8. Action (Creative Qualities)

January 21, 2020

Thinking vs. Doing.

Thinking is reflecting on what tasks should be carried out.

Doing is carrying out a task.

Would you agree that we are generally only capable of using our “thinking system” and our “doing system” one at a time? Which one do you gravitate towards? Are you a Thinker or a Doer or a happy combination of the two?

Personally, I get very excited about ideas. I sometimes find it hard to switch off from thinking … even when I’m sleeping, I dream a lot! The balance of thinking vs. doing is really important to me because as much as I want to be Mr Creative, my ideas are not worth much if I don’t carry them out.

“… It’s what I DO that defines me.” Batman

The big moment in every story is when the hero decides to take action, whether that’s to fight the monster, find their soul mate, or rescue their friends. It is the point when the audience truly becomes invested in the character. If Batman toyed with the idea of becoming a vigilante but never actually put on the cape and stepped out of his bat cave, would we feel the same way about him?

I am all for strategy but even the best plans are useless if they are not implemented.

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall

The in-joke about this quote is my dad is called Peter Marshall. I am not giving him any credit for this line though, sorry dad, it’s a different Peter Marshall. The quote none-the-less is an important one. How many people talk of doing great deeds but never actually do them?

Not all of us our meant to win a Nobel Prize, an Oscar or a Pulitzer but that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to sitting on the sofa and watching TV re-runs all day. Inaction can breed doubt and fear whereas action can breed confidence and courage. Producing results in particular builds positive momentum.

“You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation.

This quote is attributed to Plato and it is one that has helped me take action.

When I invite work experience students into the office, we have a brief chat and then jump straight into an activity. For example, if they have an interest in editing, I will set them an edit challenge. That means by the end of the day, we have something real to discuss and I can give them my feedback, they can share their approach and I know whether we work well together.

When ideas pop up during conversations in the office, I encourage the team to write them down on post-it notes, otherwise everyone forgets. Over the course of a month, we can generate dozens of ideas. That means we don’t have to put too much pressure on thinking time and forcing eureka moments. Instead, we can pick our favourite ideas and move into the production stage quite seamlessly.

“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” – John F Kennedy

If I had known when I started my company that it would still be successfully running more than 8 years later, I think I would have done things differently. I might have looked at taking a big loan out in the first week and investing in resources sooner but hey – that’s the choice I made with my fellow co-directors. Sometimes you just don’t know and you play things safe and reduce the risks.

But then I look at the choices I did make … like starting a company when I was 21. I’ve done a lot of things in 9 years and I’m glad I didn’t just think about them and put those ideas away in a drawer.

Every day is like the start of a movie scene. It begins with, “Action!”

What happens next is up to us.

Thanks for reading! This concludes my 8-part Creative Qualities discussion but there is still plenty more to explore and discuss.

If you are looking to nurture creativity in your organisation, I encourage you to reach out and take action. I support companies by guiding them on their video marketing journey. It’s not about popping off a quick video now and then, it’s about communicating real value to your audience. A little creativity can go a long way to helping you achieve that.

Email me at tom@captivenorth.co.uk or go to www.captivenorth.co.uk

Tom Marshall
Creative Director, Captive North
tom@captivenorth.co.uk