I like to think about stuff. My problem is that some of the hardest stuff to think about is trying to decide what stuff to think about in the first place. I guess that’s not unusual – one percent inspiration and all that…
But once I do get those first seeds, I love to make them grow into something beautiful and delicious. Actually, that’s an ironic analogy because I’m really a bit shit with plants as a rule. Nevertheless, I’m going to take this seed/plant thing and run with it.
For me, going to UX Cambridge is like buying a random collection of all-season value-pack seeds – and then sowing them all at once, across the same patch of ground.
The result is an explosion of thoughts all developing at different speeds, some inevitably not getting the love they seek, and others growing strong with seemingly little effort.
It makes my head hurt. I can’t sleep – the myriad thoughts buzzing around in my mind simply won’t let me detach – their tendrils inextricably intertwined.
For a while the fastest growing seedlings appear to be the winners. But the flowers finally show off their pretty petals and are gone, the vegetables bear their goods and wither. Then, from the undergrowth, slowly growing stems and determined little branches rise up and you realise these are the fruit trees – the trees that will bear fruit, not just once, but again and again. These are the ones that need nurturing.
So much wisdom, so much knowledge, so many insights, so many ideas are shared at UX Cambridge – by speakers and attendees alike. It’s hard to know at the time which are the flowers, the vegetables, and the fruits. The descriptions and answers don’t come on the back of a packet, they are only realised with time – and by what we do in that time.
These seeds – thrown by our peers, our teachers – we can take them, grow them, nurture them and shape them to form the opportunities that are our own destiny.
If we do nothing, those artifacts that are notes and sketches and slideshares might just become the pretty flowers that briefly appear, never to see the light of day again.
If we work a little, passing on the knowledge to our colleagues and implementing a few ideas for our clients, we might enjoy the richness and one time goodness of the vegetables.
But the fruit trees! Those are the true givers. The fruit trees become locked in to our own destiny. It’s the people at UX Cambridge that provide those seeds that make me think about my own destiny.
So I take a moment, think not about what I saw and heard, but what I felt, what moved me and what it really meant to me. I think about why, and why again. I think about my values, my fate. I do what I love. I love what I do. But can I do it better?
It’s never too late to change your destiny. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.”
We hope it. We know it.