There's No Right Way

Perhaps the most important concept in design..
Eric Goodwin

I have a feeling this might be one of my most important articles. Not because it’s incredibly profound or insightful, but because I just know that I’m going to reference it in future articles, workshops, and courses. So I will try to keep it as brief as possible.

I think one of the most important lessons I could ever teach someone is the following:

There is no right way to do something

This applies to design, craft, life, anything and everything really. Often people will teach the “right way” to do something, and once you learn and accept this, your creativity is dead. As soon as someone tells you the right way to do something your brain makes the connection that this is the right way, and all other methods are wrong. This is how creativity dies, so we have to change our mindset.

Now let me just say, there are definitely wrong ways to do something. And of course there are better and worse ways to do something. But there is never a right way to do something.

Let’s be honest for a second, all this shit is made up. Apart from a few natural laws (like the speed of light) pretty much everything else has just been made up by humans. Money, engineering, business, design, tech, etc. it’s all made up. It’s constantly evolving, so any “right way” is really just temporarily the “best way” our silly human brains have thought up so far.

I think this is true for almost everything, but especially for anything creative. If anyone ever tries to tell you the “right” way to do something in a creative field, really what they are saying is “this is the best way that I know of”

In an effort to keep this article short I won’t dive into examples or anything, but I will end the article with an exercise. Think of something that you know is the “right way” to do something, maybe it’s how to cook a certain dish, swing a golf club, anything. Now step back, is that actually the “right way” or just the best way so far? Are there alternative ways to do it? Was that the “right way” 100 years ago? Will it be the “right way” 100 years from now?