Between art and logic.

(Originally posted on 3.31.2013 on

For a long time the only characteristic I identified with myself was that of creative. Making things up was all I had, and all I wanted. For the past couple years I’ve worked on adding one more characteristic to this list. Effective.

At some point I realized the only way to accomplish my many lofty goals would be to gradually develop an extremely strong work ethic, something I ironically was never motivated to develop until AFTER I was long done with school. So over the past 2-3 years, I’ve jumped head first into productivity books, self-tracking, life-hacking concepts, etc. The latest obsession this road has led me to is cognitive behavior and rational thought whenever possible. It’s been the best medicine for stress I’ve come across, but it’s had one downside for me. That characteristic I claimed was me at my core, creativity, has felt a bit squashed.

Now this is certainly not a black and white thing, and honestly I still feel like I’m being more creative than the average person on a daily basis, but I definitely feel a change. For example, lyrics for songwriting use to flow much easier than they have since implementing the practices of rational thought on myself. My guess is, that a lot of songwriting for me used to be stress-relief in itself, a time to say what I needed to say and get things out. Now, practicing rational thinking patterns (X just happened. How does that make me feel? What do I THINK about what happened and how it made me feel? Now react based on the thought more than the feeling) is honestly relieving a lot of that release I used to need from songwriting. And it’s happening while it’s still in my head! This is good news for my mental health, but conflicting news for my creative core.

Since implementing these concepts is still so new, I think it’s safe to assume why the needle is pushed more to one side now. I’ve been looking for examples of people who clearly have a good grasp of finding the middle ground and there are definitely some great ones. Regardless of what you think of her, someone like Meryl Streep comes to mind. If you look at her filmography, she has the creative and technical chops to do amazing things in her art. But then if you watch her on something like Inside the Actor’s Studio and hear her speak extremely logically, you can tell that she’s not one of those crazy, irrational artists. She’s a completely rational, in-control of her life woman, who can flip the switch to the artistic side WHEN SHE WANTS TO.

Flipping that switch is the skill I’d really like to cultivate. Having both creativity and rationality being sharp tools for me to choose from in being effective would be ideal.

Mostly written in France, and finished on a flight from West Palm Beach, FL to New York. After a great trip to France I went to FL for Passover with my family. After a couple weeks out of my element I’m excited to get back to my routine in Brooklyn.

Above picture is myself hiking up a Calanque in Cassis, France.

Marc Plotkin