Oceans of Opportunity

cheap ideas and the soloist’s dilemma

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiFive thousand four hundred and thirty is the number of files I came to discover today while backing up my computer. This is not the mish mash from days past – old projects, images, archived information – these are the current workings in my personal day to day system.

My intent today was to do a re-org of much of this information, and try to find closure for some outstanding projects. In fact, the opposite occurred, as I became overwhelmed – 5430.

I then took it upon myself to look back at my archived files and folders – all of the work that was completed successfully, and another huge amount that never saw the light of day…more than 3x’s the current load. Frustrated at what I immediately perceived as a lack of productivity on my part – even failure to some extent – I walked away, had something to eat, grabbed a hot shower, and thought the whole thing through.

My realization is that ideas are cheap. For someone who has no shortage of ideas, this is hugely problematic, as the mind literally races with new ways of getting something done or new ways to perceive the world. It races so much so that time required for actually executing some of these ideas is virtually non-existent. But, is it fair to measure success only by tangible productivity?

AH Maslow, who I have written about before, is quoted in the 2nd Chapter of Gordon Torr’s ‘Managing creative people: lessons in leadership for the ideas economy‘ saying, “The kind of creative people I’ve worked with are apt to get ground up in an organization, apt to be afraid of it, and apt to generally work off in a corner or in an attic by themselves.” I know one of those people all to well – me.

Managing Creative People: Lessons in Leadership for the Ideas Economy

Now, I am by no means a loner, nor do I feel alone personally. Professionally however, my racing mind, often not understood by my peers, has settled into a productive zone as a soloist to some extent. This is OK, so long as I can force myself to be productive amidst my creativity, and actually define some tangible productive output that will contribute to my sustainability.The downside is the deep and dark tunnel that it is easy to get trapped in – some 5430 files deep in fact – without having a clear understanding of the next productive output.

I am convinced that among the most critical actions a creative type person can take, is to reach out to collaborate with those that can indeed execute. However, this has to come with the understanding that sometimes you gotta let go of that idea just a little bit. It’s hard. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen ideas succeed, and fail miserably.

To those reading out there that are of the ‘get’r done’ type persona – I invite you. No shortage of ideas on the docket here in my world, and I am confident that many of them aren’t so cheap.

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