I used to be a part-time faculty at work a few months ago. I used to handle sessions on soft skills and communication skills, with emphasis on business communication skills. When there was a new forum at work, my colleague and I came up with a brilliant idea of writing posts every week on specific/important aspects of communication. The idea was good and got approved.
We decided to publish posts every Friday. So it was decided that we would brainstorm and finalize an idea by Monday, come up with a draft on Wednesday. We even allocated time for fine-tuning the drafts on Thursdays after which our post would be ready to go live on Friday. We were proud of our plans and the way we thought we would implement them.
Except that, this was the too-good-to-be-true scenario.
When it came to the actual implementation, we realized we had more in store than what we had signed up for. Though we religiously followed the schedule for a few days, we realized that it was quite not possible to stick to it week after week. We used to start talking about ideas on Mondays and struggle to come up with something concrete and push it off for the next day. I remember spending many Thursday nights staring at Notepad and Word praying for inspiration. Somehow, we managed to pull it off and for the 3 months that we were in-charge of the posts, we never missed a single week.
That's when I realized something. Our imagination works at its peak, at times, when we're scared.
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I've always wondered how creative people work. When something is a hobby you know there are no strings attached so the prospect of setting deadlines for oneself isn't as intimidating as the fear of not being able to meet a deadline set by someone else. When it's work, there are no two ways about it, we *have* to wrap up our work before the clock strikes. When there is so much pressure to get something done, and the additional weightage of trying to meet every one of the stakeholder's expectations, it can be challenging.
Yet, people crack the secret behind coming up with their best ideas, amidst/despite pressure. For some of us (barring the blessed souls who don’t allow external factors to influence their work) it’s more like being pushed in a corner with no escape route and improvising the first idea that comes in your mind. This might not work in our favour at all times, and I am not advocating that you should leave things things till the eleventh hour hoping for a miracle. I remember reading an article which mentioned that creative ideas work best when our mind is tired. Along similar lines, I read that when you’re up against a complex task, you might end up analyzing options and looking for the easiest possible way or the best possible way to break the task and get it done quicker. No wonder they always say lazy people are the best ones to find ways to get a job done quickly :-)
Calvin was right. Very few things inspire people to bring out their best, better than last-minute panic. It’s more like being forced to rack your brains to find out possible hidden talents to *somehow* accomplish your task. You might never know what you would end up doing. You might never know what you’re capable of.
So, do you agree with Calvin?