74% of the population suffer from this…

After a football match at University a friend of mine noticed that someone had left their jacket behind.

We’d been playing on an astro-turf pitch, and there were loads of other matches going on alongside us.

He held the jacket up, and announced loudly to everyone there (probably about 50 people); “has anyone lost their jacket?”

Sure enough, one of the guys came trotting over to collect it – thanking him as he went.

The next day we had to give a presentation as part of our course. It was my friend’s turn soon, I looked over and noticed that he was really nervous.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

He told me that he was terrified of public speaking (a phobia he shares with a reported 74% of the population!)

But, when you think about it, the crowd that he was about to be speaking to was made up of ten people – whereas, less than 24 hours ago, I’d seen him shouting to get the attention of 50+ people.

I told him this.

“Yeah, but I had something to say then…” he began.

“And you don’t have something to say now?”

He went on to deliver a great presentation. I’m not saying that I inspired him (my own presentation was most likely awful) but, sometimes it’s good to have someone on hand who’ll help you think about things in a different way.

Sure, maybe there’s more to say in a presentation than just ‘is this your jacket?’, but the principles are still the same.

You wouldn’t ask about the jacket if you didn’t think anyone wanted to know, so apply that same logic to your pitching or presentation.

Perspective. It’s a funny thing, right?

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel”

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel”.

It’s an expression you’ve probably heard a lot.

It’s certainly one that I’ve both heard and said a lot.

For what it’s worth I think it’s true. The wheel is tried, tested and proven. It’s a simple bit of technology and, asides from the occasional puncture, doesn’t have any flaws.

But, yet, when you get given a brief…or when you’re starting out on a project…it’s tempting to try and be as out there as possible.

But creativity doesn’t have to be far-flung and magical. Sometimes it’s just a case of tweaking what you’ve already got to get better results.

Keep a sense of creative discipline, if you don’t have to go outside the box…you don’t have.

P.S if you were going to try and reinvent the wheel, how would you do it?

If it was me and I was reinventing the wheels for a bus, say, I wouldn’t bother. The wheels are fine. So, instead, I’d take my budget and spend it on making the in-journey experience as good as it can be. TVs, mini-bars, etc.

The Gordian Knot

It was 4th century BCE and Alexander the Great had just arrived in the Persian Empire.

In one of the towns there lay an age old ox-cart, which was tied to a post with the tightest and most complicated knot that anyone could ever imagine.

Whoever was able to untie the knot and claim the ox-cart would become the ruler of the whole empire.

Things were easier in those days…

So. Alexander the Great and his most trusted aides arrived and were confronted by the knot.

They deliberated over it for hours.

The greatest minds of their time, yet none of them could work out how to untangle it.

And then…

…Alexander the Great whipped out his sword and chopped it in half.

Problem solved.

Things aren’t always as complicated as they seem – whether they be creative or otherwise.

Sometimes you need to just chop that knot in half and move on!



Minidisc players and the idea in you

 

A few months ago my cousin was clearing a few of his old things out from his parents’ house.

He came away with a small box of items that had meant a lot to him as a youngster.

Among these trinkets was his old minidisc player.

For a short while in the early noughties, minidiscs were supposed to be the next big thing.
Their popularity soon stifled though, as digital recording and playback became the norm – lost to a generation of people who didn’t want to have physical copies of their music. (Ironically though, with the resurrection of vinyl, this is tilting the other way).

For a short while the minidisc had been his very favourite thing. With an air of nostalgia he turned it on and listened to the disc that was inside – a tune that hadn’t been played for over a decade.

He remarked simply, yet philosophically, on how it was weird that one day he’d just turned it off and never used it again – only for it to turn up some fifteen years later.

How often do you have that with a thought or an idea? All that thinking about something, only to switch off and forget about it.

Ideas aren’t physical things, such as minidisc players. If you lose them it’s much harder to get them back.

As a creative I always used to, annoyingly, have my best ideas when I wasn’t able to write.

The novels, the stories and the concepts that I’d come up with…usually when I was driving or in the gym…right at the time when my laptop was out of reach!

I used to think to myself – ‘I’ll come back to that idea when I get a sec’.

I never did though. Because the enthusiasm for the idea would disappear before I could touch methaphorical pen to metaphorical paper.

So now I carry a notepad with me at all times. So I’m never caught out. I can jot down my ideas whenever and wherever.

I think this is a better option that writing it on my phone. My phone is a bustling hub of distractions…and a big reason of ‘why I didn’t write today’.

I also invested in an expensive notepad. Not because I’m materialistic. But, because I figure that…the more I pay for something, the more naturally valuable it seems and the more likely I’ll be to use it.

Unlike that minidisc player, it’s unlikely that your ideas will come back to you. So have something with you at all times to note them down.

Before you know it, your notebook will become a goldmine of creativity.

I know it seems simple, obvious even, but yet so many people let their ideas slip away.

The writer Robert Louis Stevenson reckoned that ‘Treasure Island’ was born from a couple of dreams that he had.

He also remarked that, had he not have had a pen (or quill back then) by his bed, he’d have forgotten the idea before he could have converted it into a story.

Don’t let your ideas walk the plank…take note of them!

(image credit: wikipedia)