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Mastering the messy middle of millennial me

I often find myself assimilating too much information, chasing after the latest trends and modelling my desires on what others find exciting. Instead I want to spend my time on getting to know my own tastes and desires better.

I used to get annoyed with myself for not being able to free my mind from the thought of a life I should be living, instead of one that actually suits me. I was in need of a mental filtering system, one that could transform this thinking into doing.

As I was looking into my daily practice and the phases I go through in a design process, I discovered how I was making use of the creative tools to navigate my way through and gather an array of insights along the way.

What I found out was, that the creative methods I was practicing in my 9-5 were extremely useful for mapping thoughts and bringing out this latent power that's in every one of us. So I started implementing them into my own life. Knowing my limitations (those situations in which I do not do my best) and considering my priorities frees up so much mental space for higher pursuits, that I now know how to act when my mind gets messy.

At the start of every creative venture there is excitement, countless possibilities, ultimate freedom and endless energy that leads the way. We go out and explore, invest loads of time in experimenting and talk to as many people as possible about our ideas. You feel unstoppable energy, nothing is set. The creative juices are boundless, and more and more inspiration is absorbed by your curiosity for the topic.

I love this phase, and the way I see it, this phase is what almost every human being thrives on.

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Celebrate the messy middle

At some point though, you realise you got yourself knee deep into the inspiring but messy middle. That’s when you need to set some boundaries to turn ideas into focus. Unravel the potential within your ideas and unleash them. Distinguish what works, what doesn’t and how to continue.

This is the challenging part. There is no defined outcome yet and still a hundred ways to continue forward, although it is not always clear how. But by implementing a variety of methods and tools, you are able to streamline the process with a clear goal and overall vision, converging your way through.

There is no creativity without the messy middle, it shows the beauty of creation. This part of the creative process is what designers love sharing, the process behind the end result. We don’t hide the messy middle, we celebrate it.

Crafting a life

I believe life is just like this, a creative process, crafting our way through. We continually find ourselves in these messy middles, figuring out how to get to the next stage. Experimenting, trying new things, deep-diving, making mistakes, pushing through. Learning by doing.

But although I talk about a creative process, I don’t mean it’s not structured. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s a constant refining of your thinking, sharpening of your ideas, mapping of your thoughts, testing of your beliefs, making order out of chaos. Always with a clear vision leading the way.

In life though, we often get stuck in the messy middle and we do not possess the variety of methods that can align our beliefs, values and experience to direct us to the life we desire. We sometimes even get so lost, we burn out by trying so hard.

Millennial me

That brings me to the millennial me. A restless, but uplifted spirit in constant search of relevance in an overly saturated world. Full of creative potential, but disappointed by a number of jobs because it’s just not the right fit. Over-exhausted by this constant battle of being relevant but feeling numb and unattached to anything he or she pursues. Sinking into a state of mental fatigue and helplessness, while getting stuck in the messy middle.

To realise true potential - like in any other creative process - millennial me needs methods and tools to be better able to change its situation and celebrate the messy middle. Underneath the mess, marvellous things become visible when you know how to distinguish what is something you truly need or want, from that which has been manufactured by advertisers or viral effects.

Despite the labels and tags that have been stuck on millennial me, I believe it’s extremely important to choose (career) paths that suit you and mesh with your character. Investigating every aspect of your life can seem self-absorbing. But without considering your priorities and knowing your limitations, you will not try your hand at things for which you have no capacity or inclination.

From mess to opportunities

When you know how to actively shape your very character and the fate that goes with it, you are able to transform your messy middle into a life changing event. By training how to structure your thinking with a practical tool kit that unleashes your potential and illuminates your relevance, you will possess a mental filtering system for mapping your priorities and crafting the life you desire.

That’s the essence of a creative practice, transforming the messy middle into an era of opportunities. All while becoming the master of millennial me.

 

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