Driven to distraction

When it comes to creativity, few things disrupt the process of generating and refining ideas more than disruption.

This is particularly an issue in my busy (open plan) office environment, where my train of thought is often derailed a number of times an hour.

I’ve found that there’s a deeper level that my mind needs to get to (and stay in) to allow the process to take its course, thereby allowing me to deliver quality work.

I’m certainly not a special case at work, everyone in the team is affected by this issue to a varying degree. I think why I get disrupted perhaps more than most is because I’ve made myself a single point of dependency within the team.

It’s great to feel valued but in the end it can be a bit of a noose around your neck.

So until I’m able to create a clone of myself, I’ll instead focus on distributing my knowledge around and delegating responsibilities to other team members. Only then can I expect the distractions to reduce and allow me to refocus on the creative process.

Is charisma overrated?

Sometimes referred to as the “X” factor, what on earth does “having charisma” actually mean?

I think Roger Mavity summed it up nicely in his best-selling book, “Life’s A Pitch”, by describing it as:

…a way of being that radiates a particular sense of excitement and magnetism that occurs apparently regardless of what one says or does. People with charisma seem to fill a room without having to do anything more than just be there.

It seems everyone wants to be charismatic. Who wouldn’t want to wield a kind of super power that allows an individual to stroll into any situation and effortlessly effect an air of confidence about themselves?

The problem I have with this is that, regardless of the breadth and depth of the talent you may have, you’re not always going to be the brightest or most interesting person in the room.

I might be totally confident presenting to a room full of my peers, giving an overview of a particular technology in my area of expertise, but put me in a room full of marketing gurus and I’m much more likely to shrink into the corner and avoid being noticed altogether.

What I’ve come to realise about this, however, is that this is totally OK because of something I’ve observed about myself.

In these kinds of situations where the fear has kicked in and I’ve taken my seat quietly in the corner of the room, my tendency is that I will listen more and take in and consider each point of view with equal merit. This is a great thing because it opens my mind up to a whole new world of learning and stops the cynical part of my brain from causing me to react and putting in my (uninformed) 2 cents.

Upon mature reflection, once I’ve digested all these thoughts and I’ve judiciously separated what I agree with and what point-of-view perhaps had less merit, I can arrive at my own conclusion and perhaps put my own thoughts forward.

I’m not saying charisma is a bad thing (goodness knows the world needs this special kind of performance artist!), I’m just suggesting that perhaps not everyone needs to (or should want to) possess it.

Me personally, I think I’ll learn more in life being an introvert than being an extrovert.

A lesson learnt in humility

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that, when the creative bug begins to bite, a subtle attitude shift begins to happen.

Before I start creating, like if I’m in a rut and I can’t motivate myself, I am humble by default. Without feeling like I’ve produced something worthwhile with my time, my self worth is lessened. On the upside, while I’m humble I’m also a great listener. In this mode, my ability to learn is greatly enhanced by my open mind.

However once I begin to climb out of the rut, and start to create and see results, a bit of arrogance sets in with this renewed sense of confidence: if my work is criticised or questioned, my ability to take on the thoughts of others or consider alternate points-of-view is impaired. While not every idea suggested to me is going to be great, fundamentally I am limiting the potential for what my creation can become: without input from others, my creation can’t possibly evolve beyond a certain point.

Instead I need to learn from the weaker side of my personality and focus on staying humble, all the time.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Hello world!

I plan to make this, my very first blog, a little place to celebrate the creative forces within us that help inspire us to do all manner of things… from composing symphonies to coding software (that’s me!), from writing a multi-volume saga to the smallest, witty retort. Creativity is everywhere, and some people are so prolific and find it so effortless that it makes me sick (with envy!).

I will keep this lighthearted and speak from the heart. And will always be optimistic. But coherent? Not bloody likely!

I can’t wait to get started.