By Anam Kibria
Birds on the beach
A big part of the creative process is mindfulness and understanding how to use your brain efficiently. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with meditation and SCA encourages its students to meditate regularly.
But meditation doesn’t come easily to all. Some geniuses from Toronto invented a brain-sensing headband called Muse that gamifies relaxing. How Muse works is you place Muse across your forehead and plug your headphones in. Tiny sensors on the headband track your brainwaves and can detect any time that you have a thought. When you start your session, you begin to hear waves of the ocean. If you are relaxed and your brain is calm, you can hear the waves go gentler and gentler and eventually you begin to hear birds singing. Adversely, if your brain is active, you can hear waves crashing and thunderstorms. The aim of the game is to get as many birds to land on the beach as you can.
Marc has very kindly equipped the studio with one for us to use whenever we have a few minutes to ourselves, to refresh our minds and regain focus. I tried it myself for the first time last week. All I could hear for those five minutes was thunderstorms and waves crashing that increased in intensity the more I tried to focus. It was very frustrating and I certainly did not leave the session feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
The thing is, the greatest part of being at SCA isn’t the prestige of being chosen to attend the world’s top ad school. It isn’t having living legends as mentors and the chance to pick their brains. It isn’t even the multitude of briefs and opportunities that barrage us on a daily basis.
The greatest part of being at SCA is the environment that is specially created to allow us to make mistakes in a safe place. I’ve come to realise that the greatest learning doesn’t come from the lessons taught and masterclasses we listen to, but rather the mistakes we make. As Rick Pitino said, “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching, I’ve learned from making mistakes.”
But mistakes alone can’t teach you anything. You need to have the wisdom to understand what went wrong, how to correct it and then the patience to work towards bettering yourself.
I made the mistake of following the herd and thus I learnt the importance of following your gut. When you feel deep down that an idea is a winner or one that is bound to flop, have the courage to stick with your gut. Question ideas and explore other possibilities. It will always be rewarding.
I made the mistake of jumping straight to execution and thus I learnt the value of research. An idea will always be shallow without research to give it depth and a strong foundation.
When meditating, I made the mistake of doing it for winning. The point of it was to relax and to focus your brain. It took me a week to realise this. Today, 44 birds landed on my beach.
The biggest mistake that I have been making so far is that I have been playing it incredibly safe. I am going to go out there, get my hands dirty, try new things and always choose the risky options. Because I know now the more I do this, more birds will land on my beach.