The Thursday Thesis 4/8/2016
Getting Your Arms Around Big Problems...
Just look at my Great Big Problem – it’s huge, too big, really...how on Earth am I going to solve it? But the longer I look at it, and the more I think about it, the bigger it gets.
How can I even start to solve it?
Maybe I’ll do something else whilst I ruminate and think it over some more...”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Overwhelm is a common occurrence for anyone who wants to learn a new skill, change what they are doing, or take on a new challenge. But how can we tackle that feeling of being so intimidated by the task that we find something else to do instead?
It turns out that applying a constraint – a limit – to yourself can be a highly effective tactic.
For example, let’s suppose you want to write a new song – anything at all you like.
As yet, you don’t know who is going to perform the song: yourself or someone else. Also, you have no idea of a subject for the song, and to make matters worse, you have racks-full of synthesizers and studio gadgets to offer you thousands of sounds and editing possibilities for your new song.
You might go into your studio and start twiddling knobs, strumming strings, tapping on drums.
You – quite naturally - kid yourself that you are actually working (honest!), but you’re just waiting for inspiration to strike....
But you’re overwhelmed by the vastness of choice and - hours later - you’re still waiting for the lightning-bolt of creativity...
The problem is that you are overwhelmed by too much choice. Overwhelm – like writer’s block – prevents you from beginning to create that song, poem, novel, project, or business you‘ve always wanted to start.
There’s another approach that will get you going much faster than sitting around waiting for inspiration: limit your scope.
It’s strange, but the moment you limit your own scope, you go from being a vague generality to being something much more definite and specific. The moment you impose a constraint, you can focus on a fine detail.
For example - writing your new song, you might try imposing one or more of these constraints:
Compare wanting to write a song with no constraints, with writing a pop vocal song in the key of F, titled “Too Good to be True”, present tense, to be performed by your favourite female vocalist.
The second song looks much easier, doesn’t it?
That’s the power of imposing a constraint – it’s a more definite target, and you can zero-in on it.
So, pick up your pen and begin by writing down your constraints.
You must only use blue ink...
What are you waiting for?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2016.
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