Friday, 12 October 2012

Kylie Minogue and the genius of lost time.

There is a rumour/urban myth within the music industry (and I’ve checked on this with the folk I know in said circles) that Kylie Minogue’s  first UK hit “I should be so lucky” was written very fast – we’re talking somewhere between 10 to 30mins...
The story goes that Stock, Aitken + Waterman, had completely forgotten about Kylie’s first visit to the UK and on arrival at their studio, she sat in their foyer whilst they quickly dug out the keyboards and the sampling machine and threw together the song. Kylie admits herself that coming from the world of t.v., she treated the lyrics like a script and sang into the mike as directed. The song was recorded in a few takes and off she flew from Heathrow at the end of the day. It happened that fast.
I love the story. I know you’ll have a few anecdotes yourself.
Learning here is this: Having little time IS NOT an issue when it comes to solving problems; it can sometimes be a blessing.
When time is tight your brain doesn’t move any faster. It’s always moving fast.  Normally however you’ve got time to consciously judge stuff. When time is tight, there is no room for conscious processing; that’ll waste what moments you do have. It’s time to relax and allow your subconscious processing to surface. All the time it’s moving super fast and making decisions without your awareness. It knows EXACTLY what’s’ going on. It’s the greatest resource you have so the trick is to allow it to show you...
Let’s look at Kylie’s song. Stock, Aitken + Waterman had written songs by the dozen. They had a strong back catalogue of successes and thousands of hours between them crafting lyrics and melodies. The collective and individual power of their mind when it came to ‘writing a song’ was without question. Whether you like their style isn’t the issue here. They could write and had got something that worked for them just as well as Lennon and McCartney – it was just on this occasion they cut out the crap and nailed a song in 20mins.
Time is always going to pass. So it’s up to you on how you feel about it.
“Not having enough time” is a judgement. It programmes your brain into thinking about what it can’t do. And guess what -  you can’t do it!
Try “we’ve got this amount of time and let’s make the best of it”. It’s a simple shift in perspective but it’s worth keeping in mind. A shorter amount of time gets your subconscious surfacing and as a result you:
·         Cut out the crap – you’ll go for what matters. They’ll be lots of that 80/20 rule kicking in but you’ll also experience genius moments of insight and idea creation as your subconscious brings forth the wonderment of your mind in seconds rather than hours.
·         You’ll make decisions better – see above
·         You’ll experiment better and try things out for the first time. Let’s face it, if there isn’t enough time for the ‘normal’ way of doing things, then a new approach will have more of a chance. For example – ever thought about NOT typing up a proposal and simply binding your notes together along with all the roughs? Alec Issigonis designed the mini on a napkin –what’s good enough for him...
·         You’ll have way more fun. If you want to kill a project, do it slowly!
Don’t however GIVE YOURSELF less time. An engineered false deadline isn’t the same energetically as having a real deadline. I’ve seen lots of bad advice being given framed as ‘create a sense of urgency’ to get the best out of people.  Seriously, don’t do that.
I write this with a few important pitches to prepare for the next few weeks. Only I haven’t that luxury of time as I’m committed to other projects. Thus my weekend and evenings are the only time I have – so I take all of my own advice.
I also remind myself to have fun with it.
So you do the same when the ‘time’ issue comes up again.
Sorry it was a long blog.
I hadn’t time for a shorter one.

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