Discard Some Feedback

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Updated November 3, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Creative Doing, by Herbert Lui. 75 practical techniques to unlock creative potential in your work, hobby, or next career. Purchase now for instant, lifetime access to the book.

Early into his career as a designer at Adobe, Andrei Herasimchuk had designed and programmed a prototype over the weekend and a few days into his workweek. One of the product managers, who had worked at Adobe for a while and was well liked by the team, stopped by Harsimchuk’s cubicle.

After a question on how long this took, they said, “While I certainly applaud your effort, I must say that you really don’t need to go to this length. You’ll have to do this all the time for all the products going forward. These screenshots you have here are plenty. It’s all we’ve ever done before, so there’s really no need to spend this kind of time on a prototype.”

Herasimchuk identifies the point when things went wrong, which is when he accepted the product manager’s feedback blindly, “Um… Ok. I guess. If you think so.” He never built another prototype while working at Adobe. His coding skills would dull over five years, and he missed a chance to make coding a part of Adobe’s design culture.

Listening to other people’s feedback is important—for certain. But as it turns out, they just might not understand your work. Or, they might not have been deliberate and thoughtful about your situation. If that’s the case, it would be terrible for you to limit yourself because of one person’s off-handed comment about your work or your process.

Throw out something that somebody else had said. Don’t listen to it. If someone has told you they don’t like seeing this part of your work, and you’ve cut it out, try to put it back in. If you’re looking for a place to start, throw out the piece of feedback that drains your personal energy, and makes you feel less excited about your work.

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