F.R.E.S.H approach to being creative!

There are many times when you read a book and you stop in between and share what you read and struck you hard with someone special, your partner, your core team member, etc.,. It happened to me many times when I was reading this wonderful book written by Todd Henry – “The Accidental Creative”. This is a wonderful book. In recent times I have picked a number of books in the category of self-help, time management, productivity – but have not completed even one of them in full. Somewhere along the way I lost the connect – but this book kept me hooked on till the end. I completed the book and am immediately writing this.

Though the book may sound rhetorical about many things that most productivity or self-help masters preach – it is in reality nothing of that! It has one basic premise around which the book has been constructed, which is “With order comes greater / productive creativity” and I think (just as Seth Godin has said) it applies to anyone who thinks for a living. The beauty is that even though most creative people may not agree that bringing order will increase their output, I think I can’t agree more!

Todd has done a wonderful job of sitting on the shoulder of giants and helped us see beyond. Through the book, he credits people who have contributed to his thinking and how he has extended their thoughts to the work of a creative. His framework F.R.E.S.H. which stands for Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, Hours seemed quite robust. Though honestly at times I thought it was overwhelming. Why should something that is going to get you to the other end of productivity come easy – he also has never promised this in his introduction! He has been candid that results are going to come with only effort and patience. I’m sure with practice, some of the recommendations in the book will lift the productivity, even if you try hard to disallow it!

 My favorite take away from the book includes: –

– Building a circle or small group for focused and engaging intellectual advancement

– Strengthening the core team

– The concept of energy and its management (though I think I have to read more of this) – I must agree I have started thinking!   

– STIMULI: God, I needed this most at this time in life! It was something I have done in the past and thought about unconsciously, but it’s so true: What goes in decides what will come out!

– The story about the music around page 200 and the South African speaker’s story at the end were my favorite anecdotes!

– And coming back to what I’m working hard to achieve everyday: FOCUS. I had a lot of fresh thoughts as I read this chapter too.

Before I reached the end, I felt a little drag (some pages could have been reduced), but the end was awesome! How would you like to be laid in the grave – as a completely full, unused, untapped valuable resource OR ‘fully empty’? The South African story inspiring one to ‘Die Empty’ was a wonderful way to end the book. Apart from that the number of anecdotes across the book make understanding the application of a concept / advice easy.

A simple book, which does not tell you to control time or diet or sleep, but asks you focus on the essentials, was helpful to me. I am sure it will be a useful read for anyone who thinks he or she is involved in even the shallowest of creative work.

Overall I loved the book.

I will recommend this when you walk to a book store the next time around!!

Happy Reading!

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