Interview with Dan Ram, Founder of Designfields.
Sometimes you just need a word or two from a person to drastically change your perspective. Today I got that.
It was when car designer Dan Ram and I were talking about creativity and he said to me: “If you live in the future you will not be happy.”
That brought us onto a conversation about the balance between “imagination” and “being in the present.”
Because, as any creative knows, there is a built-in paradox with being creative.
To imagine what CAN become, we have to temporarily leave the present and imagine the future, and few things make us happier than imagining a great idea that should come true.
But to be fully happy, we have to be in – and stay in – the moment.
So how do you balance imagining a better future and being in the present?
Dan summed it up in a brilliant phrase: “You have to be in the momentum.”
Not “Be in the moment.”
Be in the momentum.
Dan has always been a creative soul who was drawing already as a child. He grew up in a traffic junction and the lights from the cars going around bounced on the walls of his childhood room and created patterns and images that sparked his imagination. When he grew up he became a designer who has, amongst other things, worked in Japan designing cars for Infinity.
For Dan creativity is the dance between living in the present and seeing the future. He told me: “It’s a mindset, you need to be opening your sensors, your inner sensors and your outer sensors for what is possible.”
Like children (in the best interpretation of the word child.) A child can leave this reality and get lost in his or her imagination and, at the same time, be utterly present.
Dan has this mindset. (Not surprisingly he has watched the movie “Back to the future” a gazillion times.)
The trick, according to Dan, is to be able to see what change is needed by being aware of what the world is like right now.
Dan: “Looking is now. It’s happening in the moment, but the future is very, very near. This moment is gone in a second and a new moment has arrived.”
As I understand Dan’s approach to creativity it’s all about riding the wave between the present moment and the future.
I asked him about that and he smiled and said: “Yes! I am a surfer! I do not own a surfboard, but I am surfing the line between the present moment and the imaginary future that we want.”
Hearing him speak I realise that life is not about “Being in the moment”.
Live is about “Being in the momentum.”
Because the present moment is not a static thing, it’s a continuous movement. Like a river you cannot stop.
If you just live in the moment you will miss the opportunities that are possible.
If you just live in the future you will never be happy.
But by understanding that and aiming to “be in the momentum” you can enjoy both the powerful insights of the present and the endless opportunities of what could be.
That’s where creativity thrives.
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