The distinction between drive and passion is crucial… Passion pulls you toward something you cannot resist. Drive pushes you toward something you feel compelled or obligated to do. If you know nothing about yourself, you can’t tell the difference. Once you gain a modicum of self knowledge, you can express your passion. But it isn’t just the desire to achieve some goal or payoff, and it’s not about quotas or bonuses or cashing out. It’s not about jumping through someone else’s hoops. That’s drive.
So I looked to my right, where my real life was, MacBook, Apple Sac for it, personal phone, diary of ideas, Escape From Cubicle Nation, and then looked straight forward where my fake life was, a crappy lap top with blackberry in tow.
My brain is buzzing. Almost to the point of being overwhelmed and noisy and anxious. I’ve been at a Train the Trainer course for the last three days and I’m feeling excited and exhausted and full! Like with most training courses or seminars I go to, I found that the most dramatic and deep and powerful learnings weren’t from any explicit piece of new information or knowledge I was given, but rather from the connections and realisations that arose from having time, space and stimulation to engage in good self-reflection.
So, I wanted to share some of the things my brain is currently buzzing about (in the hope that it might quieten the buzzing a little, and that through writing them down I might see some new connections and get some new insight and motivation about what I do about it!)….
One of the points in Ken Robinson’s ‘The Element’ that really stuck with me was about the difference between imagination and creativity.
Imagination can be entirely internal. You could be imaginative all day long without anyone noticing. But you would never say that person was creative if that person never did anything. To be creative you actually have to do something. (emphasis added)
Creativity is a step beyond imagination because it requires you to actually do something rather than lie around thinking about it. It’s a very practical process of trying to make something original.
Because it’s about making things, creative work always involves using media of some sort to develop ideas.
To develop our creative abilities, we also need to develop our practical skills in the media we want to use.
This year, I’ve been very conscious of ensuring that I move from thinking to doing. I’m excited about learning new practical skills. I need to find and develop my media.
I think I’m a visual person, but I also think I suck at drawing. So, I’m going to learn to get better at it. This week I’ve signed up for the visual vocab newsletters from Donna McGeorge and from Graphics Made Easy and have learned how to do quick sketches of a book and a sunrise. Doing this ‘Train the Trainer’ course is also part of developing my practical skills in a new medium. Previously I found myself quite turned off the idea of training and facilitation. I thought it was something I wasn’t good at, something that I wasn’t interested in. I guess I was scared. I knew what good training and facilitation looked like. But didn’t believe I could do it. I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever be a brilliant trainer or facilitator, but I’m definitely not going to get any better by thinking about it. I’m excited about the prospect of doing it. I’m excited about learning and getting better at a skill I value. And I’m excited about the possibilities and opportunities that having this skill creates.
My brain is also buzzing about David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement address which I listed to today…
I’m also thinking a lot about stories. And how stories can be used in training and facilitation and professional development. And questions too… I love questions. I’ve been thinking about the seminar by Michael Marquardt that I went to last month, and Thought Questions, and all the resources and articles about questions on Chris Corrigan’s website which I want to read…
I feel like I have all of these little snippets of thought running around in my head. I just jump from one to the other and never really explore any in much depth. I think a coach or someone to debrief with would be good for that. To ask the questions that push me further. Or maybe I should commit to doing a blog post on each topic and use that as a means for delving a bit deeper.
Okay, that’s enough for one post…. Brain chatter is temporarily relieved….
I find it fascinating to look back through old diaries, emails and notebooks. Sometime reading through my old stuff takes me back so clearly to the moment I wrote it, but with the benefit of knowing what happens next, so in a way it almost feels like I’m able to tell the future. Often I think we’re so focused on creating new things and wanting fresh content and thoughts that we forget to look back and enjoy (often with new insights) all the stuff that’s been created before.
This article about Barack Obama from the May 2004 edition of The New Yorker is great. It seems especially great when you know what happens next…
My favourite bit…
Jan Schakowsky told me about a recent visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her “obama” button. “He jumped back, almost literally,” she said. “And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a ‘b.’ And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’”
As part of this new blogging thing that I’m attempting (see my previous post), I’ve been thinking about topics for posts. Stuff that I have an opinion about. Stuff that I know about. Stuff that doesn’t cause any potential conflict of interest or issues (real or perceived) in my professional life. And one of the things I’ve come up with is exercise and weight loss. I’m not quite sure about how much detail about my personal journey I’ll want to get in to, but I’m going to start with a little celebration….
Today is one year to the day since I started personal training with the lovely Rose Males at Pro-fit Health Club. Twelve months ago I was overweight. And terribly unfit. We did a short session (maybe only 30 minutes) and I was lying down on the ground feeling ill after about 5 minutes on the bike! I left shaking and feeling nauseous. It was tough. But I kept going back. Week after week. And I began to enjoy it. I began to ‘need’ it. Twelve months on I am 13kg lighter. 2 dress sizes smaller. And a whole heap fitter, healthier and happier. Seriously one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel so much stronger (physically, mentally, emotionally) and more capable. Things that were once too hard or too much effort are now entirely possible!
I’ve learned lots – about myself, about exercise, about health, about routine and balance – and I may share much of that here from time to time. I’m pretty good at beating myself up about all sorts of things. But on reflecting about where I was and where I’ve come with my health, I’m actually feeling pretty proud. So today I’m just going to give myself a little pat on the back, a celebratory glass of wine, and send a big heartfelt thank you to Rose!
So, this is my attempt at a first ‘real’ blog post… What do I mean by ‘real’? I mean content that is uniquely mine. My thoughts. My opinion. Rather than snippets of other people’s content that I collect and share…
I noticed how out of touch I was with my own opinion when I was putting together my application for the Centre for Sustainability Leadership‘s Fellowship Program (which was ultimately unsuccessful, but that’s another story…). As part of the application process I had to write a letter to the editor about a sustainability issue. I think of myself as reasonably well-informed about, and interested in, a range of sustainability topics, but I was really stuck. Stuck because I didn’t know what I thought, I didn’t know what my opinions were, I didn’t know what I was passionate about. As a public servant, I consistently write on behalf of others, communicating their views or intentions or decisions (and I like to think that I do this well). But, I felt quite shocked to realise that in perfecting my fluency in bureaucratese, I had neglected to nourish and develop my capacity to passionately articulate my own opinions. And this is something that I want to address!
I don’t think of myself as a good writer, or as particularly articulate or insightful, nor do I feel like an expert on anything in particular. I read a lot (books, blogs, articles etc) and consistently think that I could never come up with as good ideas, or sound as smart as the authors of the blogs I enjoy. I like the idea of having a blog. But it all seemed a bit too hard, and potentially embarrassing. And what would I write about? Nevertheless, inspired by this tweet, I have realised that if I want to become a good blogger, I may first need to start by being a terrible blogger. I’m certainly not going to get good at it simply by thinking about it!
I’m not doing this because I think that anyone will be particularly interested in what I write. Nor do I think I have any particular wisdom or knowledge that will educate or inspire readers. Rather, at least at this stage, this is purely an attempt at a little self-development exercise. Something that may help me find my voice. I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out…
Following today’s first TEDxCanberra brainstorm, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite TED talks. Still have lots of talks from TED2010 on my ‘to watch’ list….
- Majora Carter’s tale of urban renewal
- Eve Ensler on finding happiness in body and soul
- Dan Gilbert on our mistaken expectations
- Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight
- Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
- Dan Ariely on why we think it’s okay to cheat and steal (sometimes)
What are your favourites?