Knowing is Doing – How to Get A Good Idea

Knowing is Doing – How to Get A Good Idea

Because we are conscious beings we tend to think we chose what we do that we deem important, such as, I am out of half and half so I will put my body in my car and drive to Trader Joes. Yay me! But if my heart isn’t pumping blood the whole time, I will crash and never have another delicious cup of creamy coffee. I get credit for telling myself to haul ass to the grocery store but not for the more foundational decision to pump blood to the big ego organ in my skull.

Let me make a metaphorical comparison between the idea above and making art. We might think the genesis of art is in our heads. It might appear that way, especially if a beautiful idea comes out of nowhere. But the foundational part of art is experiential. It’s the doing it all the time and all the learning that comes from the constant doing. You can’t execute great ideas that come out of nowhere if you have no actual skills or pragmatic knowledge. These two things are not two things, they are not separate. It’s not like, learn than do. It’s like doing is the whole thing. Doing is the thing that allows ideas to pop into your head.

Here’s a sort of reverse example but with a twist. My brother, whom I adore and could easily spend five hours talking nonstop about everything interesting thing under the sun, doesn’t cook much. Briefly a few years ago he decided to cook more and to just make it all up out of his own head. So he calls me and said: I just invented sauce! He then proceeds to tell me how he made sauce from raw vegetables including carrots by putting them in a blender. Ok brother. That’s not sauce. That’s a smoothie. Most people prefer to drink your type of sauce directly out of a glass in the morning rather than slosh it on pasta in the evening. But you do you.

I applaud the impulse to play and experiment. If he is satisfied eating a textured carrot puddle on his penne, that’s awesome. He is one of the most creative and imaginative people I know. His form of doing is to act boldly and wildly and see what happens. It might not lead to a new food revolution, but it’s great to hang out with him because his just do it attitude makes adventure happen. His good ideas are more about the experience of the process, rather than the end result. He is a connoisseur of experimenting. He is committed to trying things, not to achieve a goal but to satisfy his curiosity. He can do this because he does it all the time. He doesn’t censor his creative urges and so they bloom and grow.

The point is, ideas are not one big thing, they are an accumulation of thousands of small things. If you are drawing, it’s every decision you make and every reason you make it; too close to the edge of the paper, not close enough, the colors work well together, the colors don’t. You are evaluating everything in real time and codifying it for future use. You have to do it an incredible amount to learn enough to have original ideas. There isn’t even such a thing an original idea, it’s more like you learn what you personally approve of or have an affinity for and what you don’t. You gravitate towards that and very slowly a style builds up. That style is the beginning of a good idea.

Sidewalk Face 275

Husband Does Dishes. Wife Gives Him Grief.

Husband Does Dishes. Wife Gives Him Grief.

I might be a moron. Or I might have a legitimate gripe. I am not sure. You tell me.

I think I’m better at systems than my husband. But what’s the prize for having the best system? It’s not as if we are both going to a systems review committee and one of us gets a prize. Then the person who doesn’t get the prize is like, OMG, I love you more than ever. How am I so lucky to live with someone more clever than me? Please remind me of that daily. It’s so inspirational.

Let me lay out the nuts and bolts. We don’t have a dishwasher. We are the dishwasher. Therefore, there are always dirty dishes to do and there are always clean dishes in the rack needing to be put away. You wash a dish drain’s worth, let them dry, put them away and then do some more.

Not my husband. He likes to add wet dishes to the dry dishes. If the rack is full and there are two spoons in the sink, he will wash the stupid spoons, sprinkling water all over everything as he nestles them in with the dry ones. Now you can’t put the clean dishes away because they are no longer dry. This is like moving the trash bins to the end of the driveway before backing out. It doesn’t work! Wrong order!

We’ve discussed his methodology almost as frequently as talking about what’s for dinner. He’s not a fan of this conversation and more accurately describes it as berating. After countless spins on the merry go round of why are you like this, I’m still not sure. Direct inquiry has not been as revealing as hoped, but I think he just hates putting dishes away. He prefers washing. I find this so weird. Washing is way worse than emptying. But there it is. We are different. We have different preferences.

So how big of a deal is this? Is this a good hill to die on? Is there a scenario where I will truly be happier if I shame my dish washing husband into washing fewer dishes? Has any wife ever asked this question? What is wrong with me!

Since I am so freaking good at systems, even I can see that I am the problem here. Efficiency is a useful tool for time management but it’s not a treasure. Of all the things holding me back from peace of mind, the state of the dish drain is not one of them. I’ve never thought, I’ve got to get into therapy and deal with this dish drain situation. I can’t take one more minute of it! Okay, actually I have thought that.

I am starting to see that my desire for rigid systems is the way I self regulate. If the chores are under control. Then maybe my life is under control. When I see my husband sprinkle water on dry dishes it can feel like he is inviting chaos over for dinner. I am not saying he is; I am saying it can feel like it. But that’s on me. It’s not true and it’s a stupid over reaction.

I really love being efficient but as I stated here, Being Efficient isn’t a Great Epithet, rather than be admired for something that leads to imperceptible gains, I should like to be remembered as someone who was pleasant to be around. Maybe those newly wet tupperware lids are a sign to go make some art or tell someone I love them.