Hey! /r/startups ! I can't believe I am new to this community as I've been an entrepreneur perpetually stuck in the start-up stage for almost 5 years now. I'm working on a video game that will instantly feel familiar to you and am trying to overcome a major design challenge: making an approachable yet esports worthy fighting game.
I'll be working on our Tutorial Design & Rollback Netcode Proofing Level Triggers and open to discussing any "New User Experience" best practices! Love to discuss and maybe there's ways my game design knowledge can help with 'gamifying' your stuff, too!
Stream link: https://www.twitch.tv/rushdownrevolt
All entrepreneurs want to be successful, but relatively few have done the work to know what that means. In my work with entrepreneurs, one of the first things I look for (and if it doesn't exist, help them create) is a clear vision of what, specifically, would constitute success for them. This vision, and the creative tension that having it creates, is an effective foundation of changing a business, and a life.
Here's how it works:
Picture a rubber band. A big one, loose, about a foot in width and five feet in length. Picture it wrapped around your waist like a hula hoop.
Now picture something you want, which is not currently a part of your life. Something you want to build, something you want to be, something you want to have. Maybe you want your company to be the dominant company in the market. Maybe you want to be debt-free. Whatever it is, picture yourself having that thing. Like Michael Jordan, visualize yourself having what you want, as if it’s already real.
Got the image? Good.
Now remember that rubber band wrapped around your waist? Wrap the other end, in your mind, around the waist of your visualization, so that you have a taught, stretched rubber band, with one end wrapped around your waist in the here and now, and the other end wrapped around yourself when you have what you want. Feel the tension of the rubber band, the way it pulls the two versions of yourself together. Feel that tension in your body, your mind. Feel it’s texture, the way it yearns for resolution.
This is Creative Tension, which is one of the most powerful tools in a creator’s toolbox.
I’ve found visuals like the above to be helpful in creating this tension, but not always necessary. In essence, the minute you are clear about your vision, when you really feel what it would be like to have it and embrace that you want it, the fact that you don’t already have it creates Creative Tension.
We as humans hate tension. It’s uncomfortable, and everything in us wants to relieve that tension. Mostly, we choose to relieve that tension in the easiest, most straightforward way, which is to sacrifice on what we want. Be “realistic” about it. If our vision was to be the market leader, and that creates a ton of tension, maybe we change our vision to only being 10% bigger. It’s more “attainable,” which is another word for comfortable. You can almost see the slack being created in that rubber band when you lower your goals like that.
But there’s another option, which is to live with the discomfort. To stick to our vision for ourselves, the crazy, audacious one that scares us, even though the creative tension feels yucky. We can even do crazy things like repeat that vision to ourselves every day, burning it into our consciousness and not allowing it to be diluted. We can scare ourselves with our audacity to recreate that tension every day.
If we do this, if we refuse to dilute our vision, there’s only one option to relieve the tension. To take the actions necessary to get what we want. To be that market leader. To eliminate our debt. Doing anything else feels yucky.
People who wake up at five in the morning to exercise (raises hand) don’t do so because they’re disciplined. They wake up at five in the morning to exercise because they’ve cultivated a vision of themselves as one who exercises, and because of the clarity of this vision it feels better to wake up than to sleep in. Waking up and exercising relieves the tension.
Humans hate tension. I do, and you do. As creators, we can use this fact to drive radical change in our lives, if we’re only willing to be a little uncomfortable.