Inputs and Outputs

A good friend and mentor of mine has convinced me to try  a suggestion of his to “get creative”.  I, in turn, convinced a good friend of mine to join me in the challenge.  Hopefully this is going to make quite a change to the way I view and discuss things – especially here on my well-hidden little blog :)

The basic idea is this: Get right-brained.
Every day I spend at work is a day I’m programming and thinking in the logical, problem-solving part of my mind – the left-side of the brain.  While this works fine for coding, social interaction is a creative activity – it uses the right-side of the brain – and trying to delve into an interesting conversation after a day of coding can range anywhere from difficult, to impossible for me to embrace.

So, to help me be something more of a social animal – I need to get some practice in right-braininess: get the creative juices of my mind flowing, as it were.  To do this, I need to differentiate between inputs and outputs in my life.DominicProcopio_Wxfield_base_switchboard_1955__2_

Inputs are essentially anything which I absorb, watch, view or somehow experience in a passive way.  TV, movies, video games*,  fiction books, browsing the interweb and listening to boring people talk are all inputs.  Inputs are good for expanding knowledge, awareness and understanding.  But they do nothing to help me understand myself or to create new things.

Outputs, on the other hand, are things I have an active hand in.  They include things that I can create directly: painting, blogging, writing, journaling, sketching – or in my case, stick-figure doodling :).  They also include things where I’m expressing or using my body somehow, such as exercise, dancing, jogging, singing, talking to people etc.

Inputs let me understand the world – outputs let me understand myself.  So over the next 2 weeks myself and my awesome friend will be doing the “Input-matching challenge”: for every input we give ourselves, we’ll create an output to match it.  If it’s a book, TV show, video game etc – we write a review.  If it’s knowledge (*ahem*Wikipedia-whore*ahem*), we journal it.  We can offset it with anything from singing, to swing dancing, to writing, to larking about in our underpants.  It’s just gotta be an output.

Wish us luck!

* Sure, games are interactive, but the player interacts as a character, in a designers world, following a scripted storyline etc.  Almost all (that I know of) are escapist and therefore not a proper output – in fact, that’s half the reason they’re fun :)

The Connection…

It’s strange for me to notice, but as spend more time Swing Dancing and learn more pointers and tips, my connections with other people that I dance with seem to change all the time. Sometimes, people that I used to really enjoy dancing with now seem limp and unresponsive when I try to lead them. Others that I never used to feel like I was able to lead properly, I now seem to be able to discover some special angle, or setup to turn them into some of my favourite follows.

I’m not sure if it’s because my own skills are changing, or their skills are changing, or I’m changing and they’re changing and we’re all taking away different things from the lessons. But as I notice it I find myself thinking about the very nature of the connection between a man and a woman. I don’t say lead/follow here because I think the connection boils down to the sexuality that’s at the core of each of us. This connection, like the dance itself, seems like it’s always in motion. Always changing between one girl and the next, and then when I come back to the same girl it’s changed again.

That ‘perfect connection’ can only ever be a fleeting thing I suppose. Whenever I think I’ve found it, it doesn’t happen again with that same girl. The perfect connection is always moving on, always changing. And the only way to keep looking for it is to just keep dancing with as many girls as I can, new and known to me. And when I think about it like that, I wouldn’t have it any other way :)