One of my favourite movies is “Amadeus.”
It’s all about the 18th Century’s musical weirdo, Mozart.
It perfectly captures the torment and frustration of creativity. The agony of wanting a breakthrough, while struggling to get it. The difficult balancing act between focus and relaxation – where your creativity emerges and you tap into “the voice of God.”
In Amadeus, Mozart played billiards. He’d bounce a billiard ball off the table’s opposite cushion, then write a note. Then he’d bounce the ball again and write another note.
The billiard ball acted as a point-of-focus.
It drew Mozart’s conscious mind away from the struggle of composing – allowing his subconscious genius to emerge.
Your Passion Project is the “billiard ball” which unlocks your creativity.
It gives your conscious mind another point-of-focus.
A couple of years ago, I was knee-deep in hobbies and extra-curricular activities. I played classical guitar, went boxing, swimming, and even wrote a novel.
All this, while doing my regular work which paid the bills.
Then I decided to ‘get serious’ – and what a mistake that was.
I mistakenly believed that sacrifice would help me achieve my goals faster. That giving up my passions would give me the time and energy to take my career to the next level.
Instead the opposite happened.
My productivity slumped.
My energy abandoned me.
My joy for life was sapped away.
What used to be small obstacles at work now seemed insurmountable.
Because there was no time for my subconscious mind to play with these problems. I had nothing else to focus on. This made it harder to tap into my problem-solving creativity. The problems got worse. My obsession with them grew deeper.
And so the vicious cycle continued.
Without your passion projects, you’re often less resilient too.
It’s probably a bad analogy, but the principles behind the Titanic were sound.
The Titanic was supposedly unsinkable because its hull was divided into compartments. If one compartment flooded, the others kept the ship afloat.
It’s actually a good idea.
Your passion projects do the same for you.
If work went badly today, “Oh well.”
You have your hobbies, family, travel, and ambitions.
You have other things to fall back on.
Simply living with this sense of relaxation helps you tap into your creative well.
You can then apply this to your work, and your problems disappear.