Monthly Archives: November 2010

A New Song: The Smith

I wrote this while practicing finger picking. I kinda like it 🙂

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Collaborate More, Create Better

I have been obsessed with the website TED lately, and wanted to share a speech with you. Steve Johnson talked about how great ideas are born, and what factors are the most conducive to the “aha” moment. That moment we all sit and scratch our brains to try to find, but really can’t get there no matter how hard we scratch. Where is that lightbulb over my head?!

Mr. Johnson figured it out though. It’s not one mind thinking really really hard and suddenly getting a “big idea”–it’s diverse collaboration. I watched the speech one morning right about the time as I was planning the Halloween party for my office. When I got in to work, rather than sitting alone racking my brain for fun ideas, I pulled two other people into a room with me for a brainstorm. The result? Greater ideas than I could’ve thought up on my own. Sometimes it takes reminding that teamwork rules.

Last week I had the opportuntiy to attend the ad:tech conference at the Javitz Center in NYC, and low and behold, Mr. Johson gave this speech the morning of day two. I looked around and snickered.. because I already knew (thanks TED). Now for every project I have I want to get unlimited amounts of coffee and great people in a room and say, “ok… go!”.

The Lost Potential of A Little Bit Good

Sometimes, I get home from work, think about all of the things I’ve once done beyond the 9-5, and wonder why I’m not doing them anymore. Why am I not writing songs like the voracious animal I was a year ago? Why am I no longer a freelance writer? Why did I stop posting on this blog frequently?

And that’s just the beginning of it. There’s also:

  • the book I never finished (it would’ve been great, I still believe)
  • the pictures I stopped taking
  • the race training that faded
  • the drawings I stopped creating
  • the startup business that didn’t start..

unfinished book

There are cliche sayings that I can apply to all of these shortcomings. I’m a quitter. I don’t want it bad enough. I don’t follow through. Sometimes I think to myself: I wish I was really good, really, really, talented, at just one thing. Because then it would be easy. That’s what I would do, there would be no questions about doing anything else. I wouldn’t start a in new direction. I would simply excel in my one niche and never look back. I would be the BEST potato farmer you ever met, or the GREATEST songwriter you’ve ever imagined.

But that’s just not how it is. I’ve classified myself as “a little bit good” at a range of things (I think I’ve been telling myself that since junior high school I think). So I try them all, and then when I think I’ve reached my “little bit” full potential, I stop. And what a pity, isn’t it? If we all thought that our potential at a new endeavor was “just a little good”, we’d be living in a world with only half-planted potato farms (potato famine?…nah), unfinished songs, very very short books… and 5,090,230,122,426,999,999,999 “eh” ideas that just stayed locked up in people’s heads.

The next question I should ask myself is, how do I measure this “little bit of potential”? And how have I determined once I’ve filled it? It must be an external comparison. Because compared to myself, each stride and each creation is like nothing I’ve ever done before. I should break my “little bit” mindset, and find a new scale by which to measure. And then maybe the passions will keep burning.