I have a confession to make, my last blog took me far longer to finish than I had intended. This was because I knew exactly how I wanted the page laid out, but because of the html coding on my template I had problems inserting the images where I wanted them. I was determined not to be beaten and to achieve the layout I was after. After wasting a couple of hours researching on Google and then trying the same approach over and over again, I got fed up; gave up and finally stopped. However, by this time I was incredibly agitated and frustrated at not being able to achieve what I wanted. I know I’m not the only one guilty of this and not just in relation to computers, people find themselves stuck in cycles of behaviour regarding their approach to parenting, work, relationships etc. and as W.L Bateman said
“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”
Once I’d stopped I decided to reassess what I was trying to achieve by asking myself three questions
- What was my desired outcome? – To insert three images in my blog post
- Why was I trying to achieve this, was it necessary /relevant? – yes, because the images supported the blog post
- How else could I achieve it? – the images didn’t have to be beside the text, the message was what was important, not the layout.
It was that light bulb moment. I realised that in the future instead of using my energy being agitated and frustrated (or any other range of emotions we may go through as we face challenges), I should reassess my situation and re-channel my energies into thinking creatively for a solution; a far more productive and enjoyable process.
I decided to create a collage to capture my learning (above) and as a result I created a phrase or ‘metaphor’ that I now use as a trigger to stop myself when I get caught in the cycle of repetitive, unproductive behaviour patterns. It reminds me to think and act differently; I call it the ‘Rubik cube syndrome!’
One of the images I used to symbolise the frustration I had been feeling was a Rubik cube. Being a teenager during the 80’s meant I had spent (wasted) many hours trying to solve the cube. I could only ever do two sides, after that I just ended up wasting time trying to achieve, what was and remains for me the unachievable, a completed cube. Not to dissimilar to the rhino in the last blog. The Rubik cube image works really well for me because when I think of it I have strong memories of feeling agitated and frustrated, of time wasted and something I cannot complete; experiences and feelings I do not wish to repeat. I have used the trigger several times since creating the collage, especially as I’ve been building my website where I have had similar issues, and was pleased to see how well it works.
Since creating the collage I have been reading a book called ‘Expect the Unexpected (Or You Won’t Find It): A Creativity Tool [Roger Van Oech]. In it Van Oech suggests making metaphors for our current problem to help us stop and rethink what we are doing, particularly when faced with a problem. Though unintentionally, my collage had been the tool for me to do this, and having read this I thought it may serve as a tool in the same way for others. Perhaps you need a trigger, something that will help you stop; rethink and reassess what you are doing when faced with a problem. If you find yourself caught in a cycle of repetitive behaviour patterns that do not achieve your desired outcomes, try creating a collage to see what metaphors emerge. You may find one image is all you’ll need to break the cycle.