I was watching Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur when I saw this clip.

It’s more of Pixar’s brilliance, but the one thing that really hit me was this scene. This furry little creature is called the Dream Crusher, to keep his friend from having unrealistic expectations. It’s hilarious until you figure out that most of us have at least one of these in our lives. This is the person who is quick to bring us back down to earth and get our head out of the clouds. The problem with this is, most creativity starts out in the clouds, in a matter of speaking.

Creativity starts in the imagination. It starts with looking at a problem that needs a solution or just a new creation, something that has not been done (at least this way) before. The first attempts at this, at least, are usually a little out there. They have to be. The process then becomes to narrow it down and make it work. The key word here being “process.” Every good thing starts as an idea, a dream if you will. The distance between that dream and reality is covered with refinements and adjustments.

Now to be clear, there is a place in the process for a realist (another name for the “crushers”). Someone to bring us back to reality and help the thing actually come to be. Their voice of reason can really make the idea work. These people are usually not dreamers. They need to see practicality and workability. The key is knowing when to involve them in the process. Bring a “crusher” in too early in the process and they will crush the dream and kill the project.

Early in the process, it is often best to keep the dream to yourself, or find some other dreamers to work beside you to develop it further. Then once you have a lot of the bugs worked out, bring in the realists and let them help you sharpen and refine.

Crushers are not bad people. You just need to know when and if to involve them in your process.

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