Utilizing Best Practices: Inspiration to Teach

Looking to existing teachings, best practices and research can offer inspiration:

  • You may learn new things or be reminded of something you had forgotten, making you excited to pursue a particular line of thinking.
  • Your study may spark an idea to put one idea together with another to create something new. You might then depart from common practice to create something incrementally better, or perhaps even leading to a paradigm shift.

Whether you are inspired to create something that’s been done before or whether you have an idea that is incrementally or dramatically new isn’t particularly relevant. As long as you embody the idea, seeing it through your own lens, applying it to your own experience, perspective and style, it will naturally have a unique element to it.

Even if your driving objective is to create something new, an externally-driven desire to be unique or special will not be the place from which you actually create. Rather, your passion, service and creation comes from the process by which you find inspiration, immerse yourself, practice and “tinker.”

As an aside, sometimes things that seem “obvious” after you’ve immersed yourself in practice and study may actually turn out to be a vital new perspective and offering. It may not at first seem that you’ve created an important new offering because it may seem too simple—in plain sight. But it could be that the only person who finds it “obvious” is you because you’ve given your attention and curiosity and personal perspective to this topic, leading to your passionate engagement and a unique offering.

Learn from the Past

Surgery is an engineering project, and it’s based on best practices. Learn from the past, don’t ignore it. Art, on the other hand, is something we value because it leaps. Art is more than engineering—art is the thing that might not work. But even art is based on best practices. Just not as much. The playwright better have read Bellow and Beckett. The conceptual artist should be familiar with Duchamp. The photographer and designer needs to know Debbie Millman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jill Greenberg… Ignore it if you want to, but learn it first. – Seth Godin