My favorite “downtime” activity is playing music.
It allows me to exercise my mind creatively, while allowing me to forget – for a while, at least – the cares of the day in an activity that inspires and restores me.
Of all the developers with whom I’ve worked over the years, far and away the most talented and creative were also musicians.
In part, I think this has to do with the fact that many of the skills needed by great developers (and entrepreneurs, for that matter) overlap. Great musicians need to be disciplined, self-directed, and have a knack for collaboration. They need to be able to communicate with their creative partners on an intuitive, almost visceral level. And they need to be able to improvise, and play on the fly, within a fluid structural framework.
Truly great musicians inspire, create, and innovate. Truly great entrepreneurs and developers do exactly the same.
And – though there are many musicians and developers, who through long practice and dedicated effort, have made themselves into technically superior maestros, there are a rarer few who have a genius that no amount of practice or will can ever hope to attain.
Sadly, I am no musical, nor developer, genius. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize, and appreciate it, when I see and hear it. It inspires me to be better, and hopefully in my turn, inspire someone else to be better.
What do you do, to stretch your creative muscles?
Go, and be you.