I’ve always looked at the world in a fixed quantitative way and thought it would always be that way for me. Growing up I was pretty good at math but not so great at reading and writing – you know, the artistic endeavors. That fixed way of thinking led me to believe I could only be a math guy and not a writer guy and because of that belief, I was destined to never express myself in any way that could be perceived as artistic.
I should probably let everyone know I graduated from college with a degree in accounting – so that makes sense.
I remember back to when I was in Mrs. Miller’s first grade class, and she gave us a very simple assignment. It wasn’t “1+1″ or “2+2” which I would have known right away. The task was to color a parrot. Simple right? I thought so too.
I began to color like I always had, trying my damnedest to stay inside the lines which I was awesome at. I picked up the red crayon and started at the top with the parrot’s head. I switched colors as I moved down the parrot’s body. I picked yellow next then green, and my final color was blue. After finishing I looked down and said – Nailed it. (I’m not really sure if I said that, but 2017 me would like to think I did).
Did I mention I was the first to finish out of the whole class? Being the first to finish was an obsession of min, but that’s another story for another day.
After I finished coloring my parrot, I stood up and marched up to Mrs. Miller’s desk. I handed it to her and waited anxiously for her approval.
To this day I can still see the look of confusion on her face as she looked at my parrot. I could tell she was searching for the words and after what felt like an eternity, she pointed at the page and said “This is the worst parrot I’ve ever seen. Parrots don’t look like that.” I was crushed, absolutely crushed – maybe that’s why I still remember this experience in so much detail even as an adult.
I also forgot to mention Mrs. Miller, as I remember her, was kind of a hard ass.
Apparently birds aren’t striped red, yellow, green and blue. I drew perfect parallel lines across that bird and colored each one in as carefully as I could. I thought it was perfect. To this day, I still think it’s a pretty good way to color a parrot.
This was one of the first times I knew that I wasn’t artistic. That fixed way of thinking continued to be reinforced through similar experiences as I grew up. They occurred in art and creative writing classes throughout school until I had completely given up hope. I was destined to only be a math guy.
Throughout my professional years, I found that having that mindset is great as an accountant. However, I now need to push my boundaries and start to be more creative, and I think writing is a great way to start.
In order to cultivate this creative side of myself, I have decided to publish one article every other Thursday for the next twelve weeks as an experiment to see if writing can be a creative outlet for me. At the very least it will help me become a better writer and it will challenge me to think more deeply about what I think and believe.
During this experiment, I hope to see that I’m not only that math guy and that creativity is something that can be learned. Along the way I’m excited to learn, share my thoughts, and hopefully resonate with a few people out there.
What I write and why I write:
- Become Better at Writing – How does anyone get better at writing? The consensus answer on the internet is – by writing. Writing has always been fixed in my mind as something that I’m not good at. So now, I write. This hopefully will help me to become a better communicator.
- Investment Industry – It’s the industry I work in, and since this is LinkedIn I think it would probably be a good topic to hit. I also find it interesting and hopefully a lot of you feel the same way.
- How I consume knowledge and how I learn – I just recently took the second part of the CFA exam and have come up with a better way to study, for me. I’m currently trying to use similar tactics when I read books or articles to really help them stick and plan to share some of them with you.
- Clarify my own thoughts – For me, thoughts can be fleeting or difficult to understand at the surface level. I want to dive into those thoughts to better understand why I think the way I do.
- Pose questions that I would like answers to – This is a big one. I come up questions all the time and surprisingly, I don’t have all the answers. I think that by posing a question, writing about that question, and subsequently getting other people’s feedback might be what I’m most excited about during this experiment.
- How my personal life has affected my work and vice versa – I feel like many people try to compartmentalize their work life and their home life. I don’t understand why people that enjoy their work and the people they work with need to do this. Isn’t work part of your life? I believe that your work life affects your home life and vice versa. I think this topic deserves some extra thought and recognition.
- Practices I have introduced into my life – What has worked and what hasn’t – Over the last several years, there have been practices and habits I introduced into my life that have helped me to become more productive, more efficient, happier, and generally just a better person. If I can share a habit or practice that can help one person it will be worth it and as an ancillary benefit I get to dig deeper into my own habits and practices.
- My journey to become a better leader – It seems to me most leadership articles and books are written by experienced leaders. My perspective is coming from a very different place. I’m not a natural born leader and have had to work hard to gain the few skills I have.
- Really any random opinions I may have – Books, papers, articles, news, politics, sports, podcasts, pop culture etc.
For anyone that feels that they similarly don’t think they are inherently creative, give something like this a try. Commit to doing anything creative for a period of time and then just do it. If you don’t like it you can stop after the trial period ends.
If after my twelve weeks is up and I decide that writing isn’t the creative outlet for me, I’ll stop but I’ll have gained some skills along the way. I’ll most likely have become, at least marginally, a better writer, hopefully a better thinker, and communicator. This way I come out on the other side with something gained and nothing lost.
Considering this is the first post I’ve ever published it may end up like that parrot so many years ago – only aesthetically pleasing to me. I hope you got something out of this, and if you did please feel free to let me know. If you hated it you can let me know that as well.