June 23

What propels you forward? For many creative pros, it’s the sense of dis- content they experience when their in-process work doesn’t match their vision for the work. They desire to close the gap between the aspirational and the practical, and they feel ill at ease until they do. Whether it’s a design that isn’t quite right or a phrase that doesn’t capture the essence of what they’re trying to say or a system that isn’t humming in just the right way, they can’t seem to rest until they solve it.

That’s the nature of creative work. It goes with you everywhere, because your mind is always at work. There’s often an ever-present feel- ing of discontent because of the gap between your vision and your results.

Being unsettled in this way is necessarily unhealthy, nor is it always anxiety. Anxiety consumes you and is counterproductive. However, healthy discontent can propel you toward better work and more mastery over your craft. You may never achieve a perfect match, and that’s also OK. It’s the effort to close the gap that leads to growth and fulfillment.

It’s fine to feel discontent. When you are unsettled, you may just produce your best work.


is there an area of your work where you feel unsettled, like your vision doesn’t match your results? What would it take to close the gap?

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