When I dream up a new idea, it’s perfect. I usually don’t even see the ‘thing’ itself, I see the eventual results it produces – the smiles and the joy that it brings to the world. And I get excited.
The trouble is, when I start to actually build the 'thing’, it usually is very clunky and awkward. Especially to start.
My vision was of something more perfect, more useful, something 'more’. So I tweak, and I mold, and I polish. Thinking it’s not ready yet, it’s not perfect yet, but with just a little more work it’s going to be great.
If I’m not careful, or my ideals are too strong, I’ll be stuck in this phase forever. But if I’m too reckless, or my ideals are too weak, my 'vision’ will die prematurely.
So how do I know when the time is 'right’? How do I move from idea, to action, to reaction?
Gut. Gut strengthened and developed through experience, failure, and success.
If you haven’t developed your own good gut for this sort of thing yet, the trick is to error on the reckless side first. Get more, clunky, ugly, and awkward stuff into the world. It won’t live up to your dreams or expectations, but it will help strengthen and develop your gut instincts.
It will move you further down the path for the next time. And that’s the key thing to understand, it shouldn’t be about having to be perfect this time…it should be about getting closer each time.
Though he didn’t know it, Steve Jobs dreamed of the iPad back in the 70s (maybe even earlier)…it took him a lot of years, a lot of 'next steps’, and a lot of 'gut development’ before he could get us to where we are now (and my guess is it *still* wasn’t quite what he had imagined yet).
It seems to be human nature that we make things harder than they have to be. Not because we actually want things to be more difficult, but because our imaginations are often so much more powerful, and perfect, than our reality.
So don’t let yourself get too down if you actual work isn’t living up to your imagination yet. Just keep dreaming. Keep working. And keep taking that 'next step’.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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