In those quiet moments of the early morning, the little gap between being asleep and awake, is where some good thinking is done. Lately, I’ve taken to keeping a pen and journal on my bedside table to catch some of these thoughts. We all know what happens if we don’t. The light of day casts a strange hue on those ideas. There is a tendency to minimize them with doubt and fear, put them down to a dream like state where only gibberish happens.
This morning, I took that early thought process and just kept going with it. I let my mind wander around a number of ideas and concepts. I dared to think differently and I was pleasantly surprised. The creative thinking part of my brain woke up and got right to work. The delight was in how quick and easy it was to ignite.
Normally, you can’t force creativity. We all know that. There is a deadline looming, all the technical bits of work are done and now you have to accomplish some creativity, yeah right. Not going to happen. A modern office building with sterile furniture, office walls, cubicles, printers humming – these are not creative places. My solution is usually to cruise around the internet until I find enough inspiration to finish the task.
A long time ago, when I attended design school, (presumably to learn the skills to apply in the work world), we thrived on the creative process. However, I swear, the minute we left with degree in hand, we lost much of what we learned and practiced.
As time went on and the ways of corporate life started to take hold, I somehow came to think, (or maybe I always did), practice makes perfect. My strategy became work very hard over long stretches of time, in other words diligent practice would make me perfect. Me and my work would be perfect and everything I dreamed of would fall from that.
Of course, we all know what falls from that train of thought – breakdown, burn-out, depression, spiritual awakening, (insert your name for it here). After a great deal of self-awareness training and getting a new kind of education, (still learning), I began to see that perfection is a swear word. I tell my kids, “there is no such thing as perfect”. (If my daughter follows the same route as I did, then she learned it from school, friends or society at large – which is entirely possible).
So fine, eliminate the word “perfect” – what are we left with? For me a hollow feeling. I’ve always mourned the loss of that word. There is something to be said about the quest. Powerful emotions to drive forward with.
Then this morning I came up with the notion that “Practice is a PROCESS”. For me, that links right back to the creative process that I learned so long ago and carefully tucked away in the corner of my mind. You don’t have to be painting or drawing to use the creative process, it can be applied anywhere.
Even the word process, all by itself can mean something different to each person, and so it should. Practice and process are going to become specialized to each person and to each situation. Powerful ideas and words to move us closer to dreams, in a way perfection never could.