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Sick of hearing about get rich quick schemes and the next best things? So is everyone. But there is something that will work, without a doubt, every time. It’s a path that’s not for everyone – in that it requires a bit of courage, gumption and willingness to learn, adapt and grow on the regular. But if that hasn’t scared you off, you may be ready to hear exactly how you can get what you want out of life.
It all has to start somewhere.
Feeling stalled? Creativity juices running low? Time to get yourself back in the game with some of these small things that you can do right. this. second.
Remember, little actions make for big change over time.
1. Try to write a sentence backwards. Whatever word first pops into your head must be the last word of your sentence. Continue picking words until you have a phrase that makes sense. Force your brain to think in new ways.
2. Reorganize your bookshelves by color. You decide where to start the rainbow.
3. Cut up a photo and rearrange it entirely. Become a Picasso of the modern age.
4. Go read a bit of a book or two. Marvel at how one author’s voice is completely distinct from another’s. No tome nearby? Dive into this free online library of 40,000 titles.
5. Write a letter to someone you haven’t chatted with in a while. Draw pictures in the margins of memories you shared and laughed over once. Perhaps make plans to make more memories soon.
6. Write with your non-dominant hand. Now draw. Which method is more appealing?
7. Learn how to say one phrase in another language. Ngiyajabula ukukwazi! (“Pleased to meet you” in Zulu)
8. Pick an image by a famous photographer or artist that you find particularly stunning and recreate it only using objects you have in the room.
10. Ask someone what was the best movie they ever saw. Pick their brain as to why that one still stands out in their mind.
11. Write a haiku that would make your grandmother faint. No holds barred.
12. Go for a walk. Choose a path you’ve never taken before.
13. Reorganize your bookshelves by books you love and books you still need to read.
14. Turn money into art! Instantly!
15. Think up five terrible puns. The more groan-worthy the better. Despite evidence that they should be, puns will never be a sick bird (ill+eagle = illegal =groaaan).
16. Question a long-held ideal of yours. What makes you stuck in your ways on this subject?
17. Snap pictures of only things that start with the letter “C”. Pick a new letter tomorrow.
18. Use chopsticks to do something other than eat food.
19. Listen to one of your favorite songs. Mentally choreograph a dance that would match it perfectly.
20. Print out any of these images. Color outside of the lines if you wish.
21. Write yourself a message that you can only read when you hold up it up to a mirror.
22. Invent a character. Decide its name, age, favorite cereal and how it views the world. What kind of person would it befriend?
23. Throw away something that you thought you needed.
24. Reorganize your bookshelves in whatever way that makes you happy. If that means putting the books in the pantry and the canned goods on the bookshelves, give it a go.
26. Make up new lyrics to a well-loved song. They can be ridiculous, referential, or reverent as long as they are different.
27. Pick a random spot in a distant country on Google Maps and zoom all the way in. You will feel tiny and overwhelmed and inspired.
28. Create a word map. Connect the dots between disparate ideas.
29. List everything in this world that you love. Combine as many of these as you can into your day.
30. Get uncomfortable, get crafty, create.
A short reminder that obstacles are never entirely what they seem.
It’s amazing how a little pressure can move us to do great things. This tidbit from the gifted composer illuminates some of the keys to getting it all done.
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This week’s tidbit comes from woman whose playwriting captures the intense, the heart-breaking, the conflicting and the beautiful subtleties of life. It is evident that she has found a way to relinquish the need to always plan and manage when it comes to creativity. Let go, and watch what happens.
― Paula Vogel
Image Source: Maia Flore
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A few years ago, illustrator Eric Smith was diagnosed with three different types of cancer. Instead of labeling his experience as a negative one and resisting the situation, he embraced it in effort to seek out harmony in his life.
“Having my physical life threatened, provoked within me a strong separation between my spiritual and physical being. Although my physical body was being attacked … my spiritual essence was untouchable.”
Before, he was cruising along through life. His diagnosis challenged him to make a conscious effort to recognize the gift that the situation had given him – the ability to live in and through each and every moment of his life. It led him to launch the Live Now Project – a community of artists that collaborate and share their message through art, storytelling, words of wisdom and more. And oh, what a wonderful message it is.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the how, what, when and where? The right brain tenses up and leaves the worrying to the left brain that will try to reason with you and make sense out of those “crazy,” “silly,” or “impossible” ideas that come strolling through your head. Time to take a cue from Frederick Terral of Right Brain Terrain whose clever designs will remind you that it’s okay, and even preferable, to let the right hemisphere show off once in a while:
Stand Out: Because there’s no point in being a clone of someone else.
Shoot For the Moon: Because even if you miss, you’re one step closer to space travel than you were yesterday.
BU4U: (Say it out loud) Feeling unauthentic? Reevalute and realize it’s okay to be the you that you want to be.
Breakthrough: Pow! Zap! Blam! Make your own breakthrough pack a punch of epic proportions.
Right Brain Powered: Because while the left brain’s being reasonable, the right brain wants to get out and play. Let it have the reigns for a while and watch what happens.
Dream Catcher: Because sometimes the literal take on an important idea is the best. This image makes it easy for us to visualize grabbing that dream before it floats up and away.
Resilience: Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough…keep going, even when it gets tough. You’ll make it up and out eventually.
PERPHICT: Because what is perfect anyway? Bend your rigid perfectionism and find out what happens when you explore other ideas of Perphictshun.
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway“
– Earl Nightingale
We are a culture of wanting, a generation of impatience. Without instant answers we let muddled, hurried thoughts lead us to frustration – “if not now, then when?” – and subsequently abandon the path before reaching its first curve. We want the results without the work. How can we ensure that we reach our goal when the clock on the wall seems to show time zooming by at a frightening pace?
1. Train your mind in patience. Start small, set little boundaries, challenge yourself. Promise yourself to do an extra set of crunches, try 24 hours without social media, or put your favorite guilty-pleasure food at the edge of your desk, and see if you can go 8 hours without touching it. Little successes add up to big ones in time. Each step is significant.
2. Make a list. Of 10 things you would do if time were no issue, if no obstacles stood in your way. Look again at the list. Realize that each one of these things is possible – the obstacles are the excuses we make for ourselves. Pick one and commit 30 days to getting closer to that goal. You reach the end of a month and it’s still not done? Well, you’re 30 days closer than you would have been had the idea just stayed on paper. Put time into it, get something out of it.
3. Refrain from patting yourself on the back. Studies actually show that if you tell everyone that you’re planning on doing something, you get the same emotional response as if you had actually completed the task. Ex. if you say “I’m going to run a marathon,” and everyone gives you a thumbs up and says “great” before you’ve even bought a pair of running shoes, this little convo can stop you from following through with your initial plan; you already received validation. So be hard on yourself. Keep chugging along whether or not others cheer you on. The reward comes from the journey itself, not only the result.
4. Acknowledge those who doubt you, but don’t let them slow you down. There will always be people that think what you are doing is crazy/not worth your time/impossible/silly/whatever – but that’s why it’s your dream, not theirs. Use any concern and skepticism as fuel. Just like a drill sergeant who whips you into shape, let their words ring in your ears just long enough to light a fire under you. Then go. Do, create, be, and never look back.
5. Keep going. No matter what. Even if the path does not take you where you expected it would, you’ve learned something. And your brain thanks you for it, I’m sure of it.
I say we yearn to leave something that lasts
To be known for what little we’ve done
Men tell their children the tales of their past
And each man gives his name to his son
Something in song or in story
Something in blood, something of glory
Something that won’t fade away in a year
– “I Was Here” from The Glorious Ones
Why create? A question with a million answers. Is it merely to communicate in a method stronger than words – in a language that has no boundaries? Is it because there is an innate need, a hunger to get something out? An expression of a conversation with one’s soul?
The most valuable thing that we have as humans is the ability to feel. Every experience, however difficult or challenging, leaves its impression. And creativity stems from a feeling: a twinge of anger, utter confusion, insatiable wonder.
Creativity can also help to stave off the feelings of insignificance when confronted with one’s own impermanence. When an individual comes to terms with the fact that life is short – a blip on the universe’s timeline – what better reaction than to try to leave something behind. A marker of one’s existence.
If you are only going to watch one video on creativity in your entire life, let it be this talk that Elizabeth Gilbert gave in 2009. Every single moment is worth it. Here’s to the “genius” inside each and every one of us.