I had lunch today with my former colleague and now friend Jeff Krum. Jeff is one of those guys who is always excited about some aspect of creativity and teaching. He regularly checks out Life hacker and other good places to get ideas on the Internet. If Santa Claus were Jeff, he'd be considerably thinner, but his bag of gifting ideas would be even bigger.
We went to a Mexican place. After I tucked into my delicious almond/mole glazed chicken tortilla, which strangely looked like a sweet French pastry but was utterly subtle and not sweet (and I must bring my brother Anders there when he next comes East, we are both people who are delighted by almost anything almond and chocolate) and I ate enough to return to the world of talking...
Jeff asked me how freelancing was going. I told him I was still in the say yes to everything phase and it was seeming like I should turn down a job or two when they bore signs of inducing strife or insanity, or worse, weeks of utter dullness.
Jeff then asked if I had a sheet of paper. I did. He took my pencil and quickly sketched a nifty diagram that he'd seen by Bud Caddell "how to be happy in business--venn diagram." Here it is:
To take it further, if I get paid only for what I do well, I risk getting bored unless I keep learning what I want to do (passions). This diagram is so useful. I understand it has gone viral across cyberspace. So yes, I will continue in my quest to draw better, design better, write better and make all the things I do play nice with each other...and earn me a living.
Jeff was a teacher before he became an ESL editor and publishing manager. He once told me one of his favorite aspects of working with authors was the phase before the book was even written, when they could take a walk and talk about the concepts, how the ideas could be used, could be expressed... He is clearly an idea junkie.
I think generating ideas and synthesizing concepts must also be one of the intelligences that come in a bell curve. Jeff would be at the far end, where ideas are as plentiful as several bags of jelly beans filling a big bowl. And then there are the people who can entertain only one concept at a time. You know, the ones that tell you the only way to get to heaven and avoid freelancing in hell is through playing simon says with their prophet. These are people whose jelly bean bowl has only one stale bean.
Thank goodness for friends with lively minds!