“I’m Darren, my business is called Makin’ Trax. The ‘makin’ side of it certainly reflects who I am.
About 2005 I told a friend I wanted to be out in a 79 series LandCruiser, getting around with chainsaws and machines, building mountain bike tracks. Turning my passions into profit. At the time I was doing it voluntarily as part of my interest in mountain biking. There were no established businesses building mountain bike tracks. A couple of years later and opportunity came up to do it and I grabbed it with both hands.
Building this house – I had the floor plan from the architect and that was it. I gathered a team of people I trusted to help me build it. I said, ‘I have no idea how this will turn out’. We knew it would be trial and error using the straw bales, timber beams and recycled materials. There are certain things you have to do founded on engineering and good practices, and there are others that you can be creative with.
From a whole-life perspective I’m always creating opportunities to generate experiences that contribute towards a more fulfilling life.
All my individual experiences are congruent with my greater aspiration which is to – it’s a cliché – but to live my life to the fullest. An example of that would be owning a business where I love what I do and it’s not an effort to get out of bed to do it.
Another example is building my house on a property to provide a life of experiences that we as a family can enjoy – that was a long term aspiration. It’s more valuable if it’s shared with others.
I believe as long as I’ve got the ‘shining light’ that I’m always aiming for, then it’s just a matter of beginning with the end in mind. Every decision I make is made in the effort to get there.
As early as I can remember I’ve always had a belief that there are other ways to build, do or see things. I think people that are naturally drawn to invent things understand that innately. I’m not an inventor, but I am always open to the prospect of doing things outside the box rather than inside it.
I have a natural reverse polarity to doing things the “normal” way.
At heart I’m an intensely creative person but not in the conventional sense. I enjoy being on the road less travelled. Part of that journey is that one has to be creative in not only how you make things but how you approach situations and challenges that are thrown up.
I don’t allow myself to be fenced in by experiences that are placed on me. A good or bad experience is a matter of perception. The fence may always be there, but you have to have a gate that’s not locked to allow movement.
I’ll take a couple of days following a disappointing experience to process the intensely negative feelings about it. Then I say “what’s the lesson here, why is this happening, what door is closing here that’s allowing another to open?”
I just look at how things can be a different way which gives me a freedom of thought. I can’t create effectively if I’m bound by other people’s conventions and paradigms.
Creativity comes from having no boundaries.”
Darren Stewart is the Director of Makin’ Trax, in Canberra www.makin-trax.com.au