Dripping Taps

I woke up.

For a few seconds there was silence as the world slowly came into focus. And then came the familiar sound of cars outside – an almost relaxing drone that gave me the security that the world was still turning.

Then another noise.

A tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

A dripping tap, coming somewhere in the apartment.

I pulled the covers up and over my face. I didn’t have to be up for another 30 minutes. Perhaps I could drown it out.

But, sadly, once you’re aware of something so annoying it just gets worse. You start to predict it before it sounds again, anxiety curling you up as you wait for that next… TAP.

So I hauled myself out of bed, made myself somewhat decent, and padded down the hallway to the kitchen.

I turned both taps on and off. But the drip continued.

So for the next ten minutes I fought and fought with the cold tap. But the drip continued.

I don’t know why, but I’d just assumed that it was the cold tap.

And I became blinkered.

But, of course, as it turned out… the problem was with the hot tap.

Yet I’d become so convinced that the cold tap was the issue that my brain had seized up, refusing to believe anything else.

I think it’s important not to be like that when solving a problem.

You can get so focused on one particular solution that you miss the obvious.

by Ashley Brown

Shoedog

WARNING: Don’t read this book unless you want to feel inspired.

At the heart of it, it’s about someone who had a crazy idea and, after a few risks, made it work.

But, in a wider context, I think this is a reminder to all of us that we’re all under the same sky as one another, as well as the people we admire.

And no one can dream higher than the sky because we can’t see any higher than the sky – which surely means it’s worth chasing your dreams?

I know I am.

Seeing the big picture – the creativity hack you often overlook…

Growing up, I lived in the countryside – which meant I was used to country roads and the pace that life moved at.

So, when I started driving, I was a little nervous about motorways and dual carriageways.

“Why?” asked my driving instructor, “if anything it’s easier. The more you can see of the road ahead, the more you can be ready for”.

And he’s right.

It’s like that with creativity.

The more you can see of the big picture, the easier it is to plan.

But I go one step further than this, I take it literally.

So I bought an A3 drawing pad. A nice big space for me to draft out and plan what I do.

It works.

Too often I see people writing on their phones.

Sure that’s okay for a Tinder message or a Whatsapp. But if you’re crafting sentences, writing paragraphs it’s better to see the whole page.

The bigger picture. It’s good.

Finally, here’s proof that less is more…

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter” – Blaise Pascal, 1657.

As the years roll by and the digital world advances that quote becomes more and more relevant to our busy newsfeeds.

Here’s to not silencing our inner-editors so we can deliver chopped, concise messages when we need to 🙂

The coffee cup that stopped everyone

I was on the bus travelling home this afternoon.

I climbed to the top deck and chose an empty seat.

I found one that I thought looked good, but as I got closer I noticed that there was a discarded coffee cup on the seat.

So, I did the easy thing – walked past it and chose another seat.

I began to notice that everyone else did the same as me.

That one empty coffee cup stood in everyone’s way and everyone walked past it.

Eventually the top deck of the bus filled up.

Then more people got on.

But instead of moving the cup they either went back downstairs or stood.

Finally, a tall man in a long grey jacket got on the bus.

He walked through the aisle, saw the seat and, with a deft flick of his right hand, moved the coffee cup away.

He sat down and enjoyed the rest of his journey in comfort.

How often in life do we take the easiest way possible?

Are the obstacles that stop our progress as bad as we think they are?

The quickest way

I’m sure you have this too…but, whenever I ask someone for directions, they’ll usually start their reply with:

“The quickest way is…”

I always wonder why they think I’m in a rush?

Im starting to think that it’s all about the journey.

Too often I’ve missed things en route because I’ve been fixed on the quickest way to the destination.

2018. The year of enjoying the journey.

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.