Creative Island Ident (Teal)
The Cultural Development Agency for the Isle of Wight
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A few thoughts from our director about things we might do differently

Gavin Stride
2, May 2024

When I was about 12 I came home from school with my shirt untucked – it was the fashion of the day – and my mother said, “Gavin, tuck your shirt in, it looks untidy”.

Next day I came home with my shirt untucked and once again, she said “Gavin, I told you yesterday, tuck your shirt in”. Third day I came home, shirt untucked and she didn’t say anything, and I thought I had broken her will. However, in the morning when I got up she had sewn frilly lace to the tails of all my shirts.

Sometimes you have to approach a problem differently. Here are a few thoughts of the things we might do differently.

Don’t Compete
We are taught to compete, to win at all costs. Which might work in sport, but I would argue that most of the solutions to the challenge of our times is to do the opposite. We should talk enthusiastically about the work of people we admire, champion each other.

I firmly believe that our real success increases by the scale of our generosity. The French have a proverb that goes something like “travel alone, travel faster”. Travel together, travel further. I think that’s right.

Be vulnerable
This is a difficult one to get right. We are taught to be invincible, to protect ourselves from disappointment and hurt.

But the simple truth is that relationships spring from our ability to be vulnerable with each other. To be honest and present. It is a sign of strength.

Work with people not like you
Our influence increases by the range of our networks particularly if these include people who are connected to others that we might never know. We should be careful of only working with people who agree with us. Diversity is our greatest strength.

Charles Leadbetter argues in his book We-Think that “In the past we were defined by the things we owned, however in the future we will be defined by the things we share”.

Avoid blaming others
If something goes wrong don’t look to blame anyone. It won’t move you forward. In fact blaming others gives away all your power.

Be cautious of sentences that start with “what they need to do is… “ Better to consider what the first step to affecting that change might be.

Only do the things you are passionate about
You don’t have to be able to do everything. There are people who enjoy every type of activity. You will do those things less well.

Find people who match you rather than people exactly like you.

Be hopeful
Having a hopeful and positive view of a better world, not just for ourselves but for all of us, which you could define as optimism.

Studies of 200,000 people showed that people with a positive hopeful attitude have a 40% lower incidence of heart disease, 30% less incidence of cancer and 38% chance of lowering all the characteristics of early death.

Being hopeful will, literally, help you live longer.

A last thought
As a last thought, I am reminded of this story. Leonard Woolfe would listen to the radio with his wife Virginia, and hear the ‘insane ramblings’ of Hitler.

One day he was out in the garden when his wife called out that the lunatic was back on the radio. ‘I shan’t come’ he called back. ‘I’m planting Iris and they well be here long after he has gone’.

I don’t know what my equivalent of planting Iris is but I am determined to find it and do that. So should we all.

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