The Highline, New York City, New York

I often feel uncomfortable making decisions or providing guidance to my clients unless I’ve had time to think. When I’m rushed I feel stressed. Sometimes all I need is a few hours. Sometimes days. Other time weeks.

Thinking time is non-linear. The time you spend thinking – walking around a problem in a three-dimensional way and exploring all of the various perspectives and mental models – pays you back tenfold in the end. The problem for those who are shortsighted is that this time will appear as a negative for a while because it looks like nothing is getting done. This situation is a great example of what I call first-order negative, second-order positive.

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Image CC0 by Joshua Earle
Image CC0 by Joshua Earle

I miss being a kid, I miss not having a phone to stare at when I went to bed and instead just going to sleep. I miss walking down the street and stopping to talk to people along the way (something that’s been replaced by so many people constantly staring down at their devices), to going to places and just enjoying them for what they are, to going for a coffee with a friend and just sitting in their company, talking, laughing, without reaching for phones or devices. How did we get to a point where we do something like that and end up taking self-terminating pictures instead of just talking and laughing?Jerry Lane

I hear ya, Jerry. I hear ya.

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For the purpose of this exercise lets say there are two types of creators which will follow later with the two types of cognitive functions involved in each: Replication Creators (RC) and Skilled Creators (SC).

If you Google something, go to a conference, or read a book and then create something from the inspiration that comes; it is replication creation (RC). Simply: I learned this from so that I could go and perform . You may have often heard the term “key-takeaways” when at a conference. What it really means is “What pieces can I use on Monday?”.

This is my current work mode. I’m in information security or better out information technology risk management. I spend most of my day thinking up ways to use technology and process to reduce information technology business risk. I think it’s mostly a non-creative endeavor.

Skilled creation on the other hand is using the space between your ears like a muscle and producing something new with it without the help of someone else. It doesn’t necessarily need to be groundbreaking but the key difference is that you used your brain and came up with a solution. A secondary action would bee to show what you built to the world (for their consumption) but its not necessary for the purpose of this argument.How the Internet, Dopamine and your Brain are Working Together to Screw Your Potential

This was my normal operating mode when I was a web developer. Most of my time was spent exercising my skills to develop creative ( and sometimes innovative ) solutions to my employer or client’s business problems. I miss it.

I’m 48 this year. I feel that for me the web development ship has sailed. But I yearn for more creativity in my day to day work. How do I get there? I’ll have to do the hard work of finding more creative solutions for my clients. Less research and more deep thinking. It’s more risky. But it may ultimate provide more reward.