I watched an interesting music documentary a few years ago, called It Might Get Loud. The documentary features three great guitar players including Jack White. It was a very insightful look into the struggle around the creative process from some very original talents.

Jack White says in the documentary, “If you don’t have a struggle inside or around you, you have to make one up.” He even mentions it in the trailer, check it out.

He was talking about the creative process and doing great work. What I realized was that the struggle is a necessary part to real creativity that counts. White describes having lots of obstacles on stage when he plays and how it’s awkward to step around and over things. It pushes him to be more creative and he feels like his performance is better.

The friction in your environment is a critical component of your creativity.

Jack White: “If this guitar had only 3 strings, what could I do with that?”.

It’s critical that you approach your work with anticipation of the ‘struggle’. Struggle everyday, as much as you can, to not make assumptions. Focus on the actual problem, don’t just come to the table with a solution and then try to wedge it in.

What can you do to build a better functioning system?

Can you eliminate something and still get the same functional result (careful here)?

There is a lot we can all learn from original thinkers who produce original work. It’s not easy, but that’s all right. The struggle helps produce an original, that makes an impact.