Expectations & Tolerance


I’ve come to realize that having high expectations is not a bad thing. It forces me to demand more of myself both creatively, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Pushing beyond what you’re comfortable with, or farther than you’ve been willing to go before is rarely easy, but almost always worth it.

The trouble with a mindset or desire of going beyond your prior limits is the fear of failure. In fact, failure is inevitable. This is where having high expectations can really stifle your creativity. Like the unemployed guy who is always holding out for a management position, you can be always aspiring for something you haven’t earned. Creativity, problem solving, new ideas, innovation all require countless amounts of failure. The failure isn’t for nothing though, it’s there to be your friend by showing you won’t work on your path to the right solution. Failure is the friend we all need but no one wants to listen to.

Let’s be honest though, failure sucks. It’s discouraging, frustrating, and deflating. So how do we continue on this cycle of failed attempts always striving for the hope of success without losing our minds and just giving up?

Tolerance of frustration.

It’s easier to give up. It’s easier to quit, to do nothing, to just lay back on the couch and watch another episode of The Office on Netflix. Is that 24 minutes really going to be fulfilling or is that just what we choose to prevent ourselves from the hard work demanded by things that matter?

We have to learn to tolerate frustration. Many choose to lower expectations and be content with a bunt, but while there are places that compromise is essential, it can’t be a way of life. If we’re able to raise our frustration tolerance we can learn to really roll with the punches. We must strive to become more aware and in control of our ability to deal with things wisely when they don’t go as planned. Seek positive reactionarism.

Because frankly, lots of people who are less qualified, less educated, less resourced, with less free time, and who are less intelligent than you (and me) have figured out how to do things beyond what we’ve done. It’s not because they have a magic potion, it’s because they can tolerate the failures that will inevitably come, because they know it’s a part of the process of getting to the answer the desire. It’s not what you have, but how you use it.

Keep trying, don’t give up. Learn to be in control of your frustration and become tolerant of the inevitable changing of course in any problem. Expect to fail and value the lessons that failure teaches, don’t just count them as waste. You’re going to fall down, but as long as you get back up and try again you’re not letting failure rule you. Failure is your most honest friend, you just have to be willing to hear him out.


The Blue Glow


I have been a long time iPhone owner and my home screen has gone through dozens of revisions of what wins the prized spots on this first page (of two) that is always within arms reach. I try to run my app repertoire as lean as possible limiting it to only the essentials I use fairly often. Like most, my scheme is to keep the things I use most on the front page, and things I use “second most” just a tap or two away.

Having an iPhone is a blessing and a curse because it leaves me wondering how I went without it before, but also wondering if there will be a time in which I could be less dependent on it. It’s my memory, my link to work, my office on the go, my book, my music source, my to-do list, my alarm clock, my fitness tracker, my podcast player, my RSS reader, my GPS, my Bible, my calculator, my camera, my collaboration tool, my e-mail, my stock broker, my calendar, my catalog, my link to everything at any moment. The only thing that stands in the way of me and the knowledge I desire is a few taps on a handheld robot affixed to an increasingly dense amount of pixels tucked ever-so-usefully behind a glass screen.

I have gone through seasons where my phone was a toy. It was a way for me to always have something to do. God forbid I ever get bored for more than 8.6 seconds.

But the more I become aware of things that are constantly demanding my attention, the more I realize how much I’ve let those things win me over. I’ve discovered I carried this stigma that if I’m always busy, then I can’t be unproductive. However, an iPhone allows you to never be bored, but at the same time accomplishing nothing.

In creative work that I’m a part of everyday, I realize how important it is for my brain to get bored sometimes. I need to let my brain set all the clutter and noise aside to bask in the silence of nothing. I think of times I could just sit outside on our porch and think, and the time since I’ve last done anything like that is pathetic.

I’ve become more aware of the invaluable power of boredom. It is in that time quiet, of hush, of silence, of internal solitude where you can find a place where God can meet you. It’s a place to discover what you’ve been missing all around you. There is so much to think of, to see, to study, to learn, and I don’t want to miss it by constantly burying my face in a handheld robot meant to “enhance” my life hoping it will give me the answers I long for.

Though li’l iPhone has its place, it too must be in moderation. Though it can do a lot of things, it is not meant to do all things. I want to be present, I want to make memories I won’t need to tweet about to remember. It’s time to get crazy, look up from the blue-glowing handheld robot, and live a life worth living.

Here’s to the crazy ones…

Here’s To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world—are the ones who DO.
—Steve Jobs


Sweep the Sleaze

Interesting thoughts from Information Architects (@iA) on the seeming omnipresence of social media buttons on web articles.


Mila Jaroniec on “How To Kill Your Creativity”

Satirical wisdom on our creative tendencies. A must read post on How to Kill Your Creativity by Mila Jaroniec.


A Short Lesson On Perspective with Linds Redding

An eye-opening reminder to those of us who create for a living: be sure what you do truly matters.

Click here or the title of this blog to be taken to the article after reading the bio of Linds Redding below.

British born, Linds Redding graduated with a degree in Graphic Design, and launched straight into a career in advertising having been told by a fellow student it was a guaranteed way of getting fabulously wealthy very young. Twenty five years later, he hunted down the person responsible and killed him with a baseball bat and buried the body in the woods.

Linds worked as an Art Director for several agencies in London and Edinburgh, before emigrating to New Zealand with his family in the mid nineties. He worked for most of NZ’s top creative agencies, Saatchi, DDB, Colenso and The Campaign Palace before leaving agency life at the millennium to pursue his interests in Motion Graphics and animation. For the past ten years, Linds has run a successful animation studio designing and producing TVC’s for tne New Zealand advertising industry.

In late 2011, at 51 Linds was diagnosed with inoperable Eosophigal Cancer. He has since given up work and spends his time at home on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf walking, writing, drawing and making music. He blogs on the tricky business of living and dying at lindsredding.com.