What after RESULTS?
Can you sense the uncertainty in the air after the results? Here's how to deal with it...
The Indian Entrance Exam System: More failures, less success, and shattered dreams.
The majority of aspirants don't know what to do next. Devoted a whole year to this exam to end up at the crossroad of their career. And, ask the ones who did fairly well, they have case studies where seniors couldn't get admissions even after scoring well. You can sense the uncertainty in the air these days. I have been experiencing this vibe for the last 8 years now. And, I have been thinking a lot about it. Is there a way to deal with this uncertainty? Can we do something about it?
Dealing with uncertainty
Don't you think, creativity is about uncertainty? Doesn't a creative solution is about getting comfortable with uncertainty because you never know what solution you'll arrive at? Doesn’t it require the faith to keep doing the work, even on days when the work doesn’t yield anything certain? At least (as far as I know) that's how designers work on a problem.
In Creativity: the psychology of discovery and invention, Mihalyi Csiksgentmihalyi suggests that ‘the creative process starts with a sense that there is a puzzle somewhere or a task to be accomplished.’ It might be a conflict, a tension, a need to be satisfied. It might be driven by the need to achieve a goal or solve a problem. Sometimes the problem, or problems, emerge through the work—in moments of clarity or realization of what Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘a gap in the network of knowledge.’
In short, how can we expect certainty in results if we are on the path of uncertainty?
I mean, if we are preparing ourselves for a creative career and life ahead, why do we feel stuck when the result is not in our favor? Isn't creativity suppose to be an iterative process?
Shouldn't we reattempt or plan something better for the future if this attempt failed? Shouldn't we focus on why we started this journey?
Yes. Indeed. But, that's easier said than done!
The true question is: how can we make the uncertainty bearable so it doesn’t paralyze us? How to get rid of so many voices in my head and voices around me that are forcing me to forget why I started the journey in the first place?
To embrace this uncertainty of creative life we need some clarity of thought.
Getting clarity in uncertainty
Here is a visual tool by Stephen Covey to map our inner headspace, of assessing where our time and effort is going. How much-wasted energy are we putting into things we can’t control?
Stephen Covey, in the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests an exercise:
First, write a list of everything that is on your mind: tasks to do (prepare a portfolio, solve questions, apply for admissions), projects you’re engaged in, things you’re worried about (college admission, if not design then what...etc.). On a large piece of paper, draw two circles, one inside the other. Assess each thing on your list, asking: ‘can I do anything about this?’ If you can’t, put it in the outer circle. This is your Circle of Concern: things that worry you, but over which you have no control. The inner circle is your Circle of Influence: things you can act on and do something about.
Once you see where you can exert your control, your purpose should be clearer. And you’ll find some motivation to come out of the after-result-melancholy zone.
But, what about my design dream?
At least with the exercise mentioned above, you'll understand whether you had a dream to pursue a creative profession or a dream to just get a tag (IIT or NID for that matter). Do you think getting into IIT or NID is the end of the journey? Do you think you have job security or career security once you graduate from these colleges?
If you don't have a concrete answer, I would suggest conducting some honest research on this question. Ask your seniors or people on your LinkedIn circle.
The fact is there is no certainty in any creative profession! You need to have a learning attitude, you need to prove yourself on a daily basis. Let me explain this with an analogy: How do you feel when the CEED or NID results are about to be declared? Now, you have to go through this feeling once every year (if you reattempt the exam every year). But, as a professional designer, you go through this feeling almost every month!
The point is, do not be bogged down by the results. Your creative profession is not limited to your degree or tag. It is based on the brand you create for yourself! Unfortunately, no design college is talking about that.
So, here's my contribution to the uncertain situation.
I have consolidated my learnings and experience in the creative industry, the gaps, I felt, need to be plugged in the design education and crafted a program called Designer to Creator. This year, I would select (based on an interview) a few students (who are willing to work in the creative industry no matter what college they are or will get into). I will help them kickstart their creative journey. I'll not brag about it here. You can read the details here and read the articles here.
As we talk about uncertainty in the creative process repeatedly, it may reflect that we need more patience for the labor of creative work, but the fact is to overcome uncertainty in a creative journey one needs courage. Look for clarity of thought inside you rather than feeling low and depressed. Show some courage and utilize this time to prepare for a better future. Do some research and look around you'll find that to live a creative life you don't need a degree or approval from anyone. But, clarity of thought to embrace uncertainty in the process.😊
PS: Design is not a subject to be taught but a mindset to acquire. And, you don't need a college for that. And if you are in design college, think about how would you survive out there!
PS: PS: I am not against college education😊
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