British actress and Youtube creator Abigail Thorn has this particular ritual after she publishes a new video. She hosts a live stream, lights a scented candle and then assesses her newest work for herself and her audience with three criteria. One of them goes as follows: “was it made with curiosity, not ambition?”. This confrontation confused me at first. I’ve always considered myself as an ambitious person. After all, isn’t that exactly the drive that has fueled all of my decisions until now, academic or careerwise?

At music school, ambition was presented to me as a necessary tool for achieving anything. That yearning pushed me further until I started working professionally as a video editor. Then, a sudden burnout in my early 20s caught me off guard. I was joyless and exhausted, every assignment felt like a grind. It used to come to me so easily. How can a “dream job” feel like a nightmare?
In NO-BRAINER I’ve attempted reverse engineering Thorn’s assessment of curiosity as the main drive of creativity. Looking through my smartphone videos, that I’ve been idly making over the years without any final product in mind, I started seeing patterns I’ve never consciously noticed before. Carousels, birds, miniatures. Watching them while listening to playlists of calming video game music with apt titles - no thoughts, head empty - influenced my own music making process. I used a Mininova synthesiser I barely knew and looked for interesting sounds with no pretence of professionalism. Composing the video alongside the music through trial and error felt like practicing accidents.

There is no binary right or wrong way to approach creative work. I know I owe a lot to my ambition. But it also gave me a false sense of security, an illusion of control which in turn made my creative perception limited and stiff. Questions kept popping up - how do I even know if I like something? Won’t it come off as random, not thought out enough? Will others think I'm being silly? Should I take a break, is that productive? Opening up to being inquisitive and intuitive can be scary for an anxious mind. But it's so much fun.