By Phillip Laskaris
Imagine being a lifeguard and you saw a child nearly drown. You grabbed his flailing arm and were able to pull him out of the water easy enough. Now he’s back in the water playing in the shallow end, but you’re focused on this child. You’re just watching this kid while all the others run amok. Jaws Five could be taking place 100 feet to your right, but you don’t notice because you’re laser focused on this one kid. Welcome to tunnel vision.
Now imagine you’re a future SCA student, you’re applying for a scholarship and you just came up with a great idea for the competition. It was your first idea and it’s perfect in every way. You’re a creative, you could think of other ideas, but why? You’ve got THE idea, already. The plot for Jaws Five could be one or two ideas away, but you don’t even bother brainstorming because you’re laser focused on this one idea. Welcome to tunnel vision.
Getting ready for the Hometown Hero competition I feel into this trap. I thought of one idea and that was it, I was done. I didn’t bother looking down possible routes or even improving on the current idea. I had it and I ran with it. Then, while on a trip 3000 miles away from my hometown, I got a concussion, a few facial fractures, and some internal bleeding in my skull causing minor brain damage. I was in the hospital for a bit and was told I couldn’t fly for at least a month.
This was hit, both literally and metaphorically. For my Hometown Hero idea to work, I needed to be in my hometown and now I’m stuck 3000 miles away in a place I’ve never been and know just one person. I had to come up with another idea, I had to adapt, but it was difficult. Every time I started brainstorming my mind would take me back to the original idea, trying to figure out how to make it work. I was a lifeguard trying to scan the beach, but always checking in on that one child, making sure he was alright and neglecting the others. There was probably another kid drowning, arms flailing, gasping for air as water filled his lungs, wishing more than anything she had listened to her mother and put on those stupid arm floaters. I don’t mean to get graphic about a child drowning, but you get the point.
Eventually I broke out of the tunnel, I found another idea that I ended up liking a lot more, but why did it take the risk of a brain aneurism for me to think of something else. I’m a creative, my job is ideaS, plural. Unless my one idea is sliced bread, I need to come up with dozens if not hundreds of ideas for one assignment. I’m hoping that in my time at SCA I can learn how to let go of an idea as easy as I can think one up. And if I learn that, maybe I’ll revive my dreams of being on Baywatch, too.