Sunday, 8 April 2012

Crisis - No Fresh Ideas

You stare right through the computer screen


The following is part of a long article I wrote on the stress of staying creative …ideas on how to stay fresh in your approach to life and to work; how to come up with new solutions; how to see things from new perspectives.

I’d like to share this article with you. But since it’s so long, permit me to post the first half today and the second a few days from now. Today’s post describes the problem; the second post will offer some solutions. As usual, everything comes from a martial arts perspective, especially the solutions. If you’re a student, this may help open up a few creative doors; if you’re searching for answers with problems at work, please note that the solutions I’ll propose were actually tested in the workplace.

So here goes –

1.   You stare at things, situations, people…but you stare right through them. Where you used to find answers right away, you find no response. If you’re working on a problem, you can’t seem to connect to anything… from any angle.

You’re in a dead zone – and no amount of "thinking outside the box", brainstorming with others for ideas, taking the body out for some stimulating exercise, or worse, drinking and/or drugs, will stir things back to life.
As a consequence, you might -
a. grasp at the same old, same old type of ideas… and hope for the best.
b. dig around deeper, mostly in desperation

c. spread the problem around so that others become linked with it, which - when higher-ups start the blame game - might enhance your own chances of survival.
d. spread the problem around so that others become involved and if you’re in luck one of them will find a stop gap solution for which you can then take part of the credit.

The Indian martial art Kalaripayattu
Flexibility of thought mirrored by the body


2.   You approach the project head on. But then you catch yourself staring at a photo on your desk. How long have you strayed? Three minutes? That can’t be good. Better get a coffee. That’s another five, maybe ten minutes’ worth of distraction.

“I better sit back down and work for real.”

A bug is crawling near your shoe. How did it get in here? More importantly, why are you looking down there in the first place? Might be a new species of insect? If it is, you’ll get credit for the discovery and this new species will carry your name wherever it travels. You dream of scientific fame as the day eats up the minutes one by one.
Your mind flits about like a butterfly. It will alight on anything pretty and bright, as long as the object has nothing to do with your work. You don’t need much of a diversion to fly off. Your procrastination can continue ad infinitum. If your in the workplace, the only thing that will put a stop to it is the commute home. You better hope tomorrow is going to be more productive.

What’s really going on here? The truth is you’re running away. Deep down you realize you haven’t got a snowball’s chance in the Saudi Arabian desert of coming up with something astonishing. Your butterfly mind is flying high above the fear.

3.   “What’s happened to Jim? He’s running around ice like a man possessed.”

Yes, you’re on the move. This project’s got you nerved up. Someone call in a tornado? Quick, grab Toto before he lands on top of the filing cabinet.
a. I hate to be hard on you but you may be fooling yourself into thinking you’re super busy. You’ve already thrown a ton of solutions at the problem and you’ve got a ton more in reserve. You’re determined to outwork – and outpace - everyone in the place. You’re like a bat out of hell. Looking and feeling seriously busy means you can’t get caught standing still for the knockout which you know is bound to come.

b. You may be fooling others as well. Your get-out-of-my-way super active role looks like you’re prepared to sacrifice health, sleep, personal life and sanity to come up with the definitive solution. Yes, everyone knows you’ll burst at the seams with effort. If things don’t pan out, no one can blame you for not trying.

4.   You appear calm, relaxed and exceedingly in-the-know. You are the perfect picture of the captain we all need to pilot us quietly through this mess. Your body language tells us that you’re in control. Trust just clings to you – which will prove all the more problematic when the truth comes out. Deep down, you know that you’re running on empty. This scenario has a tendency to unravel in a big way. The person who behaves calmly and logically is actually sitting on top of some heavy duty chaos. The last to know are always the other stakeholders.

Symptoms that can accompany the stress of running out of fresh ideas may also include the physical. The following might be some symptoms you might notice as a result of this type of stress -

Numbness in the hands and feet, numbness around the eyes, numbness and dryness of speech, dryness and weakness of voice, over-compensating loudness of voice, dryness of mouth, tight facial muscles, pinched hearing, headaches, light headedness and/or possible dizziness, lethargy, a feeling of having a hollowed out chest, chest pains, the return of old aches and pains, digestive problems and/or lack of interest in eating, compulsive overeating, lack of interest in exercise (or steaming ahead brutally into over-exercise), etc. etc…the list stretches around the corner and down the next city block.

In a few days, I’ll post some solutions from the martial arts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.