What most people get wrong about iteration and change

In this issue: snowball effect of compounding, biggest mistake people make iterating, how to find your purpose, and what change feels like


I have to remind myself of this idea everyday:

The choices you make every day matter.

The snowball compounding impact of daily decisions is challenging to wrap our heads around (especially when we make decisions in the counter direction we’re aiming for).

Recently I’ve been falling into the “I’ll do better tomorrow” trap…especially with diet.

My kryptonite—chocolate chip cookies…and guess what they serve everyday at the school cafeteria? 😅

“Surely this cookie today isn’t that big of a deal,” I catch myself saying for the 3rd week in a row…

What are you working towards this season? I’d love to hear!
(I may not always get a chance to reply but I read every email ❤️)

1% better: 1.01365 = 37.78
1% worse: 0.99365 = 0.03

Inspired by the book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
*I reread James Clear’s article on this idea regularly: Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It.


I’ve spoken before about the importance of iteration to bridge the gap between your ability and taste.

Today, I want to illustrate (🥁) a common mistake people make when they iterate: focusing too heavily on “improving” the image.

Of course we want the image to be better, but starting with that mindset actually blocks the creative process.

I tell my students all the time that brainstorming is idea generation, not decision making.

Starting with improvement in mind is decision making before the ideas have generated.

how can I improve it? (explores only ideas you assume are good)
how can articulate this idea in another way? (lets in all ideas, good and bad—we want ALL ideas to flow in our stream of consciousness)

Improving is more a byproduct of trying out different articulations.

Take this recent example of an iteration:

Made in August 2022

The nuance of these images are completely different but the core message is the same: address problems as they form to avoid it getting so convoluted that they become difficult to manage.

For me, one of the best parts of thinking in visual metaphors is the forcing function of having to get crystal clear on what you’re trying to say in your content.

CLARITY = iteration x time

Ultimately, whether version 2 is better or worse is irrelevant. The act of creating a different articulation opens another door to how deeply you think about the idea.

When you’re ready and if you’re curious to learn how to make visual metaphors like I do, sign up for the waitlist for the next Thinking in Visual Metaphors cohort.


This Japanese concept is the secret to staying consistent in your pursuits:

Ikigai (生き甲斐)
⦿ iki - means to live
⦿ gai - means value or worth (literally translated to "beautiful shell")

Ikigai roughly means your "reason for being"--your purpose.

Find your purpose and you find the foundation to build your dream.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend checking out “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Héctor García.

It took me a while to align what I do online and what I do in my day job as a teacher, but I finally found the words to articulate my ikigai:

Encourage people to live a more creative life to make the world a more creative place.

What's your ikigai?


"Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end."
–Robin Sharma

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