We learn from those that have gone before us: the pioneers who have shared their findings, the creators who have given us revelatory products, the technologist who assembled something new. We seek out their experience and label these trailblazers as leaders in our industry. When they speak we want to listen, eager to extract wisdom and knowledge from their narratives. While we appreciate these lessons, we must be cautious that we don't become so enamored with their results that we unconsciously adopt their process too.
Without proper checks we grant these innovators carte blanche authority in their profession and come to accept their methods as dogma, an undisputed truth. When, in fact, there are an infinite number of ways to achieve the result we want.
Method is just a means to an end and can be changed and discarded at will and articulating that method is not the point, not at all. -George Saunders
There will be those that are granted seemingly unbounded talent, who can so quickly get to a solution that they become the envy of those of us with lesser skills. We may think that if we were to follow their same approach we too could achieve the same outcome. We also know people who demonstrate amazing perseverance and hustle, iterating through ideas and shaping the final delivery to an equally spectacular result. Here it is their tremendous effort, even with an inferior starting point, that creates success. Both approaches can be defined as craft.
Our goal is to be inspired, and mimicry is often a valid result of inspiration. However, if we don't scrutinize incontrovertible truths, we diminish our own presence by ignoring the methods that work best for us and adopting someone else's chosen style instead. We remain conscious of the results and methods separately, providing the necessary space for us to define our own approach to our craft.
See the whole series by using the Paradox Pairs Index