Chapter three of The Creative Entrepreneur has you look at your behavior in four ways, which the author calls four modes of work. You make an image about your best way of working in each mode, list constructive and destructive examples, and then look at the constructive lists for remedies for the items on the destructive list.
The first mode of work is sensing, which I found interesting. My work includes the sensory pleasure of sitting by my window in view of the flowers, with a sweet breeze wafting the lace curtains about, and the stimulation of thinking, of finding information, of figuring things out.
The author wouldn’t put those things in the sensory section, but for me there is a physical thrill to good thinking, just as good music feels good in my ears.
I had a brief spell of feeling as though this might be odd of me, but I moved on.
Thinking was mostly constructive for me. So was feeling.
But for both of them, I realized that when I get tired, I am prey to feelings on the negative, unconstructive list. I get smug and self-centered when I’m tired, but that’s also when I can feel discouraged by perfectly courteous and ordinary requests for changes in work, or being turned down for a job.
I’m not sure why I used “but” in that sentence. Obviously, if I feel self-centered, then I’m also going to react badly to things that could be construed as a failure to appreciate my awesomeness, as our family in-joke goes.
So then we go back to our pages and add “remedies” — things from the positive, constructive behaviors that can be used to counter the negative, destructive things.
The object of this section is to identify the things that serve as obstacles to success. Our own obstacles, that is: bad habits, things we do that are not in our best interests. We identify the positive behaviors that can counteract the negative behaviors. Then, in the next chapter where we plan our strategies, we can incorporate our remedies.
So after we’ve made our pages with constructive and destructive aspects of the modes of working, we go back and add the remedies.
On my sensing page, I wrote about getting distracted by noise and feeling anxiety, and then suggested to myself that the remedy could be focusing on the sensory pleasures of my work.
On my thinking page, I suggested to myself that when I found myself entertaining non-constructive thoughts, I could break for a walk or a rest, and come back with better attention and capacity.
For this, the remedy is very obviously to do the positive things and not do the negative things.
I didn’t find that as obvious for the other pages. I’m not sure why not. It was a bit of a revelation to me that taking a break would be a good thing to do if I felt disheartened or began thinking in non-constructive ways.
But I also found the remedies step less convincing on the acting page. Yeah, I see that setting boundaries, working reasonable amounts, and taking care of myself and my space would be good things to do. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of that. What good is that information supposed to do me? If I were able to take constructive actions all the time merely because I know I should — well, I wouldn’t have anything in the “destructive” sections, would I?
But for the acting page, my remedies may have to wait for the strategy section in the next chapter.
In all, this was fun. I often find these personal introspection exercises tedious, frankly. Especially in business books, where they tend to be overtly dull, as well as just having the intrinsic tedium of thinking about yourself all the time.
But I think that this was useful. It gave me a practical background for making plans. I can see the areas where I’m on top of things, and the areas where I need to do more research and figuring.
The book might be more suited to a graphic artist, but maybe not. I think that doing the visual journal bit caused me to spend more time on the questions than I otherwise might have, and perhaps to see connections among them that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.