Monday, 7 January 2013

The benefit of disagreements in creative ventures.

People get addicted to anger and people get addicted to violence. My Aunt for one is one of the angriest people I know, she just loves a good shout and a rant. She is to any outsider, quite a scary individual to be around, but I have become accustomed to her growls and snarls and am only too aware that there is not likely to be a bite following after it any time soon. Is it a personality trait maybe. Why might she be this way considering generally it creates more negative reactions than it does anything else? I have a theory! (I know I always do). My theory is that it generates something in people, not during the act of anger because that has been scientifically proven to absolutely ruin any clarity of thought, but after it. It's like the calm before the storm, only with anger it comes after the event. There is this overwhelming feeling of stillness that makes you question how or why you got so angry in the first place, but you were sure of it at the time. From every which angle that you looked at it you were perfectly within your rights to be so angry and you were damned well going to express that. Then comes the stillness.

My theory is based in the fact that you spend the majority of your time in life, trying to appease situations and get the best possible set up for the largest number of people. As a result of this, you very rarely react angrily or negatively toward other people, and always look for a way to be nice or at least civil. So now you have gained an extra viewpoint. This allows you to re-frame what you were previously thinking in a way that isn't quite so upsetting for you. You are no longer angry (or at least as angry) and whoever was going to be at the receiving end of your anger has gotten away unscathed. There are always repeat offenders though aren't there. They just love to piss you off no matter how hard you try to get to an easy solution with them, they will find another way to be annoying. So for these people you end up turning the other cheek so many times that you run out of ways to look. You are officially backed into a corner and now that your in the corner the only way to get out of it is to attack! Not ideal really is it? We tend to explode all in one big volcanous eruption in these situation and over react but fear not. There is a light at the end of every tunnel (unless its dark outside).

In this scenario you have been given the gift of multiple perspectives. You are privileged with a kind of a 360 view of whatever it was that made you angry in the first place. You experienced every feeling and thought that you had been side stepping before, all in one hit, and now you see it for what it is clearly. What you are left with is absolutely clarity in where you stand. How many times can you say that in your day to day life you are sure about anything? Most of the time the decisions we make are so intertwined with everyone else's wants and needs that it was out of our hands to begin with. Amongst trying to please everyone, and keep the peace, and keep your job and get things done etc you are usually put in a position where your viewpoint is moveable, malleable even. Your thoughts are organized around a system that is not your own so you say things to yourself like "I would feel like this about it, if it weren't for so and so, and if so and so changes there mind then I guess I should too" etc. It is a perpetual state of being sat on a fence. Not with anger though. Now you have clarity, and you are no longer sitting on the fence! Maybe my Aunt has just figured this out and goes straight in for the fight on this basis, (then again maybe not) but lets just move on with the point.

In the creative industries, designers, advertisers, consumers, and clients, have completely different interests and end goals in mind. So naturally you tend to end up with quite a few conflicting viewpoints. What would happen if we all just said what we thought straight away? Well I had a run in with this very thing the other day. And I will tell you exactly what came of it.

I am primarily a freelance graphic designer and I work on design projects, but aside from that I am a blogger and and a bit of an entrepreneur. I am for all intent and purposes at the very beginning of my entrepreneurial career and therefore am still working out various business relationships as they come to me. The one that I am going to be referencing here is my studio venture. Those of you who have read my news page will know that I am in the middle of setting up a small creative studio based out of London from which to run my freelance projects and other group projects as well. Now this has been in the running for quite a while and there are three people who must be consulted with every decision. Without going into too much detail about what exactly happened (I still have respect for my colleagues despite the disagreement) we have ended up in a position whereby all of our conflicting views about the business have reached boiling point. This has ended in a rather heated exchange over the phone and some harsh words exchanged. I have ranted and raged about it to the people involved, as well as to others who are completely disconnected from the incident and I too have reached the point of the calm. Now that my initial anger has dissipated I am left with only the facts, and I have realized a few things that I have been ignoring, or otherwise side stepping for a very long time. I am now far better informed for it. What I have is an understanding of exactly what it is I want from the whole process, how that is being met, or in this case not met, and what my options are for the future moving forwards. Of course it is not all about me and my needs but the needs of the group and if all three of us are not getting what it is that we need from the process then an alternative conclusion needs to be drawn. Now how is that for clarity! A milestone has been established and a plan must be implemented immediately. I am in a position to negotiate, and one that is not peppered by etiquette and politeness. It is one that is coming from pure honesty and the best interests of all parties involved. Had this argument not have surfaced in the first place, I can only imagine that another six months of tiptoeing around each others sensibilities would have ensued and no further work would have materialized. Or if it did it would not have been to the satisfaction of all parties involved and therefore ultimately a waste of time. So this for me is a prime example of how getting angry about things can actually work in your favor.

I read an article not too long ago (I apologize for not referencing it but it was a long time ago and I cant remember where I found it!) that was suggesting that social media like Twitter, and Facebook make people too agreeable and that people just band together with other folk who will never argue with them ever. For the most part I would say that I have witnessed this to be true from my own observations, not only on Facebook but in life but it is only now that I see in what way this is damaging. At University I was constantly being critiqued and it was a painful process to say the least. To have your backside handed back to you on a plate every time you think you have done good work or something worthy of praise is hard to deal with at first but you get used to it. Something that these lecturers know and understand about the creative industries is that it is full of rejection and you only get new and exciting ideas out of a fight. Being safe gets you nowhere. So my parting advice to you is this! Don't be afraid to disagree with someone if they have something to say that you don't like, and don't by any means be afraid to get angry about it either because your anger is going to help you see the picture for what it is in the long run.

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