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Three P’s – That Will Change Your Life

By Jake Zastrow on Aug 13, 2020

In design and in life, problems happen everyday. I view myself as a professional problem solver, even though my parents think I just draw pictures all day. As a designer, details fluctuate, designs change, they even suck and quite honestly, they just go off the rails sometimes. So the three things that I reflect on when I’m stuck, when I’m giving feedback or when things aren’t going my way are what I’m calling my “Three P’s.” 

The first and probably the most important “P” is Positivity. Overall, I’ve found that positivity goes a long way in helping the creative process. Now I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and unicorns, cause it’s not. I swear a lot (maybe too much) and get frustrated just like everyone else. I’m not perfect, but I feel that how I communicate with my team or vendors and how I give direction and feedback always skews positive. I try and look at the positives and approach the negatives in a manner of how we can make them better. This style of communication not only helps your project’s end result, but it makes people feel more confident about themselves and the work they are doing. This approach applies to my work and my mood. When I’m angry or frustrated my work suffers, so reframing internally usually helps make the creative process go smoother. 

Perspective is essential in both design and problem solving. When I’m stuck or helping others get unstuck, I try and flip the project on its head. Typically, this is just taking a different angle or sometimes even having another person take a shot at a particular problem. Sometimes as designers and creatives we get stuck or too invested in a project, that we don’t see obvious solutions or explore them. I am as guilty as anyone in going down a path we know will ultimately never work. I’ve found involving others and adding experience and perspective not only helps with creativity, but also helps you to see angles that might not be obvious to you. 

Every first version, no matter what it is – writing, design or a science project, is typically crap. Great work is a product of crafting, molding, time and persistence. This type of persistence can bring brilliant ideas out in what started as a “meh” idea. Persistent subtle improvements help in the exploration phases to expand ideas beyond their respective borders.  

Positivity, Perspective and Persistence are the ingredients to my secret sauce, well that and a lot of obscure music cranked in my headphones. Next time you’re feeling stuck, apply the “Three P’s” and they might just help your creative problem solving or allow you to approach problems with more of a persistent, positive and perspective mindset.


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