There is usually a lot to learn, unlearn and re-learn when we zoom out of our routine and refocus. Some lessons are counter-intuitive and baffling, some visceral and fantastical. Here are some of the most paradoxically ridiculous lessons I learned working on projects at my dime and time.
1. Omissions are harder than addition:
When Apple launched iPod they didn’t add but removed the extensive list of features that defined the contemporary music-player market. Minimalism is a very demanding religion to practice. It mandates prioritization and constantly presents difficult choices. This applies to writing as well as any creative field, choosing to remove is often harder than choosing to carry. It is often the limitations to showcase your work that spawn excellence.
“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2. More isn’t merrier:
It is an annexe to the above rule. It is a pure preventive and anti-therapeutic measure. Temptations are cruel and difficult nymphs to resist in creative realms. But to succeed and really finish a piece, stop creating new projects instead, finish the ones you have already started.
“I can resist anything except temptation.” — Oscar Wilde
3. Stop creating. Start re-creating:
There is a well-established truth in the world of storytelling, “Stories aren’t written; they are re-written”. Every time the creativity strikes, avoid the temptation to start with a clean slate. It took me a lot of time to start holding back and instead focus on existing notes. Production is often more arrangement than creation.
4. Power through surrender:
This was the most perplexing lesson I ever discovered. The trainers of Jujutsu–a form of martial arts, yoga, and alike disciplines preach surrendering to the macro. It starts with submitting to a higher power, which comes to our aid when we exercise extra-human acts. This process of submission allows us to accept ubiquitous restrictions, channelling our focus to the ensuing action. Once I started to accept gravity, inertia, buoyancy, and emotions as allies, I was en route to discover the most surreal and baffling lesson.
“You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
5. Into the kaleidoscope:
French philosopher, Voltaire famously said, “Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers”. The best way to know a person is not an inquiry into their beliefs and the values held dear, but to figure the catch-22(s) in those beliefs. These exceptions in their wet-wares, the spots where the standard quivers and rules wage wars are the perfect spot for observation into a psyche. It is an analogous method that the intrusion testers use to test an application. Crude but effective. Simulating these spots, where we teeter between the two imperatives reveals our inner circuits.
“I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.” — Georges Bataille
Stay Hungry! Stay Foolish!