September 22

The Three Gaps

Few creative projects truly match the original aha moment that inspired them. Ideas always appear much more perfect in our minds than they do once they are brought into the world, where compromise and tension are inevitable.

Author Scott Berkun described this dynamic in a recent interview as a series of gaps that must be navigated to do creative work from inception to completion.

The effort gap:Some people become paralyzed at the thought

of taking action on their idea. It feels perfect in their minds, and they fear that any execution will never live up to their standards.

The skill gap:According to Berkun, it’s easy to become para- lyzed when you compare your in-process work with the work of the best performers in your field.

The quality gap:Even the most brilliant contributors still experi- ence insecurity about their work. Your work is unlikely to ever live up to your expectations, no matter how hard you work on it. That’s simply a fact of life for creative people with high standards.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. As Berkun shared, “To be perfectly satisfied with something you made likely means you didn’t learn anything along the way, and I’d rather be a little disappointed with projects now and then than experience the alternative of never learning anything at all.”

Creative work is an assault on uncertainty, and it requires per- sistence, focus, and bravery. Don’t allow the three gaps to lock ideas up inside your head.


Are any of the three gaps preventing you from taking action today?

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