Don’t expect people to understand (yet)

I have tried and failed to explain an endless number of ideas and things I was working on. At a cocktail party, my parents, in investor meetings. Why weren’t they getting it?

At best, the people you talk to see what things are now. Not what it could be. It’s your job to turn your imagination into reality.

Generally speaking, humans have an aversion to things we don’t understand, so there’s always a natural tendency towards skepticism. I am slowly learning not to expect people around me to understand or approve until the road is paved.

An artist cannot show a blank canvas and tell the audience to imagine a completed portrait. There’s simply no substitute for the strokes on the canvas. That said, the brain is incredibly powerful and only need limited amount of information to infer something extraordinary. In the picture above, there are only four lines but we can instantly see two humans, tenderness and emotion. As a creator, it is our job to provide the right information for our viewer to understand.

You might have heard the above comment attributed to Henry Ford, but the father of America’s car industry is being misquoted. There is no record of him ever saying this. Steve Jobs has also been misquoted and misunderstood repeatedly, often when an entrepreneur wants to excuse themselves from becoming grounded in their audience’s reality. You can’t ask the viewer what painting they’d like to see, but perhaps more importantly, you can’t move them without knowing where they truly are.

After investing our hearts and minds into our work, critique is often difficult to hear but essential to success. All creators and artists must learn to nurture qualities of resilience and tenacity so that we can adapt our creations to be of use and expand the world.

Once there was nothing, now there’s something. The effect we expended in making people’s life better is often underappreciated and taken for granted, but it’s something we must embrace.

A Dane, madly in love with science and engineering, and is a newly hatched entrepreneur