Quote by Alex Osborn on The Conquering Zero

Thursday Thoughts: Alex Osborn

Hi everyone! It’s Thursday–wow, what a crazy week. I have one big project I have to hand in on Friday and then a ton of research and concept work to do. Often the research doesn’t seem as glitzy as creating the actual project, but I know that I need to do a good job in order to have a solid foundation to work from. If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in this program, it’s that you usually can’t have a successful project without good ideas backed by extensive research!

Here’s your thought for today:

Worry is essentially a misuse of imagination.

Today’s quote spoke to me right away. Alex Faickney Osborn was an advertising executive who worked on accounts such as Chrysler, BF Goodrich, General Electric, and Du Pont during the first half of the nineteenth century. He is also known as the father of brainstorming, presented in his 1942 book How To Think Up. In 1954, he founded the Creative Education Foundation, which today still publishes the book from which the above quote was taken–Unlocking Your Creative Potential: How to Use Your Imagination to Brighten Life, to Get Ahead. Although I personally have not read this book, I think I need to add it to my reading list.

For me, worry and anxiety have always been a daily reality. Some people are just wound a little tighter than most, and that’s definitely me. One of the things I find most challenging about being in a fast-paced, project-based program is that it is easy to lose the joy and the sense of adventure that leads to those good ideas that you need. Our professors tell us to take risks and go above and beyond, and I know that they’re right because it will make me into a better graphic designer.

But I find that when I’m stressed about the amount of work I have to do, I hit a wall. I start comparing my work and my ideas to those of the people beside me and feeling inadequate. I’m not happy and I’m definitely not having fun. Instead of dreaming up new ideas, my mind is preoccupied with worry.

I’m not sure if there’s a clear cut answer for how to deal with this. I do know though that recognizing that stress and real creativity cannot coexist is the first step towards fixing the problem. I know that I have a good imagination–the amount of dreadful potential scenarios I create in my head testifies to that. Now I need to practice redirecting that overactive imagination into something positive and productive.

What do you do when you hit a creative wall? How do you keep yourself from worrying? Let me know in the comments!


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