideas slip out, allowing action to happen without pausing to think, first.

When we go with the pull, instead of putting our arms and legs out to stop ourselves.

And that makes all the difference.

xx David

FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

Submit what’s on our mind,
If chosen I’ll share it in an email,
Get input and ideas sent by the community.

Submit your 300 WORDS here: (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd)
If you’re just joining us, I’m David Sherry (https://twitter.com/_brandswell) , and you signed up to Creative Caffeine, or found me through Death to Stock (http://deathtothestockphoto.com/) . I also host the no agenda. (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) podcast and livestream.

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A Brand in 10 Ideas

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What is a Brand?

1. Every Brand is a Promise.
2. How you fulfill that promise is what makes you stand out.
3. If you deliver on your promise, again and again, you will build trust.
4. If you over deliver on your promise, again and again, you will build repeat business and referrals.
5. If you haven’t defined the system for delivering on your promise, you will blend in.
6. If you underdeliver on your promise you will have churn.
7. If you are unsure what your promise is, you will lack clarity and focus, and your customers will, too.
8. If you are consistent, you show commitment. People like to be committed to other people who are committed to them.
9. Positioning is the context of how you deliver your product.
10. Distribution tells your story (make sure it’s the right one).

CC Note:

In my last email (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/submit-whats-on-your-mind?e=af9dd4c9b5) we tested the “I’m Stuck” button that you see below.

It went *Great.*

We basically crowdsourced a bunch of ideas and love into a members inbox.

To me that is something very special… to feel stuck and then receive a dozen emails in your inbox of support. And to share what you’ve learned and help others when you can.

New member questions are already teed up for this week

xx David

P.S. How do you see this fitting into the CC–Universe? Dedicated weekly email? etc.

FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

Submit what’s on our mind,
If chosen I’ll share it in an email,
Get input and ideas sent to you by the community.
Submit Your 300 Words Here (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd)
If you’re just joining us, I’m David Sherry (https://twitter.com/_brandswell) , and you signed up to Creative Caffeine, or found me through Death to Stock (http://deathtothestockphoto.com/) . I also host the no agenda. (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) podcast and livestream.

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Submit What’s on Your Mind

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CREATIVE CAFFEINE

Good Morning from LA, where it is finally warm and my boxes to tick for the quarter are stacking up in my Notion page. I’m contemplating sticky notes, as I’ve recently rediscovered how seeing something in print still changes things. However, I do not like writing, as I can never get the letters to stay in a straight line.

Last year, as mentioned in the 2018 review, we made inroads on topics related to creativity. I did a lot of writing (150+ pieces) and you all did a lot of writing in return. We formed a coalition, united by our earnest interest in pursuing our best work in this one life of ours.

There is an opportunity to shift further towards community.

What if we can take your thoughts and attention to the replies to my posts…

And direct them at members who could use help, feedback or encouragement?

Submit a request for feedback, ideas or support, and I’ll post it here.

You can respond to these submissions, to give thoughts, ideas or encouragement.

Your emails will go directly to them, so don’t be a dick (I’ll unsub you) and just share whatever generous thoughts come to mind. Sometimes it’s just nice getting the reflection, hello’s, or input of people that aren’t your co-workers or cat.

If you’re skimming, here’s the way it will work:

NEWSLETTER LOGISTICS
1. Submit what’s on your mind, where are you stuck, or you want input on (below).
2. If chosen, l’ll share that with the community.
3. You get input and ideas from people all around the world (including me).

CC –– is yours too. It’s an approach to work that’s being cultivated. I’ll still write like I do every week to spark conversations. I’ll still do reply-roundups. I’ll still link you to indicators and tools that catch my eye.

But the community, connecting to one another, and allowing yourself to connect further and share, that door is open now.

If you choose to walk through it…

xx David

HELP A MEMBER OUT.

“I have done illustration work before and it was a great secondary source of income. No matter how much I practice, get inspired by others work, or learn from projects and new challenges, I always see myself as a viewer and not a creator…

Any advice for a young creative struggling with opening themselves into that space instead of forcing it?”
– Sophie
Inspire Sophie with an Email (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/KUKSFx)

ARE YOU FEELING CREATIVELY STUCK (OR NEED FEEDBACK)?

Submit what’s on our mind,
If chosen I’ll share it in an email,
Get input and ideas sent by the community.

Submit 300 WORDS here: (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd)
If you’re just joining us, I’m David Sherry (https://twitter.com/_brandswell) , and you signed up to Creative Caffeine, or found me through Death to Stock (http://deathtothestockphoto.com/) . I also host the no agenda. (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) podcast and livestream.

Join in on the discussion by hitting reply to this email. I occasionally share a roundup of community responses –

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The Thought Tornado

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☕Creative Caffeine
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There are so many blogs about productivity.

So many websites that give you templates for how to do your work, be more productive, creative… but my intent here is for us to discuss the undiscussed.

There are nuances that relate to our mindset which drive our actions further than surface level fixes.

And to understand these nuances is to gain mastery of ourselves at work and in life.

One of such areas is our Focus.

Focus is one, if not the most important tool of the mind.

I’ve noticed this in the workplace, in meetings, in relationships, and even in conversations in my own head…

We encounter The Thought Tornado.

The Thought Tornado is what takes us away from our priorities. It takes us off topic. It shifts where we’re putting our attention to areas of unnecessary detail, rather than a top priority.

The Thought Tornado occurs when we spiral our focus out of control away from what matters.

This can happen in a meeting (someone brings up something unrelated to the focus, and the whole group spins outward towards this new topic).

This can happen in a relationship (one person’s small comment becomes the focus of a larger fight with bigger importance than reality). It’s like a rock in a shoe.

And this can happen in our own heads: We’re working on a task and suddenly a text, an email, or a thought pops up that drives us down a rabbit hole away from what we had been doing. And when we get out of the swirl, we forget where we’ve left off.

This shift gains importance as it gains focus.

And this is the critical understanding of the power of focus.

It’s intensity increases as it’s used.

Focus is a magnifying glass.

And that magnifying glass can be used in very positive ways, it’s what helps us gain depth of skill and understanding.

But when that magnifying glass is being used on your toe, instead of on the court…We waste priority to distraction.

So why is it that we get caught in these cyclones?

Why do we revert to the small unimportant details, or place our focus on irrelevant data?

Well, it’s a matter of awareness and discipline.

First, we are unaware, like an ostrich we’re caught with our face in a hole which shows us nothing. And it’s tough to be aware that this is where we’re looking (at the time).

And the discipline is to have a priority for our focus at all. To know what the priorities are, and to stick to them takes thinking, rather than reacting.

And so the undisciplined, and the unaware waste time by using their precious Focus in holes, and they get carried away by tornadoes.

Whereas the disciplined in the aware keep focus, therefore bring strength of mind, using the priority like a rail for which to hold for momentum and direction.

If either of these are currently difficult for you, becoming aware, catching yourself once you’ve been swept away, or setting priorities and keeping them…

At this stage let me only suggest that you not try to change anything, but to simply understand the consequences of functioning this way. And as your awareness grows, you will grow.

The downstream effects of unaware and nonfocus are wasted time, wasted brain power and attention, other people’s wasted time, and most of all a lack of effectiveness moving towards what you actually want.

There are plenty of things around us chasing for our attention, tornadoes spinning past us we can get swept up in…

In essence; we take the bait.

Having a priority in the first place takes effort. It takes high-level thinking, rather than reaction.

Keeping the priority takes discipline. It takes calmly returning your focus to where you wish to keep it.

You will get swept up.

So return as quickly as possible.

And use your priority like a wheel…

Hold onto it, let it guide you.

listen to these topics by audio – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/no-agenda/id1261965736?mt=2 (https://share.transistor.fm/s/6f8a7349)
If you’re just joining us, I’m David Sherry (https://twitter.com/_brandswell) , and you signed up to Creative Caffeine, or found me through Death to Stock (http://deathtothestockphoto.com/) . I also host the no agenda. (https://noagenda.transistor.fm/episodes) podcast and livestream.

Join in on the discussion by hitting reply to this email. I occasionally share a roundup of community responses –

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We See, We Create.

 

Inside the mind of an artist, there is a revolution unfolding.

And this revolution is their Life.

It’s what we witness around us; and the distinction between what we thought we knew, and what we come to understand.

Because with each movement of feelings, each change in perspective, there is a lesson.

And this lesson overthrows our previous belief.

And this is our gift; the ability to take what we see and turn it into something beautiful.

It could be art, a business, a way of greeting to someone new, a way of getting dressed in the morning, a particular approach to a hobby, a vision, a new sound…

When we see and experience and turn it into something that expresses our discovery.

It’s this precious place, the settling in, the sound of this new understanding, that is the very source of our work.

We see, we create.

We see, we create…

 


2018, What We Covered

 

I want to say thank you to everybody who has been a part of this newsletter.

2018
There is now a backlog of more than *150* letters, all of which push forward our discussion about the nuances of your creative life. You can browse through a short list of essays picked from last year (https://www.notion.so/davidsherry/d0808d85451741e6a671e389f74d79cd?v=dabf75deb05b4d99b64904f486dd5b6e) , in case you missed any of them.

Each time I write, I do so intending to speak to you directly, as a digital confidant.

And after literally 1,000’s of emails and replies exchanged between us, it certainly feels this way… building our own island on the internet.

Share
If you’ve enjoyed it so far, share this newsletter (http://creative-caffeine.com) with people you think might benefit from joining this year.

Upcoming Census
If you want to get a sense of the digital island, here is the 2018 community census (https://www.notion.so/davidsherry/6d615aa4286b41deae48af21e05c23a9?v=f6945c7e6a3346c985bc7011aad40b02) 450+ of you filled out early last year. (Global Locations below) I’ll do another this year, with fresh questions, to further help people get to know who else is out there reading and creating…

Hit Reply
Thank you also for your contribution.

I typically send out replies that I’ve gathered from responses and will continue that this year. I’m still waiting to discover the right location for a more real-time chat/community hangout spot. When I find it, I’ll let you know. All that to say, I always enjoy reading and sharing your thoughts.

And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out,

xx David

 

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