None of Your Business

I bet you know this: You’ve created something – a drawing, a layout, a video, a piece of code, or a blog post – and after you’re more or less done, you pause and you look at it. And you don’t like it.

Maybe it is a little detail that is not right, or maybe you don’t like the whole piece for reasons you cannot explain. Whatever it is, you are just sure that this one piece of work isn’t particularly good. Or is it?

Whenever I’m in such a situation or people mention feeling the same way, I have to think about an interview Debbie Millman did for her Design Matters podcast. In their lovely conversation, comic artist Lynda Barry told a story about one of her teachers in art school. Lynda had just finished a drawing. She and her teacher were looking at it, when Lynda said: “I don’t really like this drawing.” Her teacher paused, then she went:

It’s none of your business.”

What?

“The drawing is already here. It’s none of your business whether you like it or not.”

For Lynda, this was the crucial moment of her entire career. She realized that there is another way to look at her work besides just asking “do I like it or not?”

You don’t have to like your work for it to work. Liking or not liking it isn’t the essential part of making something. As long as you are the only judge and as long as it is unpublished, even, what’s the difference whether you like it or not? Or, to put it another way: everything you create will only work if it helps other people or if they like what you created. Every piece of art that is supposed to have a value and impact in our culture is meaningless unless it is seen by someone. Only by the interplay between your work and the people who interact with it, its real value will reveal itself.

So, if you did your best when you created a piece of work, but your perfectionism or fear of judgement or lack of confidence makes you not like it, ask yourself: who is this piece for and will it work? And then, allow it to exist, to grow, to evolve, to improve, to fade away, or to shine. But first, make it work.

~

127 Webmentions

Photo of Sara Soueidan
Sara Soueidan
"who is this piece for and will it work?" This is literally one of the most helpful articles ever. Thinking about whether "it works for someone" as opposed to "do I like it" is fantastic. Perfect timing as I record more videos for the course, too. Thank you for writing this 🥹;
Photo of Sara Soueidan
Sara Soueidan
"None of Your Business" — "[..] ask yourself: who is this piece for and will it work? And then, allow it to exist [..]" ⁦;—@m_ott⁩; If u're a perfectionist like me, read this. This is probably one of the most helpful paradigm shifts I've had. matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
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Matthias Ott
Glad it is helpful! I saw your tweet the other day and thought that a blog post might be a better answer than just another tweet. Enjoy creating more videos!
Photo of Egor Kloos
Egor Kloos
This is one of the things I learned very early on doing design and illustration work. This understanding applies to all creative work, including development. It’s painful watching someone attach their entire being to their work.
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Mehmet Mercan
None of Your Business, by @m_ott matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
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muffindev
😲; matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Imad Aldoj
Imad Aldoj
Good to read We're our worst enemy, discarding projects near the finish line
Photo of Hosam Sultan
Hosam Sultan
"You don’t have to like your work for it to work. Liking or not liking it isn’t the essential part of making something." matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Luis Orduz
Luis Orduz
I must say, this is the best way I've seen this advice framed. matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Roy Tang
Roy Tang
Shared: None of Your Business · Matthias Ott – User Experience Designer matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…. > So, if you did your best when you created a piece of work, but your perfectionism or fear of judgement or lack of confidence makes you not like it,
Photo of David Bisset
David Bisset
In context, a great thought to start off my week: "You don’t have to like your work for it to work."
Photo of Christophe Porteneuve ????;
Christophe Porteneuve ????;
ZOMG, so much this. I fall prey to this myself. Sort of "MVP" mindset but for every content you produce. matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of JW ????;
JW ????;
“Every piece of art that is supposed to have a value and impact in our culture is meaningless unless it is seen by someone. ‘ matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Deborah Edwards-Oñoro
Deborah Edwards-Oñoro
"Every piece of art that is supposed to have a value and impact in our culture is meaningless unless it is seen by someone. Only by the interplay between your work and the people who interact with it, its real value will reveal itself." matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of IB Sobayo
IB Sobayo
“The drawing is already here. It’s none of your business whether you like it or not.” matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…?
Photo of Kerry Clark
Kerry Clark
Excellent thoughts on #creativity: None of Your Business, by @m_ott matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Hack Design
Hack Design
None of Your Business matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Stefangnie Waltergeist
Stefangnie Waltergeist
This: "if you did your best when you created a piece of work, but your perfectionism or fear of judgement or lack of confidence makes you not like it, ask yourself: who is this piece for and will it work? " matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Prototypr ????;️;✨;
Prototypr ????;️;✨;
You’ve created something and after you’re more or less done, you pause and you look at it. And you don’t like it 😑; matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-… by @m_ott
Photo of Lucia Conti
Lucia Conti
None of Your Business, by @m_ott matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Gabin Aureche
Gabin Aureche
In 2014 when starting out I was reluctant to share my work because of a lack of self confidence. This article sums up pretty well one of the best advice I was ever given by @nathanjpowellUX back then: matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-… by @m_ott
Photo of Carl Lister ????;
Carl Lister ????;
This is a great perspective realignment. Be it a piece of design, art, code or video - ultimately it’s not for us the creator but for some other person or persons. When it’s done, “It’s none of your business”. @m_ott matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of Tanner Smith
Tanner Smith
"You don’t have to like your work for it to work. Liking or not liking it isn’t the essential part of making something. As long as you are the only judge and as long as it is unpublished, even, what’s the difference whether you like it or not?" matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
Photo of berkes ????; ????; ????; ????;
berkes ????; ????; ????; ????;
RT @matthiasott@mastodon.social I recently wrote about eye-opening advice from comic artist Lynda Barry for anyone creating anything: ✍;️; None of Your Business matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-… mastodon.social/@matthiasott/1…
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sonikmatter
An important read for creators that are as critical of their work as I am. via @swissmiss matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…
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mwcreatif
None of Your Business, by @m_ott matthiasott.com/notes/none-of-…

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