Thursday, March 8, 2018

Repeat After Me

Last weekend, I had a couple of kitchen misfires (which is not at all unusual for me). First, I used a new gluten free flour blend for Swedish pancakes and ended up with a gummy mess. Then, I used a different shape of pan for my favorite coconut cake, and the result was...well, let's call it a sunken treasure.

Image result for picasso paintings"You should never change anything," said my dear husband. "You need a repeatable process."

I get that. I do. Especially coming from someone who has spent his whole career in a manufacturing industry...and has a favorite menu item in every restaurant because that way, he's never disappointed.

But I also firmly believe that if we don't ever make changes to a process, it can lead to stagnation, complacency, and a false confidence that we are doing everything right and have no need for improvement.

The internet abounds with articles and theories about creativity--what kind of thinking it requires, what situations support it, whether it can be learned or is innate. For me, everyday creativity isn't necessarily about a big new idea, though those are wonderful and exciting. It's about that extra nudge when my brain asks me, "Is this the best you can do?"

Sometimes, the answer is yes. In that case, my brain accepts that I am lazy, and, with an awkward parting glance, we move on to other things. Other times, I accept the challenge and try to stretch myself a little. The results are not always amazing, but I feel satisfied that at least I peeked around an unfamiliar corner to glimpse what waited there.

So, we need both: the framework of the repeatable process and the wiggle room to take a few chances within it. As Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist."

Great advice, but I don't think I'll try to find out if it applies to Swedish pancakes.


  1. Hi, I just chanced upon your blog, while looking at the list of bloggers who are in the A2Z Challenge.
    A well-laid out process is important. But like you correctly said, some processes need to be changed to just get out of the predictability and complacency that it can bring in.
    Constant change is bad too. But a periodic change is what I would also go with.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts! I think we'd all like to find that perfect spot between complacency and change. Like everything, it's about balance!