Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Paint, therefore I am...

Man I get inspired by certain things lately. I found myself blabbering to a friend last night who's kid is in a tough spot. A tough spot because he is trying to figure out who he is and what he is supposed to be doing. I have met him, he is a good soul. I swear I had a similar conversation with one of my employees just last week, the same type of personality, the same types of issues.

Both kids are very sweet, kind and considerate. They want to do something great, they have dreams but have a hard time convincing others that their dreams are real and doable. Neither has a history of achievement. From a conventional perspective from say, their parents, or educators, they appear to be underachieving, because they have a hard time conforming to conventional standards of learning. They crave to set a course to getting somewhere, but often remain at a low confidence level. They are actually eager to embark on a journey, a gloves off, no brakes, artisan driven masterpiece of a rolleride. But they don't have approval.

They are reluctant to share with others how plainly they see themselves fitting into a picture, a vignette (a short, impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or insight into a character, idea, or setting). These are good kids often without the right jobs who are expected to do things the conventional way, like their parents do and like their parents did.

Nope, these kids, well, they appear not to have their shit together. From an outsider perspective (referencing those who conform to conventional standards) they need counseling, medication, therapy, ugh. Some of these kids can't finish school or have a tough time in school. Again, a daily broadcast of conventional standards shoved in their face from a system leveraged by those who succeed under those standards. It's too boring, they cannot concentrate, so they take comfort in doing repetitive tasks (usually at work) to keep their mind focused on things, because they can dream about their settings while doing so. A canvass that they could paint if given the materials, the tools to paint that perfect moment with them in it.

I was one of these kids. And it took until I was 35 to realize what the issue was. I remember sitting in class, starting to engage the teacher on a topic like...say...government. Before you I knew it I was disconnecting and putting myself into a moment with what the world would look like with me as a government leader. I am doing it now, as I write this. I just fired the entire IRS, my latest masterpiece of personal vignette, yay.

Now, what's interesting is how many vignettes I can keep up on my dashboard. Those little pop-ups that I am quite good at recalling.

My mind works by recalling the concepts (what I have learned by doing) and concepts are delivered to my memory by practicum (by doing things). By mastering an "in the moment" understanding of how things work, I enter a very comprehensive understanding of things. From a conventional perspective it is called intuition, a very solid file recall system that appears better than most. In business it is called vision. Because I think in concepts, I am able to apply very quickly what might be the outcome of an endeavor. The outcome appears to me in the form of a vignette and I am quick to move forward or away from the project. I do this in business and no, I am not always right. Note to parents.

So when I figured this out; the brakes off, gloves off journey that I mentioned above, well, it kinda set me free. I embarked (unconventionally) on a journey of collecting a wheel barrel full of concepts that I wanted to create, POW! Now people think of me in a different way and often bring their kids to me to get inspired.

I apply a lot of this to some of the skills that I have developed through the years--this as a result of releasing the shackles of conventionality. Here is my list of vignettes that I kind of painted in: I embarked on a journey to become a speaker, a decent masters athlete, a musician, a writer, a mentor, a business leader, an advocate, a shit disturber (when needed). This as a result of dropping the "lead coat" of what others thought I should be. Which most often was a middle manager.

Bottom line, these kids need not only to be encouraged but challenged to think in terms of this perspective, same with their parents, same with our community.

Cause you know why???

These are the friggin entrepreneurs! Yes! These are the kids that make it happen when others cannot figure out what makes them special. All they need is a push in an unconventional direction and a challenge to embrace the "way of thinking" that sits idle in their own DNA. Are we getting this yet?

I am lucky, a series of events put things in to perspective for me a little later in life. I was a late bloomer, always have been. I have learned that it is totally about the journey and the incremental "creative moments" created and converted to action that provides fulfillment, that purpose driven life that we all need. Me and those two kids crave purpose and want to change the world. Nope, we ain't at our best when things are homogenized. And there are other quirky things that we have to live with. But who's perfect? It's a long strange trip in my vignette.


1 comment:

The Shadow said...

I love it Ralph! I'm sharing this with my 17 year old, Brandon who is right now in a very similar place. He feels unaccomplished and is considering joining the Army when he turns 18 because he feels he needs a working education that will fill the void. I think it's OK to allow for "late blooming" as long as they are productive and contributing until they find their niche. Great blog. I admire your success, wisdom and your graciousness to share with others.

David Vanlandingham