I think that for me one of the most important habits we’ve talked about this semester for me was child eye and hyper observation. In a lot of respects, I never quite realized how much of my time I spent in my own head never really taking the time or chance to look around. I always thought that I was good at being observant and noticing things, but it wasn’t until I really stopped and actually tried to be observant that I realized how much I was missing. When I started to try to be more aware and observant in my life, I started to realize just how much I was missing that could be beneficial, not just as a MIDE major, but as a WMST minor and as a person in general. The skills and habits that I started working on in terms of child’s eye and hyper observation became super important in terms of the other humanities focused classes I was taking this semester and really helped me to understand those classes in ways I otherwise would have missed.
I think one thing that I learned about myself that I deem as the most important is connected to the idea of failing forward. I’ve never really noticed before the role of failure plays in my life and the ways in which I deal and interact with it. I’ve never been particularly effected by failure, my parents always joked that I was like Rafiki from The Lion King “What does it matter? It was in the past!” I always just brushed it off and moved on, and while that, in my opinion, is a good thing I don’t think it’s always all that helpful. I never really took the time to reflect on what failing meant or how to actually use the failure to my benefit – it was over, nothing I could do about it now, and I moved on. No matter what that failure was, a test, a paper, an audition, etc. Sometimes I would stop and think and try to do things differently the next time, but only for things that I felt were important, not for ALL things. I do still think that there are some failures that just need to be moved past, but I also think that I need to start actually thinking about and utilizing my failures to my benefit a lot more than I have in the past.
I think the habit that comes more naturally to me is the idea of embracing ambiguity. Which is kind of weird, especially when I think about my relationship to some of the other skills we’ve learned and talked about – in a way it’s almost contradictory. But I’ve never been bothered by not knowing what’s gonna happen, be it waiting for an audition announcement, college acceptance letter, internship offers, etc. I’ve always lived my life by a saying my parents used to use “Why curse the darkness when you can light a candle?” I feel like ambiguity never bothers me because I figure that no matter what, I can make the best of any situation I’m in. Waiting for college acceptance never bothered me because no matter where I went, whether it was my top choice or my last choice, I could and would be happy there. If I don’t make an audition or tryouts for something I wanted to do, I think about what else I can be doing instead. Ambiguity to me isn’t about not knowing what’s gonna happen, but rather knowing that something is going to happen and that no matter what it is, it can be great – sometimes it just takes a bit more effort than others.
I think that the habit I struggle with the most is creative confidence. I’ve never necessarily thought of myself as a particularly “creative” person before. I’ve always been most comfortable working in terms of abstractions and complex thoughts, but never really in the realm of “new” or “creative” ideas – especially not when it comes to the creation of physical objects, creations, or ideas. Over the course of the semester I think that one thing I’ve struggled with is trying to break out of simply working in abstract thoughts and actually trying to get into the physical world a bit more – and it has not been easy. The brainstorming activity and the concept creation done in the second half of the semester were particularly difficult for me since the idea of a “Velcro pants” idea doesn’t come naturally to me, I really have to work and push myself in ways that I’m not used to doing to get to some of those ideas. As I continue on in the MIDE major, I really want to try to get to a point where it does come more naturally to me, and that’s gonna take a great deal of work.
One way I was think that I could maybe practice some of this creative confidence would be to try to do it more often. Just trying to push myself out of my comfort zones and do things that really force me to stick with my ideas and my thoughts without second guessing whether what I’m doing is “good” or “creative” enough. I’ve been thinking about trying to write for years now, but every time I try, I never actually do because, for whatever reason, I’ve managed to convince myself that I can’t write so why bother doing something I’m not good at? This is a habit that I really want to break and work on changing. Rather than asking “why” I want to switch to a question of “why NOT”. Just focus more on being comfortable in allowing myself to be more creative and to be bad at things without consistently feeling like I’m wasting my time. Beyond writing, I want to try doing other small things, maybe drawing or painting, maybe just exploring with what I like or don’t like, but doing more of the sorts of things that I’ve stopped doing over the years because I was “bad” at it.
I think that, at least for me, a really important part of building an innovative character is acceptance and open-mindedness. These two qualities are ones that I think are important to a lot of the different characteristics pointed out above but are never necessarily explicitly said. It’s not easy to accept that you’re bad at something or that you need help with something, but I don’t believe that you can build an innovative character on your own – it takes teamwork and it takes support. And that can be really hard for some people, myself included. I much prefer to do things on my own and rarely have to interact with others, which isn’t really possible, and in a lot of ways isn’t all that helpful. Building an innovative character is about being open to possibility and being willing to embrace change and help from those around you, and I definitely think that it isn’t something that happens overnight. Before this class, I never really thought about a lot of these ideas and concepts in terms of myself and my everyday life, and getting to a point where they become second nature isn’t going to be easy, but it’s something I look forward to learning about and incorporating into myself.