KILL THE ROBOT
We live with monsters in our pockets, monster on our walls, monster robots. They are soulless creatures with an appetite that is never satisfied, always feeding on weak attention spans. Robots that never sleep, sucking away our time into a void of nothingness. Welcome to a world of robots.
In movies they always show robots to be sexy mega beasts with blazing laser guns, wicked gadgets, and unimaginable earth crushing strength. While we have all been praising God that the world hasn’t been blasted to its rocky core by Iron Man, Terminator, or Transformers, we have been taken over by tiny seductive robots called iPhones and iPads.
Before I go on, this is not a hate message to Apple products, nor am I going to tell you to throw away your phone and go back to using pigeons. Ain't nobody got time for that. We live in a world where you need technology like iPhones to function in your job and world. I need it and use it, so I’m the first to point the finger at myself. Yet like anything, the key is balance.
It’s ironic that I’m writing this, both because my career depends on my constant use of technology, and because I’m writing this on a computer…. you get my point, its a messy area.
One rhythm that I have found to bring creative life and fresh ideas is silence. I’m not talking about the awkward dead noise in a conversation but the silence found in the quiet places of your heart. Reflection.
Silence cannot be found until you kill the robot. You must take action to protect and keep safe your precious moments of silence, They will be your lifeline to staying creatively alive. Silence will never come naturally, nor easily. You must fight for it with blood, sweat and tears and beat back the noise of the world with all you’ve got. A kind of noise that pollutes your thoughts and self reflection, by allowing constant access 24/7 to everyone’s opinions. I’m afraid we’ve gotten so caught up in a dull roar of other people's opinions, that we don’t even know how to listen to what we feel or think on our own, without the millions of tiny voices intruding.
Let me illustrate: I don’t have an alarm clock, I just plug in my phone next to my bed and set my alarm. The problem quickly became that soon I would jolt awake as I was falling asleep to the sound of a text message and read it immediately, (I know I’m that important - I hope you can hear the sarcasm) and first thing in the morning I would roll over, silence my alarm and see all the wonderful texts, emails, facebooks post, updates and immediately feel myself behind and start catching up. When I start my day that way, I start out in chaos, I start out worried about that email I read, or what it’s going to say. Stressed out about all I have to do before I even took one step out of bed. I suffered from that machine eating away at me, and so I made a change.
I sleep with the do not disturb button on so I can’t hear it, and when I wake in the morning I leave my phone in another room and try to not touch it till 10am. For work reasons and life, I can’t always do this, but often when I do, like I did this morning, I find so much life in the quiet silence of the day. Starting my day without being emerged into the business of the day or technology allows me to mentally prepare for the day. I spend that time in personal reflection, writing, drinking coffee, sometimes eating donuts, playing music, reading, or just sitting still and letting my thoughts wander on a walk through my heart.
Pursuing silence takes time and practice, so give it a chance, and make time in your life in a way that works for you. I have pursued moments of silence for many years, and I can tell you that by far, it has been one of the most productive and fruitful creative rhythms I have as an artist. Because when you still your heart and mind, you allow yourself to think and feel which will lead to new clarity. Clarity is the birthplace of ideas and expressions - the very core of how we function as creatives.
Be brave and kill the robots in your lives, the ones that rob you of the opportunity to grow as a creative and a person. People are important and so are their ideas and opinions, but trust me- yours are more important.