JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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Of desperation, pressure and stress. Sigh...

A recent blog post by Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby, asked the question, “Does it help to be desperate?” The post talks about Richard Branson and how he created self-imposed desperation time and after time in his business life. For Branson, being in a constant do-or-die state was highly motivational. Me, I'm more like Sivers, who says he seeks to take risks, but always strives to have some sort of safety net beneath him should things go south. Fact is, when I’m desperate, I tend to make a mess of things. My ideas are bad, I make decisions I regret, I treat people with less tact than I should. No, I’m with Sivers, I like to be comfortable, or at least, secure in the knowledge that if things truly go south with a project, I’ll be okay. 

Pressure is another matter entirely. Feeling pressure helps me. No pressure, no insight, for the most part. No ah ha moments (though my best ideas come to me when I’m relaxed). Sadly, pressure equals stress for me, and stress is the worst thing in the world for my recovering brain. When I’m stressed, all my symptoms flair: vertigo, headaches, twitchiness, mental confusion (my brain just locks up).

The trick seems to be finding the right balance: feeling relaxed enough to come up with ideas, but once I have an idea, feeling some pressure to make it what it should be. Easier said than done, of course, but something I'm darn near desperate to achieve.