It turns out that there is a simple (but difficult) three step process that allows you to make absolutely anything. This is such a powerful process that, if you don’t follow it, you probably won’t be able to make anything. People that struggle with making things are usually foundering on one or more of the three steps. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to make, the same three steps apply. It could be a piece of music, a painting, designing an electronic circuit, building a house, changing the minds of the masses, or creating a political revolution.
Here are the three steps, which usually take place in this order:
- Envisioning /visualising
- Aligning with the vision
That’s it. That’s the whole, general purpose process.
Perhaps I should elaborate.
Before anything (and I mean anything) can get made, there has to be a clear intention. Somebody has to want to bring it into being. Manifestation of the new thing, which doesn’t yet exist, absolutely requires that somebody, somewhere, has sufficient desire for it to exist. If you are the maker, that should be you. You should desire the change you seek to make.
Indifference to the existence of the new idea is why so many people think of really great ideas, but never follow through. They don’t want it enough. You have to really want this thing to become real. You have to love the very idea of its existence. Without the desire for the thing to be made, it won’t be possible to carry out the other two steps.
Desire is almost analogous to love, but not quite. Desire is more visceral and corporeal. It involves your body, your agency and your dexterity, not just your feelings. Your body is the most potent, magnificent, yet delicate instrument and engine of creation you will ever own. It will need to be applied. You need to love the idea of the thing you want to make. You need to want it.
The mind is a wonderful thing. Everybody should have one. The power of the mind is to envision the thing you want to make, visualising it in every detail. Imagining the completed thing with every sense available to you, as if it already exists, is your mind’s way of perfecting the details a priori, planning the necessary steps and setting the goal, so that you know when the making is done. Being able to crystallise your desire into a realisable vision, through visualising it lucidly in your imagination, means that you will be able to undertake the manifestation of the idea with surety and confidence. When you can already see the end goal, clearly and in exquisite detail, the rest is a bit like taking down dictation.
Composers often write music this way. Mozart was said to envision the entire composition in his head, detailed part by detailed part, sensing the fragrance of every harmony and contrapuntal device, before committing it to manuscript. The “writing it down” part was not where the creation took place. That was just the download. The composition was completed entirely in his mind.
If you want to play a piece of music that is way beyond your current skill level on your instrument, seeing yourself playing that piece, as perfectly and beautifully as anybody could, sensing the satisfaction and adulation that comes from executing the piece as well as you imagine, is an important step in the process of learning how to play it. Without this sensation and very clear feeling, you won’t be able to slog through the small, intricate parts you will need to focus on and repeat, over and over again, first slowly, then perfectly, then faster, to accomplish your goal. Without the desire, your effort will fade away too. Visualising your ultimate success and holding that image in your mind is the bridge between desire and effort.
Similarly, sculptors see a block of stone, but in their mind, they can already see the figure they wish to create, living inside that stone. Because of the power of their imagination, they are able to chip away only the stone that isn’t the sculpture, leaving the figure they imagined behind.
While the first two steps of the process can be challenging, if not daunting, once you learn how to do them, things get easier and you will find you can want something to exist and envision its finished form in your mind with some alacrity. Now comes the very difficult final step.
The final step in making absolutely anything is allowing yourself to align with the vision. That means letting your already developed skills work on the problem of getting the thing made. It means opening yourself to finding and seizing the opportunities to get the resources and support you need. If your skills are not developed to the point of being able to make the thing you desire and envisage, it means letting yourself do the hard work and many hours of practice required, in order to manifest the thing you wish to create.
People struggle with aligning themselves to the vision. They are easily distracted and discouraged. While trying to make things, if the alignment between your being and your desire and vision is not good, you’ll find your body fighting against your mind. You will think you just can’t do what it takes to realise your creation. And you may be right. You may, initially, lack the dexterity or fine motor skills to get the work done. You might be completely baffled by the complexity of your tools. Maybe you’ll have to read some manuals, do some tutorials, work through some simpler examples after all.
A funny thing happened, when I built my first electric guitar. I had designed a second, perfect guitar in my mind, but built my first, a much simpler design, so that I could practice enough to make the guitar I really wanted to make. I made the first guitar, amazing myself and others that I could, facing many challenges on the way, so that I was “match fit” to make the second. It turned out so well, I lost some of my desire to make the second one. That second “built from scratch” guitar still isn’t finished. The first one, however, fits me like a glove and plays like a dream. Even though it used to be just a pile of wood and parts, it’s now the manifestation of my imagination. It’s a very cool thing.
The secret to aligning yourself to your vision is to celebrate incremental victories, no matter how small. If you can do something today that you couldn’t do before, that’s a very healthy sign that the alignment you need is taking place, by small steps. In fact, doing something that nobody ever did before comes from precisely this place. It’s by letting yourself align with what you envision and desire.
Doing the work of making absolutely anything manifest is all about letting the creation flow out of you, trusting in your creativity and your ability. It comes from a place of trusting in yourself and your necessity to realise what you desire and can see in your mind so clearly. This alignment may take quite some time, in the face of setbacks and discouragement, but persistence pays off. Even if it takes the mythical ten thousand hours of practice (or thirty thousand, if you want to be a virtuoso), everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.
You can reach your goal, if your desire remains strong, your vision remains focused and you allow yourself to align with those very powerful anchors.
So that’s the process, folks. It’s reliable and proven and works every time. Every step can be uniquely difficult for you, at different times and for different things you are trying to make, but sticking to the process helps you to overcome the obstacles. There aren’t any known workarounds or alternative processes that I am aware of. This is it. This is how it’s all done. The details, of course, are down to your vision. Whatever change you need to make in the world will require of you things that you don’t know or cannot do, today. The work is in finding a way.