Two weeks have flown by in the New Year already and the resolutions made are floating in the air like a kite. Towards the end of the year, in some parts of the country, people start thinking about the kite festival, and some start training or playing with it a couple of weeks prior to the festival, similar to the resolutions before the new year. As the festival approaches there are increasing patches of the sky with colorful kites. On the day of Makar Sankranti, the festival of kites, the sky is filled. A day or two later, some fervor to learn better kite flying still stays in the air. After a couple of weeks of the festival, the crowd of kites disperses in the air. The conversations for new year’s resolutions have the same curve, start building up before the end of the year, peak in the first week, and then slide down like the other end of a bell.
Welcome to Twenty Twenty-Three. It is mid-month, and all lists of reflections for 2022 have stopped showing up on our timelines. Like kites in the air, resolutions are around for some more time. But before we come to the status of our 2023 resolutions, it is time to pause and reflect on the past year with a new frame to let thinking churn. I will tell you how. From the past year into this new year, I am carrying four things with me. I called these Mix Media Work. No, no, they are not any form of art. These are just thoughts that I decide to keep around.
1. Self-reflection: Being in Awe is a habit that nurtures creative thinking
We were on the lake in Kashmir. I was soaking in the morning beauty. It was a cold morning with us tucked inside a bright pink and orange blanket on the shikhara, the boat. Occasionally, I took pictures, sometimes with a Canon camera and sometimes with an iPhone. On a quiet Dal lake morning, the lady was on her regular commute. It was a peaceful, dark morning with the golden light of the rising sun. As I picked up the phone, our boat turned in another direction and suddenly we were at the right angle to shoot. I paused for maybe two seconds, she lifted her oar, and I clicked. The poise of her silhouette against the rising sun, calm, serene, action about daily life, and the charming lake with silky, greyish-black water. I have carried two feelings with me: the pause before the click and the immense joy to see the beauty of the capture. Moments are fleeting but feelings stay. The state of being in awe stimulates creative thinking, proven by science.
2. Self-reflection: Words carry personalities
In April last year, I wrote a series of workshops titled – Intellectual Wellness. One of the workshops in the series is called Voices in Our Head. The same month, I was working on a different project – curating content for a large advertising and media industry event, Goafest. My role was to define the theme for the three-day festival, give a common thread as a takeaway for attendees, and curate Speakers’ talk.
Voices in Our Head emphasizes one or two words or a short sentence that lingers in our mind. The content curation was to emphasize the years of experience and bring out one or two or a few elements from the lives of these eminent speakers like Kapil Dev, PV Sindhu, Mithali Raj etc…to leave the essence with the crowd. The briefing works as a sieve, to take out nuggets from their life that will relate to the ambiance, leaving them inspired. What you speak, may become the voice in someone’s head. Every word we hold is important, make sure it is not a negative word for you.
Words carry personalities. They become the voice in the head. Choose the one that shapes up and not shapes down.
3. Self-reflection: Global perspectives expand horizons
The third media is a collage of images from the world news. Two grown-up men, Federer and Nadal, sitting on a bench in pain, joy, love, and respect; a comedian has grown into a country President refusing to flee to safety; and a slow, week after week, ban on education, parks, and open spaces for girls and women in Taliban. A mix of emotions from joy, respect, and reverence to hatred. Events around us get bookmarked in our minds. Consciously and subconsciously they shape our thoughts, decisions, and behavior.
Global perspectives are an understanding that helps in expanding the thinking horizon. It may or may not be related to work or technology. Like the three events mentioned above, they are related to human behaviour. Global events help us empathise, inspire, tune in to problem solving, and therefore think at a different level.
4. Self-reflection: Relationship with Social Media
My fourth reflection of the past year is about my relationship with social media. Why social media? Firstly, it is a necessity to remain active on social media, and secondly, it has a huge impact, both consciously and subconsciously on our behavior.
In design and craft, there is immense importance given to the negative space, the space that is a part of the design but not prominent. Sometimes it conveys a message, sometimes it is used to make the entire visual more prominent, like the arrow in FEDEX logo. To read more, refer here.
The negative space is the subtraction of the prominent visual. That is my relationship with social media. To be seen as the subtract, not as in your face, but as subtle, limited presence. My work is and will be like that. Not too many videos on social media, no drama on insta reels, some occasional posts publishing the work from time to time, a lot of workshops, a lot of one-on-ones, and a variety of writing. It is not how many reels I post to increase the reach, it is about how meaningful the post is for the few in my network.
In the real world, I am an influencer- to influence and bring attention to your thoughts, influence to help you make your work, and life better. In the social media world, I live in a negative space, I am seen less. Though I do spend a significant amount of time, my relationship with social media is different. I curate my timelines from time to time to seek information, ideas, and ingenuity.
How we behave has a social impact, the impact may or may not be on social media. Keep an eye on your behavior with social media, it has a direct impact on your behavior, your thinking, and obviously your productivity and work.
This year, as we move into flying resolutions, spend this week reflecting on your past year. Hunt your visual memory- is there any picture, a flower, the sky, nature, or parents that brought you awe? Think about global events that have lingered. Spend a day giving a name to your relationship with social media. Reflecting about thinking, about your reactions to the events leads you to meta-thinking.
Think of bigger events, not in the size of bigness, but the size of its impact on you. Your memories of 2022 will bring back seat belt behavior, news of people around us dying of sudden illness, ill behavior in the aircraft, etc. Negative information has a momentary impact but doesn’t stay longer. In a crowd of reflecting memories, if you have to choose, choose the one that is bright, warm, and stark like the Pantone color of the year- Viva Magenta, Rani Pink. It stands out in the crowd of stories and past events.
The habit of a forward-thinking mindset is also to reflect on the thoughts that occupy your attention. Holding thoughts about events that had a positive impact like inspirational behaviors from real life shape our thinking and behavior.