I just bought a mountain e-bike. It would be good if the tax office could realize that my new purchase should be a tax deduction. This is because now more than ever you will probably not find me in my office trying to solve tricky design challenges, but out in the bush, soaking up nature’s bounty, riding my new bike. This is I believe, integral to my design process.
If you don’t already know me, you may be thinking “Slacker. Are you nuts? What kind of designer are you?”.
My response is “an open minded one”. In the last year I have heard the term mindfulness a great deal. It seems to be the latest popular approach to life, but a little like 3D printing it has been around for years, only now becoming mainstream.
I was first exposed to the idea of opening yourself and allowing solutions to come to you when I was studying design, over 30 years ago. With this approach we were encouraged to take our design brief and dissect it to its essence; to understand the real issue needing to be solved; brainstorm all solutions, not excluding any and feeding one’s mind with possibilities. We were then encouraged to take a break, perhaps go to the movies, let the ideas percolate and let the universe deliver the answer.
Seems a ‘hokey’ idea, but it works. “Mindfulness” some may say.
For me, giving my subconscious or ‘the universe’ time to do the heavy lifting, means taking a ride, and I am so fortunate that the bush is almost at the studio’s backdoor. Not a ride where I still ponder the answer, but one where all my conscious brain power is focused on keeping me upright, enjoying the surrounds and having fun. In essence, for me, it is a kind of meditation – an experience of being totally in the moment. Then, afterwards, with my mind clear, the answers seem to come to me - The ”Universe” delivering the answer.
The poem “Clearing” by Martha Postlethwaite encapsulates this concept well. I believe the essence of this poem is not to try solve the whole puzzle by actively dwelling or thinking about the solution, but to free a clearing in one’s mind and wait for the answer to be delivered into one’s “cupped hands”.
I am not sure that the Tax Office has yet adopted a mindful approach or would accept that my bicycle should be a tax deduction, but I would suggest that the next time you have a particular tricky challenge, that you adopt a mindful approach, take time out from trying doggedly to solve it, and rather take the ‘ride’ approach.