I’m not the type of person who keeps schedules. I’m more of a “winger woman” (let it be known that this phrase was coined right here), that is, someone – specifically female – who takes the day or whatever circumstances as they come. I know what I’m supposed to do in the day; sometimes I do it all and other times, I don’t. I don’t let the things that I can’t do bother me; I just say “I’ll do them tomorrow,” and that’s that. You must know that this behavior is quite the opposite of my beloved father’s – so much organization (!!!) and I can’t help but continuously wonder if this specific character trait is the reason why the levels of our productivity differ so much.
With that being said, other than all the regular human rituals (bathing, brushing teeth etc.) that I do on the daily, there is one other thing that I do without fail. Can you guess? Yes? No? … Um, okay, you can’t so I’ll just tell you…
I do social media. Yes, I D-O it. Surfing the social turf is something that now comes so naturally to me that you would never say that I was the same girl that literally read through EVERY SINGLE LESSON at school and through her whole school library. Granted, it was a small school’s library, but it was a library nonetheless.
Now, you can sit there and judge me. Go ahead. You may have a right to or you may be just as guilty as me. Unfortunately for me (and a whole lot of you), it is not my job to be a virtual socializer for no reason. It is my job, however, to be a creative.
Since social media, I’ve found that I have to work harder for my creativity. Every time I enter the virtual world I am confronted by a host of ideas or by people ten times better than me (where my craft or sneakers are concerned). I am bombarded by so many thoughts and messages and trends, a lot of which are totally irrelevant to my life. But because I’ve developed FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I’ve made a place for all of this clutter and fanatical groupthink.
I was reading “The Art Of Creative Thinking” by John Adair recently, and I was reminded of the need to not only practice serendipity but to also see things in a different light. This made a lot of sense to me because I know that the virtue of the creative is their ability to perceive and interpret the little things, the most mundane tasks, or the craziest life events in a way that no one else has. Lao Tzu said, “To perceive things in the germ is intelligence.” Marcel Proust said that the real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Sometimes, I’ve been made so full by social media that I am unable to find my voice in creativity. My thoughts are dominated by what I see people doing, what I see they have or how much “further along in their career they seem than me” and there is seemingly no value in the day-to-day happenings of my life. This is when I know that I have had enough. Although there is nothing new under the sun, it goes a long way when I make a practice of serendipity, proper thought (instead of being told what to think by social culture, or Solange or my friend Betty), and appreciation.
I’m learning that when I meditate on what I’ve got, then I find out that I have quite a lot. That “lot” is not only restricted to my possessions, it also includes the wealth of creativity and new ideas that were placed inside of me by my Maker (whom I believe to be Jesus).
I was partaking in Conversation on Creativity last week and an entrepreneur touched on the fact that there are so many designers doing the same thing. They all have a white t-shirt, a grey t-shirt and a black t-shirt, and I laughed to myself and wondered if this was not the result of some people failing to allow themselves to think differently than what they were seeing all of the other designers with labels doing.
This may be a long stretch, but I somehow feel that taking a moment to reflect, “see things with new eyes,” and seeking the creativity to utilize what we have instead of longing for what others have may just be what Africa’s young creative need. Man, it’s probably what Africa needs.
There is so much more to be said, but let me leave you with this thought (I am saying all of these things back to myself daily): If you’re going to stretch something, why not stretch your brain. Practice self-awareness instead of social media awareness (social media is not the devil, but too much of a good thing is bad). Start by going outside and aiming to see the world with new eyes.
Add those things to your schedule. I’ve added them to mine.
Author: Eden Myrrh