Ideas: Moments of brilliance and total failures

Do Something Creative Every day. It’s a little mantra of mine, for myself but I really do think it makes a huge difference. Hum a tune, record a song, take care making nice food, draw a pattern on a napkin, dye your hair, doesn’t matter, it really makes every day feel like something has been achieved.

 

That was the first idea of what was going to be 1000, I thought I’d make a list over time of 1000 thoughts, concepts, mini-philosophies and so on. I got to 6 in total, I knew it would take time but having only 6 after nearly a year I thought I’m never going to do this on my own. I put the idea out there to others, absolutely no one replied with interest. At this point I decided to put the plan firmly in the pile of great ideas going nowhere.

I believe in that idea, creativity certainly makes me feel better, constructive and all kinds of other things. I didn’t want to go down the road of motivational memes which have become so popular on social media, as the ridicule of those memes has become just as popular. This was a genuine attempt to create a list of useful thoughts, but never mind, it’s not the first idea I’ve had that’s been incomplete and it won’t be the last. I’ve spent my life coming up with ideas, different musical projects, film ideas, writing ideas, art works not to mention my work where thinking differently has been a key factor in my success. Of the probably thousands of ideas I’ve had in my life hundreds have been attempted and many of those seen to fruition, I can’t complain. But the amount of failed bands is vast, the amount of song titles that never got used, or got forgotten would fill a book on their own.

 

A day without music is a day wasted.

 

That was the second idea, I’ve said this many times. In a training course I have delivered many times I ask my students to list 3 things they hate and 3 things they love, day to day things. The idea is to look at what irks you and how you have positive things to counteract that. Music is one thing the majority of people say, most people have music that they are passionate about and it is very important, it’s hugely important to me. And in our modern times of nanotechnology we can in fact have an entire music collection everywhere we go, thanks to the MP3 player, which I invented…

Clearly I didn’t, or I would be wealthy (or in a lengthy court case trying to prove my invention) When I was around 12 or 13 (1990 or so) the MP3 player hadn’t been invented, music was still on CD’s, cassettes and vinyl, and I had a thought that it would be amazing to have a device which contained all of the music and films I wanted in one small thing, so all I had to do was push a few buttons and have it playing. Being keen on technology and music and films and a keen sci-fi fan it didn’t seem ludicrous, but I naturally never followed the idea due to the fact that it didn’t occur to me at that age that I could. A number of years later and everyone owns some kind of tiny device which holds hundreds of hours of entertainment, if only I had followed through…

 

Quit Something: I’m sure there’s something in your life you can do without, quit it. Change your job, quit smoking, quit being lazy… No one likes a quitter? I do.

 

I had just quit my job, and was very happy about it, I had also entertained the idea of quitting smoking, still working on it. But the idea was counteractive to common conceptions, sometimes quitting is good… sometimes not.

For many years my great passion was film, cinema and I really wanted to be a filmmaker, creating art cinema, horror, and sci-fi. I battled my own mind for years deciding on where I would go with this, I had friend who did this, they made feature films, and they had follow through. In time I moved away from taking the idea seriously but always in the back of my head was this dream. Eventually I began to write a script, this one was a zombie film. A story about some ordinary people who die and wake up as zombies. It went through many transformations, it was really about the social consequence of having dead people who walk around, about how humans are brutally cruel to those who are different and can also maintain hope and look after the less fortunate, it was rife with social care related matters, relationship sub plots and even political issues about over-population and control. Possibly, a work of genius. I can’t remember how long I worked on it, a couple of years on and off, I find writing scripts to be a bit of a chore, the format can be cumbersome and stifle fluidity of writing. Anyhow, like many things I had put it aside for a time due to whatever was going on in my life.

It’s a zombie film, by its nature it will bare similarities to other zombie films, the walking dead and so on but I thought I had a really original idea in my approach. Of course in the time I had put my idea aside to work on later several films, TV shows and probably books came out using some or at least one of my “original” elements, I waited too long, I guess again I had no follow through, I put it aside permanently at this point. That’s happened plenty of times, thought of a great film idea and then one comes out almost immediately with the same plot.

Declutter your environment and declutter your mind: This is not a self-help suggestion, well it is, but I find that by sorting out my stuff it helps me to systemise and prioritise. If you’re in a rut try it out. Really think about all the rubbish you have and get rid of some, you’ll find it satisfying. There’s TV shows, books, and even declutter “guru’s” who help people do this. Don’t give up your most important things, but life is easier without trash in the way. I’ve always had something of a “minimalist ethic” and a regular clear out makes me feel like I can move forward with other things.

As it even says in that idea, it’s not original, I can’t claim it’s my idea by any means. But this list wasn’t all about originality, but about genuine thoughts, this one links quite nicely with the below idea.

Make lists: If your mind can be chaotic like mine, then use lists. Simply writing things down can clarify and prioritise. Completing a list is incredibly satisfying too.

 

I have a natural need for order, I like to declutter, make list, organise and most importantly I like to complete things. I’ve worked on being patient and finishing things when they are done and not rushing things to finish. But with the decluttering idea I could probably write my own book about it, I could probably become one of those declutter guru’s, often in my work I’ve been asked to improve certain services and projects, the first thing I do is declutter, whether it be files, practice, staff or kitchen cupboards, I can’t work in a mess. But I have no intellectual property rights over telling people to declutter, nor do I over zombie films and certainly not over MP3 players. How many of you have had a great idea only for someone else to get their first, to make money off it first and you’ve thought to yourself:

 

Fuck, if only I had followed through, if only I had patented it, or published it.

 

Well, you didn’t.

 

Nostalgia is a barrier to development. Not in the sense that we should ignore and bury the past to move on, I appreciate old music, architecture and have memories I am fond of. But I do feel that many people with the “good old days” attitude can’t think in a contemporary way, let’s face it, the world needs to keep developing, humans need to develop in positive ways, being nostalgic can stop that. This goes for both good and bad, certain points in history are signifiers for people, but they are gone now, evolution doesn’t stop, nor should it. Nothing is ever perfect, and chances are things aren’t as good as you remember anyway, ever watched a film from your childhood and really wished you didn’t?

 

Just move on is the point, don’t get stuck on the “what if’s” of life, but learn and have some follow through. It’s hard sometimes, if you’ve ever watched the TV series “Dragons Den” where a panel of rich investors are pitched an idea by someone asking for money and support, many times people are rejected because their idea isn’t saleable, or isn’t original, but occasionally someone has success and gets investment. The most famous was the “Reggae Reggae” sauce, a guy had his own Caribbean sauce recipe and thought to bottle it and sell it, maybe it had been done before, but he got on TV first… huge success. Money certainly isn’t a motivator for me, being wealthy would be great but being creative is important, originality of thought is important and affecting people’s lives is important.

 

We all eat, and all of our food turns to shit yes, it’s crass, but it’s true. The point is humans are equal, but our world our systems are not. This one’s just a little nudge to remember that, biologically speaking, we’re all basically the same. We are social animals, and we naturally join likeminded groups, but elitism doesn’t get us anywhere, you can join a group and not be superior to others.

 

That was the last, the 6th of my proposed 1000 ideas, getting slightly more existential at this point. A little reminder that we all succeed and all fail, failure can be more enriching than success at times. All those times that an idea has been stolen buy another, even though you know that someone on the other side of the world has simply had the same idea as you with no connection at all, because it’s a good idea, you still feel robbed, like someone has reached into your mind and plucked out your moment of genius, maybe your only moment.

 

The point here is simple though, if you have a good idea it is worth following it, working on it and trying to do something with it. It will involve work, the proverbial Blood, sweat and tears but the outcome will be satisfying, even if someone does beat you to the punch the process is still rewarding and dealing with some disappointment is just part of life, dealing with failure, incompletion are all part of life, but don’t dwell on it, move on, try again.

 

Motivational speech over.

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