8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator

‘I want to put a ding in the universe.’ Steve Jobs


The interesting article by zenhabits starts with a Steve Jobs quote.

This article is about Creativity.


Bernhard Haux, character technical director of Pixar, shares 8 lessons about creativity. Those lessons are actually really good and get definitely the point. I picked them up and added my own experiences or some futher information.


1. Tenacy matters: Bernhard said you might not seem very good at something when you start out, but if you’re persistent, tenacious even, you can get amazingly good. This reminds me on Malcom Galdwell´s “10.000 Hours of Practice”-rule. Gladwell says if you practice anything around 10.000 hours you will achieve mastery in this specific field. It´s well discussed but it is indisputable that you get above almost all of your competitors when you keep on learning and being focussed.

2. Art is your particular telling of reality: Bernhard gives an example when he was out with a friend and both experienced the same night. For one it was a night out with some food – for the other one it was a night full of details about which he could talk in a interesting and hilarious way. Sometimes it is harder to work with the whole picture instead of focussing some details which makes the picture outstanding.

3. Feed off others´ ideas: [...] everyone’s creativity builds on the creativity of everyone else. It´s like with brainstorming or other group activities. I´ve wrote an article about The McDonalds Theory which is one of those techniques to get the best out of a group when it comes to creativity. It is about sharing an idea and get this idea improved and improved over and over again by playing around in the team.

4. Let go of ego: If you want your idea to win, you’ll fight for it, but this only hurts the process.

5. Everyone should know the mission well: [...] everyone is invested in the mission, everyone truly cares about the work they’re producing… To add another point I got in mind when I first read the headline: Once we are in a team and focus on a special project, everyone has to know exactly where we are heading. If some persons know how a final product can look like but one person has a different final product (some specifics, some details or whatsoever) in mind the whole creative process can be disrupted which will result in a huge time-bandit.

6. Lots of hard work, tiny but amazing results: Bernhard shares a example about Pixar: When Pixar created Brave, deleted scenes that didn’t make the final cut would have made the movie 5 times as long. A ton of little visual jokes didn’t make the movie. That means that hours and hours of creative, brilliant work were thrown out, and only the best of the best of all of this creative process actually was used. That’s a lot of amazing stuff, to get very little. That means what we actually see is of incredible quality.

7. Surround yourself with heroes: Of course, not all of us are that lucky (to work with our heroes like BernharD), but we can surround ourselves with the work of our heroes, and use them for inspiration, maybe even reach out and meet one or two of them someday. Shoot for the stars, or at least illuminate your life with their light. In these days it is easy to follow or even get in touch with inspiring and motivating people. I get a lot of positive energy, new ideas and business improvements only by following some inspiring persons via their blogs. There are a lot of down-to-earth and still successful entrepreneurs or “gurus” out there sharing their thoughts on Facebook, Blogs and so on. This isn´t as intense as meeting them in person, but it´s soo easy.

8. Help those just starting out: This is actually a huge topic. I talked about this topic in several articles already like The Co-Op/Sharing Model, It is All About Relationships That Work, People do Business with people they like … all those article are in some way about sharing what you have got, help others, build relationships and connections and by helping others you will receive help/benefits in return one day too.


Once again a great article by zenhabits.

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