Olga Sheean ruminates on bookshops, the digital age and lazy language. Are we losing our language, as well as our minds?.
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 go 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. That is 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 blog, 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 really get out of the blandosphere!