Invention and creativity

The humble barb wire fence has come a long way since its inception. On the face of it, there is nothing unusual about its design. The basic premise is two sets of wire rolled together and intertwined, leaving sharp bits exposed. There are obviously inventions that are more complex than that, but perhaps the barb wire fence has an advantage in this because it achieves what it does using very little. And what exactly does it achieve? Well, it keeps out intruders and more importantly demarcates an area of property which is private.

The fence was invented in 1876 by John Gates, who soon earned the nickname “Bet A Million” Gates. He was known not because he was fond of playing the EuroMillions, but because he used to accept wagers on the strength of his fence. He would rustle up Texan longhorns and round them up in the fragile looking fence, and take wagers on whether the animals would be able to break out of the enclosure. The fence went on to breathtaking success. In 1880, a factory in America turned out 32 miles of barbed wire. Six years later, the figure had risen astronomically to 263,000 miles of wire!

John Gates’ moments of inspiration, he would claim, often came when he was not focussed on hard data and clinical tasks, but when his mind was operating at an optimal “hum” – engaged but relaxed at the same time, but beneath the level of consciousness. It is the same as musicians such as piano players – they must manage the scientific data of reading music and deciding what to play, while managing the emotional fine tuning through what they hear. The Piano Teachers N4 website claims that learning the piano will develop the multi-tasking skills and sometimes frees your mind for creative solutions to things you might not have though of. Why not give it a try?

Seeking control? Try a musical instrument

As human beings, one of our basic personality traits must be certain to be control. How is this so? It can be observed on many levels. We try to control our physical circumstances. We decorate our homes in a way we like and to project a certain image. For example, if you want your home to reflect glamour, you fill it with objects that are perceived to be exclusive and expensive. If you wish for your home to reflect your minimalist lifestyle, then you would reflect this in the design of your physical surroundings as well. The control also extends to other fields such as social relationships. We surround ourselves with people who have similar interests and with whom we can talk to, otherwise it would be hard work to find common ground.

But we can only control a finite number of this around us. It is impossible to regulate everything to suit our liking. What if you are applying for a job? You don’t have control over the work circumstances. You cannot choose who you work with. You may have control over the hours you work (or not) but if you are starting out on a junior level you may find many things you can’t control!

We can deflect from the lack of control in various parts of our life by seeking to establish control in others. For example, if you are dismayed by how the lack of control you experience in your work environment, establish one outside where you are in control. Start by learning the piano or a similar instrument. Balance the lack of control you have at work with the mastery of your instrument. Many people already do this – it is no wonder that people who have routine jobs go home where they are Lionel Messi on the Xbox and PlayStation, or masters of their own social media pages.