Tweak Your Biz » Management » Blog, blog, blah, blah – bland, bland?

Blog, blog, blah, blah – bland, bland?



Is it all really, I mean, really helpful? Or is it just another way to put off the inevitable –working things out for ourselves?

These days, every time I have to think, rather than just sitting down and brainstorming, my automatic port of call is the internet – that wonderful repository of tidbits, advice, checklists, gizmos, inspirational quotes, secrets revealed, magic answers, attractive distractions and so on. I don’t even think about it. I am hard-wired and programmed to grab the mouse and start clicking.

No wonder, then, that it is such a painful process, at times, to get into my studio and do some art. Upon entering, it’s frightening, because to enter means leaving that world of seeming support and entering a world of self-reliance where there are no rules, no guidelines, no advice, no help, and nothing is forbidden. You might think that that sounds like freedom, but try it, and you’ll see just how daunting it is. Yet, despite all the pressure to be dependent on all that other stuff, if I stay with it, I can get back to the real me, the unique me and the creative, powerful me.

Then, when I go49 grey grey grey back to the internet, I can sift through the information that had previously seemed overwhelming (oh, I should know that, I must get that, I must print that out as a reference etc.) and actually use the computer as a tool that serves me. Let’s face it: most of the information on the internet is not much use to us. Even the good stuff is repeated ad infinitum in different guises – especially now we are all madly linking everything through various social media tools.

What concerns me is that much of the media we are exposed to in our daily lives is sliding into a predictable same-ness, a grey, comfortable blandosphere of mediocrity. It’s especially apparent with television. No one can doubt that, technologically, the media machine is very impressive and its accelerating development is going through a creative explosion, but (dare I say) spiritually, it seems to me to be dull. I don’t think we can afford to be that way, especially in business. If we go down that road, we end up with companies, products and services that are technologically and intellectually brilliant, but somehow lacking character or interest. In the search for safety and security, we risk sacrificing spirit and creative innovation; and in communicating in this way, we risk losing inspiration and exploration of our higher potential. We become boring.

When I tell people that I am a marketing communications consultant as well as an artist, it can confuse. To me, they are equally important facets of my life. They are interdependent, but the art definitely benefits the marketing communications more than the other way around. The creative process is the essential key to everything I do, as I believe it is for any business. For me, it has to be real and not virtual. ‘Press the flesh’, interact authentically, challenge myself with some ideas for a painting and dare to experiment without judgment. Everyone has their own way, I’m sure, but it’s only when you truly engage in the creative process that you are bringing new value into what you do, that you can find new and unique qualities that every business craves, and that you become more independent and powerful, as a result – on both a personal and a company level.

Because our creativity is like a muscle that we don’t flex very often, it can get a bit flabby. To truly think outside the box is a very liberating, although sometimes disturbing, experience. But we need to be disturbed! Otherwise we keep going through the same cycles and routines and we miss out on a whole chunk of life. We also need to discover our own uniqueness in order to find fulfillment. When we do that, we emanate those qualities and attract the relationships, money and success that we want.

So, if you feel like responding to this post, try flexing that muscle. Don’t just say how much you like or dislike it, or that I have raised some interesting points. Be daring, surprise yourself – and the rest of us – and let’s stay out of the blandosphere!

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The Author:

Lewis is an artist, author, entrepreneur, inventor, marketing communications consultant and business mentor. Fuelled by creativity and driven by a passion to provide innovation, impact and influence, his career has taken in a large variety of disciplines, skills and experience across many areas of industry and the public sector. He has worked with startups, SMEs, multinationals, rock stars, legends of film, the UN, people with AIDS and many more. All this has made him at times cynical, but more than ever confident that the future is bright if we can only empower ourselves and each of us employ our unique creativity to help achieve this. Through his service - www.CreativeCOGS.ca - Lewis offers a powerful four-step programme and a range of marketing communications services aimed at improvement, transformation, increased efficiency and profitability. He also runs creativity courses and courses in currency trading (www.leftbraintrading.com). His most recent venture (www.scribbleo.com) is concerned with making complex and long-winded information on websites fun and quick to understand and act upon. His first novel, Hominine - it's time to choose (http://www.hominine.info) is a powerful geopolitical thriller that fictionalized popular global concerns - and then provides answers! http://about.me/lewisevans777

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog facundo

    OK, just following the instructions in your last paragraph LewisA) I am not going to say I liked the postB) I am going to tell you I felt identified (sorry)C) I have recalled an old song in my head called “Exquisite corpse”D) I will relax this weekend and try to play this again with friends: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse

  • LewisEvans

    Good start, Facundo. Can we expand a bit on this?A) Can you be a bit more descriptive/abusive/surreal/effusive?B) As?C) I don't know that song. Please add an MP3 of you singing it?D) We could start this here. Looks interesting.

  • enormous

    Hi Lewis,Thanks for the post. I think many creative people (or people like myself who formerly worked in the arts but got sucked out of it) develop split personalities. You describe yourself as “an artist, entrepreneur, inventor and marketing communications consultant.” but why not (apart from sounding dreadfully hokie! :) ) can you not be an artistic, entrepreneurial, inventive marketing communications consultant? We are all the sum of our experience. This is one of the first things that I learnt in my drama studies course and it remains relevant in every aspect of my life. Nothing is as it seems just to us and this is as relevant to business as it is to creativity and the arts.Sometimes I hanker after my theatre days kidding myself into thinking they had more meaning than the work I have done since. However I have long realised that the creative thread running through my life is the desire to facilitate others, to help them develop and learn, to share new ideas and experiences. One aspect of theatre that I do not miss is that, being based in Ireland, the fulfillment of this desire was only ever short-lived; the time working with a team very limited by the production and the fragmented nature of theatre in Ireland. Moving away from theatre allowed me to move into other areas where the fulfilment of this creative urge was more sustained and satisfying. Funnily and as you mention television this was the one area that I worked in that I found least satisfying from a creative point of view. I approached my work, maybe not quite with this same attitude, as it was still developing in my psyche, but I still put as much creativity and inventiveness into the work I did but ultimately found it unsatisfactory. That said I do believe there is some really, really good television being made here in Ireland and elsewhere and I discuss telly good & bad on my infrequent podcast. I think more and more I am surprised and enthralled by online content but think that the fragmentory nature of some of it can be a distraction. And now I have added to it!Have a great weekend I'm off to find out what Facundo's Exquisite Corpse is!E

  • enormous

    Just checked out the Exquisite Corpse. We didn't call it that but I used to LOVE that game! Nice one Facundo!E

  • barneyausten

    Hi Lewis – just to push your buttons, this was a great post :). On a serious note, there is a real challenge in what you are saying. Mediocrity and following the pack – be that in blog posts, twitter, reacting to competitors… is a real trap that people can fall in to, simply because it is easy! I know – I've done it (still do sometimes!). I believe that naturalcreative flair is something that some people are born with and they find themselves in the fields that they are in as a consequence of that and I would agree with “E”'s comments below that creativity and the role are integral parts of the same. For those of us not blessed with this innate sense of creativity, it takes longer to understand where to generate it from. How do I come up with the creative streak that I know I have? How is it practiced? Do you have to think about it? Should it just come to you?.. Help – seriously, any pointers?

  • gregfry

    LewisGreat post as ever. What a class video. So true. Posts like these keep me on my toes. Well done.Greg

  • KelvinGillen

    I remember as a child that I used to get quite concerned about this whole creativity thing – my sisters could sing and draw and put on little plays etc.. meanwhile I felt no such spark or even desire to do these things and worried that I had no 'talent' – don't get me wrong I didn't obsess about this, but did think about it every now and again. As I grew older and started to form my own opinions, I occasionally found in discussion that the more 'artistic or creative types' often raised perspectives that I would never have thought of – leaps of connectivity that I would never have made – but upon hearing them I instantly 'got it' and was often then able to argue or debate this new perspective better than the originator. This perpetuated my belief that I wasn't creative.However, I've come to re-evaluate this belief over the last number of years – when I look back over my career I'd say that my two greatest strengths are problem solving and communication – and isn't problem solving a form of creativity? i.e. over the years I think I've come up with some pretty creative solutions to problems that I faced at various stages. In fact often when 'creativity' is required I try and express the situation in the form of problem that needs to be solved i.e. broken down. Also I think to be a good communicator you also need to be a little creative i.e. how best to make you message heard and understood.So I suppose this is a message to myself and the other 'left brainers' out there – we may have ourselves pegged as logical, rational and analytical – but there are very much creative, intuitive and even artistic threads of potentiality in all of us – just look how much we enjoy these types of posts :-) Possibly the real value comes from opening ourselves to this or 'flexing the flab' as Lewis says BTW thanks for the reminder !

  • LewisEvans

    Very nice distraction, and I am guessing the name is creative! I fully agree that creativity isn't the private domain of those involved in the arts. I have met very many business people who are more creative than a lot of artists. Basically, I think our creativity is an important integral part of us, what ever we do. I always remember running one of my creativity workshops for non-artists, and the most creative participant was a redundant systems analyst. He was extremely cynical at first (his wife bullied him to do the workshop!), but eventually surprised everyone, himself included, with some amazing abstract drawings all based on systems analysis. We all have incredible gifts.Thank you for your feedback.:0)

  • LewisEvans

    Argh, Barney, you disappoint me! Only joking! From what I have seen of your posting, I'd say you are very creative. But there is always room to explore. I do think everyone is born with it but most have it squeezed out of them by conditioning of various sorts. Then some of us arrive at a point in our lives where we realise that we have neglected it and want to take part again. I know it happens to me when I see a great performance in a film, hear some fantastic music or read a great novel. But by then we have built 'security blankets' that are pretty restrictive and give us all the reasons why we shouldn't rock the boat and start exploring. So, it may be time to do just that! Call me, if you want to talk about it. :0)

  • LewisEvans

    Thank you Greg. I'm glad you liked the video. Absolutely classic. Something to go onto after you get that Bollywood Oscar!

  • LewisEvans

    I think your journey is typical of so many. Regaining the confidence of being creative – in other words daring to be you in spite of the fear of the negative judgment of others – can be a rocky road, but always worth it. It's great that you can also recognise and acknowledge yourself for your achievements.It's also interesting about the left/right brain issue. How ever clever we become, it's always the right brain that is the primary motivator in everything we do, isn't it.:0)

  • LewisEvans

    Yay, go for it!!!! Good stuff. I remember the time when I tried golf. I thought, this is a great game, good for business, nice and social, very challenging. But something in me was screaming that I was completely wasting my time as my heart wasn't in it. Resisting the instinct proved to be fruitless, but I have spent a lot of time in my life doing just that! It seems as if you have passed the tipping point and are getting on with what you really want to do. Congratulations!

  • elainerogers

    Unlike Kelvin, I was never encouraged or worried about being creative. I didn't like sport as a kid and extra curricular activities included hanging out of street corners with my pals.I am a rational, practical, analytical mind, and guided my career in that direction.Then one day, someone said to me “So, Elaine, what do you do for fun?”That Lewis, was the start of the rest of my life!You say “dare to experiment without judgment?” Well let's get started, and really flex that muscle! I have discovered I can write things that I think about. Blogging and commenting is my beginning. The book is next on the list. I may even manage a poem someday :)

  • LewisEvans

    Yay, go for it!!!! Good stuff. I remember the time when I tried golf. I thought, this is a great game, good for business, nice and social, very challenging. But something in me was screaming that I was completely wasting my time as my heart wasn't in it. Resisting the instinct proved to be fruitless, but I have spent a lot of time in my life doing just that! It seems as if you have passed the tipping point and are getting on with what you really want to do. Congratulations!

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Lewis,
    unlocking the door,
    appears from a faraway place,
    an inside out world world,
    called my creative space.
    ,

  • Anonymous

    Nice one Niall! Where did tat ocme from!?

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Thanks Lewis, from my wild(er) side :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Elaine. I did reply to this but it seems to have got lost in the technical changes we’ve just seen… So tell us, what’s the book about? Anything to do with Zen and motorcycle maintenance? We’d love to know!