Tag: Ideas

The “Selfie” Thinker

I can just about remember a time when phones weren’t such a big thing like they are today, and without sounding like some kind of luddite inspired liberal or technophobe harboring an all out irrational hostility to the modern world – love them or hate them, I would be lost without my smartphone.

We spend most of our time glued to our phones, checking our social media accounts, watching movies, checking for notifications, browse and read the internet, text, use an app or listen to music, keeping abreast of the latest Z-listed celeb news and even engage in an old fashioned “telephone call” now and again.

A few of us are familiar with some of the following scenarios:

  • Couples and families in a restaurant with their smartphones at hand – checking messages, emails and social networks, checking their phones repeatedly throughout the meal.
  • Shoppers and commuters standing in line, people criss crossing busy streets, cyclists and drivers whose eyes are on their phones instead of their surroundings.
  • People walking down the street with their eyes on their phones, bumping into others – instead of observing the world around them.
  • Children (and parents and even their parents) playing with a smartphone or some other device – rather than observing and learning from the world around them.

Though you could say that it’s all about choice and not the fault of the technology which allows it or which causes this kind of compulsive behavior – but over the past decade alone, technology has made tremendous strides in it’s complexity and integration into modern society. Our smartphones can offer us the convenience and assistance of no end of apps which make your phone seem like a pocket sized information bank. If only my thoughts weren’t distracted by frequently checking my smartphone caused by carrying around this powerful device with me all day long – my phone has just about managed to have this ability to distract myself constantly. I don’t think I have become a slave to my smartphone yet – I still want to experience life and spend time with the people and friends that matter to me. I am not completely unaware of the wonderful experiences that real world has to offer. If it wasn’t for the constant bombardment of bells, buzzes and chimes that alert me to messages which I feel obligated and compelled to view and respond to immediately.  Sometimes it gets so bad that I grow uncomfortable with any 30-second span of hands-free idleness.

Like my computer, I need to put my phone into some sort of sleep mode and just leave it alone – which might be a good hallmark of a healthy relationship with my phone, rather than my phone being something that I can’t live without. Unfortunately the smartphones and other technological devices that we use in a world where constant communication is a handy accessory – has made them become a second skin. Even with people I consider my best friends, it’s hard to think of a circumstance where not one of us touched their smartphone for one reason or another. Finding a balance between using our smartphones and being connected to the digital world with being able to comfortably turn off and disconnect is a main struggle underlying the current smartphone mania. I need to go back to talking face-to-face with all of my friends, to look them in the eye. To eat real food instead of photographing it. Not to drive into oncoming traffic while looking at my smartphone screen. Perhaps one day, I will be glad to be back in a world where I never had or depended on a smartphone. In a world that beats – waiting for the notification alert telling me that I exist.

 

How can I be more creative?

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

I have often thought about how I can be more creative, or how to develop upon an idea, not just in writing but in other areas as well. For some, maybe its going for a short stroll in the park or listening to music that helps you to get some of your best ideas or solutions to problems or to even do your procrastinating.

After some light research, it appears that exercise is linked anecdotally to creativity. Perhaps so. Apparently some people develop their best ideas during a walk, soaking in the bath (Eureka moment?), taking some form of exercise or just being outdoors. I don’t know what does it for me yet, and I haven’t quite found that one thing that has helped me to generate really creative ideas. I am open to debate about exercise actually aiding creativity at all, but that’s just my own opinion. I didn’t get any creative ideas about anything when I was running on the treadmill earlier! Maybe I was thinking too much about burning calories? Although, walking was one of Steve Jobs favorite things to do when he wanted to talk to someone and share ideas, and that appears to have worked quite well for him. I do enjoy long walks myself, and it helps to increase the blood  flow to my head, and that’s supposed to improve brain function – such as helping you to be creative or getting one of those light bulb moments or an amazing idea about something. However, it hasn’t helped me to be truly creative, or to be more creative than I would like to be.

I have tried some other ways to get myself in the mood or to help boost my creativity at home. There is a Web site called Coffitivity  that recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe and other sounds to help boost your creativity. You can pick between Morning Murmur or Lunchtime Lounge, and it has from time to time sort of helped me work a little bit better. So does the hum of a coffee shop do it for you or help to boost your creativity? Pulling up a seat in Starbucks or your local coffee shop might not be the most efficient way to get your creative brain cells going, when you are hunched over a table sipping a latte and using the free WiFi though. What I do like about this site is that it brings that coffee shop or lunchtime chatter directly to you, so when I am working away on something you really do get that feeling that you are in a coffee shop (eyes only half closed) or that you have that little bit of noise in the background instead of complete quietness. Funnily enough I have had a few meetings with some friends to discuss business ideas and we always meet up at a coffee shop and we usually end up getting some really good work done. I think maybe because it’s a combination of the actual environment and not only hearing the hum of the coffee shop but the other people around you, hearing and seeing them, and of course the coffee itself, so it’s the right mix of everything. Generally  I do like there be some sort of background music (not TV) when I am working, or I like to get up from my desk and just switch off completely from what I was doing, and sometimes an idea would pop up – but alas it’s not really made me be anymore creative.

Sometimes I find that extreme quiet helps me to work better and help sharpen my focus. Even though it can help me to concentrate a little bit more, I don’t find that it really helps me to be more creative. Mostly I preferred quietness when I was studying for exams. I can’t say that I ever enjoyed studying for exams all that much, especially when I was studying for something that I didn’t really like. I think that its difficult to be creative about something that you don’t like or love?

So, I am still on my quest to find ‘that’ something to help me be more creative, and hopefully I will discover it soon!

 

Photo from StockSnap