I have spoken previously that my creativity is fuelled by three methods: Memory, obsession and failure. We have covered failure and memory and now its time to tackle a difficult one, obsession.
You often hear about the power of obsession and how it can drive us to achieve great things, how focusing on one thing and going all in can help you stay focused and get results. But we seldom talk about its dark side and the havoc it can wreak on our lives. As creative individuals, we walk a fine line between harnessing our obsessions to fuel our creativity and letting them consume us entirely.
I would like to talk about both, as I have danced with both sides of the coin, I feel I can praise and warn about the use of this method.
As a chef I walked a fine line of using this in a healthy and un-healthy way. An idea, a vision, or even the lack of an idea and vision would lead me into obsessing over creating something. Often an idea would get locked in mind and the rest of the world would stop, for a moment in time life would freeze until I could find the key to fully unlock the idea and make it come to life. As a chef, I needed everything to be perfect, to make sense with a story and taste to match.
This could sometimes mean being locked in my thoughts for months and in some cases obsessing over an idea of concept for years. Although the results would almost always be my best and most popular dishes, the pain to get them on a menu would take its toll. I have always struggled to switch my mind of and seperate my creative being from life as father, son and husband, and I struggled because I thought thats what I had to do or needed to do.
After stepping back and learning and understanding how my mind works, accepting how creativity or the lack of creativity affects my life I have been able to use this technique as a very positive tool and a strength.
Obsessing can be your biggest strength or your worst nightmare, here is how I use it as a strength,
I had an idea to create a vase that felt traditional but with soft curves that reminded me of the body. I knew when I started that the form was perhaps out of my depth so I accepted my limitations and made a deal to allow myself 4 sessions on the wheel to have confirmation on the idea. I set boundaries on when I would work on the idea and when I would let it go, I would txt my self notes and read them during time I had set aside to work on this idea. I know ideas or solutions come to me at random times and I don't want to ever switch those off so now I capture them and then park it for later. It is important to set boundaries but also important to know when to jump the fence
This process actually forced me to focus more and not just dream, not get lost in my imagination. Instead of being lost, I used it to make my idea come to life and let go of the imperfections I would often obsess over. During the making of this vase, I pushed my limits a little too far and the top of the vase collapsed. I let go, I embraced my mistake and this vase is now called The Pillow Vase, a form that has become our signature piece.
So unleash your obsession, fearlessly pursue your goals and never give up. But also, be wise enough to recognise when it's time to pivot and embrace the imperfections that come with the journey. Let the course of your path evolve and adapt, for greatness awaits those who navigate with both determination and flexibility.