I recently found that someone has been attempting to infringe (use) one of my trademarks.
I was amazed at how deeply I'd felt about it ... it was like I had been violated in some way. As if someone had attempted to take a child of mine. Didn't they understand? That was MY creativity; it was MY digging deep to find a new, creative and original expression of my energy, intuition and creative-leadership. That trademark expressed ME in a unique and very personal way. As I'd often said to friends and business colleagues ..."that is SO ME!' (and I meant it).
But then, as usual, I started to reflect on the matter, and what was really going on.
First things first: where had this come from? Well, I had 'let slip' my focus and enthusiasm for this trademark. So, in the void of that creative thrust and exuberance, someone else had started to use it. Okay, lesson learned.
But once beyond the shock, horror and indignation, I started to feel into the whole issue of creativity versus competition. Here now was someone 'forcing' me to 'compete' for something that I'd taken energy, time, heart and soul to bring into being.
At first I had thought to 'compete' in the usual manner ... take it to court (with attendant costs, time, energy and focus).
Think about it. Those first to market (think Apple) with a good product, will trump the also-ran competitors. "Owning the space" (market) is first and foremost about being creative (e.g. great designs of products), and being first (or nearly so). Obviously, creativity positions one first (it wouldn't be creative otherwise).
But I also started to reflect on the nature of competition ... by its very nature it reduces everyone to winners or losers with the winners having to 'take' from the losers. It's about dividing the pie more unevenly, whereas creativity only ADDS to the mix and expands the pie.
And that got me thinking about the whole competitive focus of our sports-mad culture. It's about limited resources (with the winner taking those resources - prize money, pretty objects, partners ... whatever). The fine print is that "there is not enough" for everyone, so we must compete. Culturally this is deeply embedded, starting with the silliness of Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' theories -- we need to compete to survive, so goes the theory.
Culturally we've been habituated into thinking "I can't create and add to the world, so I'll have to get tricky and clever and grab what I can."
Competition is a seriously limiting and depressive energy. The more we compete, the more we compare, the more we are reminded "there is not enough", so the more we'll feel depressed. We think that life is NOT naturally abundant, giving and supportive, so we must cut, kill and consume the creative output of others.
That I feel is one of the reasons for our increasing epidemic of depression ... we're told day in and day out that life is increasingly competitive, and that if we don't out-run, out-sell, out-compete our competitors we'll be left behind. When we lose, we don't feel life is inherently supportive. Only winners are grinners, as they say. That lack of any profound sense of support causes all sorts of anxieties and selfish behaviours.
Our politicians buy into this nonsense, promoting policies that increase competitiveness.
Marriage breakups see the worst of this competitiveness ... competing over possessions (because we "work so hard" to gain them); competing over children (because there is only "limited love" in our world).
Then it struck me why lawyers are more likely to be depressed or alcoholics - in our adversarial legal world there's only winners and losers: those that win and take, and those that lose and become poorer, or less able to enjoy their children's love and company.
And that's why various 'get rich quick' schemes and activities are so popular: 'slot machines', TV game shows, casinos, ponzi-pyramid schemes, lotteries and litigation ... ("I can't create new ideas and products that will produce wealth and abundance for myself, so I'll win it or take it from others").
The list goes on.
And yet the benefits and results of creativity are all around us to observe. Every part of our culture and Civilisation -- all the products, buildings, bridges, recipes, services, jokes, clothes, cars, computers ... and pets -- originated from someone's creative thought. It's all been the result of ideas that were different to what existed before, dating back to the stone age, and even before then.
I'll have lots more on this very soon!