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Pissed Off? Broken? Use It.
By: Matt Shuford
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It comes as no surprise that I found inspiration for this article following the loss of someone special. Harnessing raw emotion to serve as catalyst to creativity is a concept I’ve often thought possible, but it wasn’t until a recent personal experience did I truly understand the validity in that belief.
 
As individuals, we are met with countless situations and life events that affect us in a variety of ways. And as emotional creatures, we choose to react either positively or negatively to each of those events. We’ll then — often unknowingly — transfer that reaction’s energy into other areas of our lives. Still with me? Good. Because here’s the kicker: It’s ultimately up to us to choose what we do with that raw energy and emotion.
 
Anger. Sadness. Guilt. Regret.
 
I can easily think of about 10 different ways to cope with these emotions, none of which are productive. I choose to highlight negative reactions quite simply because it’s these that too often send us into a whirlwind of inactivity — the ultimate blockade to creative production. Too often when something bad happens, we’ll choose to just sulk in our misfortune, sometimes for days and weeks on end. Meanwhile, we’re letting all of that raw, powerful emotion go to waste instead of finding a productive use for it.
 
Abandonment. Bitterness. Disgust.
 
Stop turning to sad songs and Ben & Jerry’s coping methods. I’m telling you here and now that you’ll do some of your best work when feeling one or any collection of these emotions. You just can’t let the negative energy become a crutch. And you can’t fight it. Instead, let it take over. Let it consume you. Allow it to fuel a fire inside that spreads wildly to the ends of every capillary until an untamed inferno of brilliance explodes onto whatever paper, computer or whiteboard lies in front of you. It works. I promise.
 
Take me for example — I’m on the heels of a breakup. (Yeah, it was that kind of loss. Whatever.) And though our break was quite a different situation than most others, it still hurts the same. And many emotions are present. There’s immense sadness, laced with disbelief, wrapped in frustration, dipped in neglect, and then sprinkled with bitterness.
 
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
 
It’s a life event that I, admittedly, hadn’t handled well until I came to the understanding of what I’m sharing with you today. I had all this energy that very easily could’ve been completely used up in the form of self-pity (won’t lie, I started that), pillow punching (that too) or tears (guys don’t cry. c’mah. ok maybe a couple. small ones.) But I didn’t — not all of it. Everything that’s now left in the tank after the initial blow is being put towards a rededication of my craft and creative release. I’m harnessing the energy and being met with focus. I’m back to writing how I want. And I have to say, the work has been good.
 
It will be for you, too.


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About the Author
Matt Shuford is an idea chemist. With a little over five years to his career, he's a driven copywriter and problem solver who takes pride in keeping things fresh, interesting, and intelligent. You can expect his posts to reflect those of an admirer and critic of advertising, life, and the relationship between the two. Feel free to contact him at his website or on Twitter

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