This is a story. It is only a story. In fact, it is not even a true story.
A guy walks into my office. He says “I saw on your website that you are a creativity coach – that you help people find their purpose and passion. I think you can help me. Here’s the deal. My work is a drag. I’m good enough at it so that I won’t get fired. I make enough money to make ends meet. But I’m not into it at all. The other thing is I know precisely what I would rather do.”
I say, “This sounds good, tell me more about what you want to do.”
He says, “It’s an idea for a new app I want to create, and it’s a game with some birds, and they are angry.”
“Angry birds?” I ask.
“That’s exactly it, you nailed it!”
“Tell me more about these angry birds.”
“Well… there are these pigs too…”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t there be pigs. That’s pretty obvious.”
You can probably see where this is going…..
I don’t know the people who made Angry Birds and they don’t know me. But the general idea of this story really is true. People do come to me with their purpose and passion that no one else in their lives thinks is a really great idea. I work with super creative people (a.k.a. ADHD) so I am delighted to hear astonishingly creative ideas every week.
Other psychologists might ask the angry bird client “Who are you really angry at? Who are the pigs in your life?”
In this case the psychologist would become a barrier to this person finding their purpose and passion just as much as other skeptical folks in his life became barriers.
A psychodynamic therapist would ask “Was your dad an “angry dad?”
A positive psychologist might ask him to list the three things he has to be grateful about in his current job: Good pay, steady work, and benefits.
A mindfulness based therapist might ask him to label his creative ideas as “planning, planning” and to return his focus back to his breath.
A Jungian psychologist might tell him that his birds represent his higher aspirations and the pigs his base desires.
A Freudian psychologist might ask him to free associate to angry birds.
A San Francisco based psychologist might tell him that the birds are his power animals and he can connect to their power through shamanic drumming.
A psychiatrist would probably prescribe anti-psychotic medications.
Maybe it’s because I work near Silicon Valley, or maybe it’s because I work with ADHD people and other super-creative types, but what I would say to my clients is “Creating apps is like the wild, wild west, a totally open territory out there for the taking by creative people just like you. What’s the next step and how can I support you?”
To be clear, I would not advise him to jump ship and forget about his paying job. What I know is that even if his idea didn’t go onto sustain him financially, that playing in the field of his Sweet Spot will put him in his jet stream and energize every other area of life.
But I’ve seen enough to believe that it’s very possible that one day I won’t be able to walk through a mall without seeing Angry Bird stuffed animals and licensed T-shirts.
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