I am not talking about major personal flaws or deficiencies; I am talking about the little things. Things that you do – almost subconsciously – day after day. It was a personal insight of mine about a year ago, noticing things that I was doing that were unknowingly hamstringing my creative side.
Being a generation brought up on technology, we love constant action – and I use the word choice very carefully to describe that affection. Not like, not enjoy, not admire, we LOVE it. Things need to be happening, music on, something moving – something stimulating our senses. For me, that was the story every day – wake up to a favourite song, music in the shower, TV while I ate breakfast, sleeping to music on the way to work or walking to class – it never stopped. I never got time to just… think.
It was about a year ago that I came across the story of Harrison Bergeron. I don’t know if everyone reading this will be familiar with the short story, but I will give a brief overview. In a futuristic world, the government attempts to make everyone equal. ‘Handicaps’ are applied to everyone to limit their advantages. Here’s the interesting part – the intellectuals, those that excel in thought and insight, are handicapped with a loud noise in their ear every minute or so – this disrupts their thinking and prevents them from taking ‘advantage’ of their gifts. That was when it hit me – I was handicapping myself in a way – I never let myself really think, ponder and question my surroundings.
Ask yourself this: when was the last time that you actually just sat in pure silence, nothing distracting you? My bet is that you drive with the radio on, maybe even study while listening to music – we have become a generation that can’t stand silence! Take a pad of paper and a pencil, and go spend 30 minutes sitting in your backyard, a park, or somewhere else isolated and away from the noise of life – you will be amazed at what you will come up with.
A year later, I can tell you the results are astounding. I actually go out of my way to take time to turn everything off – the TV, the iPod, iPhone, all of it – just turn it off. When I go jogging, I purposefully do not bring my iPod. Let your mind wander and contemplate the things around you, and I assure you that you will experience the same moments of clarity.