Part of what helped Janine Firpo get through some of the darker days of the past year was the awareness that there are small pockets of creativity, innovation and forward movement happening in places all over the world.
Happening across the disciplines, and often unnoticed, Firpo, founder and CEO of investment firm SEMBA, likens them to small bubbles that form at the bottom of a pot of water as it is ready to boil. Over time, those bubbles get bigger and coalesce until ultimately, they collectively release some new steam. That is how she views the creative landscape.
“Solving the problems and challenges we have today will not come through the creativity of the individual,” says Firpo, also author of “Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World.” “I believe that shared information, deep curiosity and collaboration accelerate the process.”
Firpo says that being bored, particularly as a child, is more a relic of a past era than the reality of today. Everyone, regardless of age, seems busier, more in motion and managing inflows of vast amounts of information. Most of that has to do with technology, which can be the true enemy of creative thought. “There is little or no mental and emotional space for inspiration and the magic that can occur in unplanned, unstructured moments.”
For more than 40 years, Firpo was an avid traveler, where one of her motivations was knowing she would have downtime to find new experiences. “I would place myself in circumstances where the unexpected could arise. Those moments are almost impossible to find when we are in a constant state of information and activity input.”
Today, in a world filled with effectively addictive technological impediments, Firpo chose to flip the script on the distractions. She gave up social media vices like Facebook, and instead took a book to bed at night. She put down the phone when working, doing chores or other seemingly mundane activities. Eventually, she found herself sleeping better, more calmer.
“These vices and devices are addictive,” Firpo says. “It is too easy to find yourself either idling away time perusing them or realizing that you are constantly listening to, watching or reading something. Withdrawing from technology takes discipline, and I fail often. In my view, brilliance comes from putting together insights from seemingly disparate sources in new ways. It requires the curiosity to gather information from a broad range of subject matter, and moments of quietude where new thoughts can emerge from within.”
As we move into a new age created by natural forces that were beyond our control, taking the time to thwart the distractions you can control is a winning hand-one that can open your mind to new and exciting possibilities.
This article appears in the March/April 2021 issue of Connect magazine published by NextPage, which can be found online here. If you would like a free print subscription to Connect, please click here.