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The Column icon The Column: Issue 30

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The Column is a monthly feature that explores the world of creativity and aesthetics.

Finding Balance
Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable

My greatest challenge is to find balance between the work I love to do and the work I have to do. My difficulty in doing so is in common with all those who find their lives focused by the practical needs of making a living. There are periods when what is most important struggles to survive...

A Driven Man

Like many, I am driven to make. It doesn't matter what the medium is: music, design, writing, or the many rich variety of expressions that help us connect with, and to understand the world. Whatever the context or material, my need is to express and to share that with others. That drive, born of personal history, temperament, psychological and social need, is the root of who I am. The creative challenge is the gravity that exercises my mind and spirit. The creative journey brings me purpose, empowerment, and independence.

One Man's Working World

The three areas of creativity that I work in are pubic, commercial, and private. My public work is manifest in AbleStable. This work is motivated by my desire to encourage and support creativity in an inclusive setting. My commercial work is as founder and Creative Director of the software company 2BrightSparks. This provides me with income. My private work is the pursuit of exploring my own major project that encompasses conversation, music, gaming, literature, and visual design.

As well as my attempts to achieving balance in my work, I also try to meet the needs of my family and friends. These differing demands constantly vie for attention, and finding balance in the dynamic flux of daily life can be extremely challenging.

That Which is Most Important

To live we need food and shelter. To acquire these we need money, and to make money we generally spend our time undertaking tasks we would otherwise choose not to do. We are given money (most often not enough to do the things we would like to do) in exchange for the time and tasks we have undertaken for our employer - often a legal entity (the company). The main representative of our employer (the boss) is often remote from our personal existence which makes the chance of empathy with our personal goals less likely.

In my case my commercial work is as a Director of a company that produces software, and as such I have greater control over the way my time is allocated. I work very long hours, but can spread my work over the day from early in the morning to the early hours of the next so that I can also give attention to my other priorities. That said, at present my commercial work far exceeds the percentage of time I would prefer to commit to it. So much so that I have limited my work in other non-commercial fields.

The aim of my commercial work is to develop, support, and sell software products, and although my role has broadened my experience and skill base, there remain areas that have great significance and value to me that receive little or none of my time.

The greatest danger we face, I face, is allowing that which is most important to be forgotten under the ever rising tide of immediate demands.

Shaping the World

Creativity is an essential human activity that has shaped the history and development of our world as much as politics, tyranny, and war. From the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China, India, and Greece, creative works, both practical (music, sculpture, painting etc.) and of the imagination (poetry, narrative, and philosophy) are the bread and water of our mental existence.

On a personal level creativity is as crucial to each of us as are the dreams of night. In a broader social and political context, innovation, invention, and art has brought immeasurable benefits to our species.

We shape and model our understanding of the world. Our senses suckle the immediate physical environment as we imperfectly take in a little of that which is outside ourselves. Our minds build labyrinthine connections between this new stimuli and those memories that have helped build what it is to be the 'me' - the sum of an individual's experience, desire, physical, and psychological makeup.

Look closely and it is clear that everything we touch, taste, smell, hear, and see is but a shadow of what in truth is out there, yet it is enough for us to feel we have a grasp of the world, at least a temporary grasp, a foothold as we strive to build a bigger picture. The bigger the picture we make, the better chance we have to survive, and survival, the core instinct that possesses all living creatures, is why we create.

The bigger picture, far more than our five senses alone can deliver, is a picture that requires a leap of imagination, a flash of insight. There are but brief moments when the cloud that limits our horizon lifts and we see a world teaming with possibilities. That is a world I wish to journey and be a part of more. A world were we could find balance between personal, social, and domestic commitments, and keeping this balance in mind should be our constant companion if we are to realize our true potential...


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Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author. Mike is also the Creative Director of 2BrightSparks, a software company producing award winning backup solutions.

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