Thursday, February 4, 2010

In a Rut? Get Creative

Apparently, it’s not that difficult to be more creative. Csikszentmihalyi suggests a variety of steps to take in order to do so. These are some steps that I found interesting, and fairly easy to implement. As in all tasks worth mastering, climbing out of a rut does take a bit of doing, so beware: some work is involved.

Enhancing your curiosity and interest in the world is a good start. Incorporate surprise into your daily life.

Be surprised – notice how things are unusual, different and interesting. This could be something as simple as noticing the pot bellied pigs I passed on my drive the other morning. Wow! I don’t see too many of those on a daily basis. They’re kind of cute.

Surprise someone – be different in what you do, say or how you look. Have a meaningful conversation with someone you normally just say hi to.  I could have surprised those pigs by starting a conversation with them.

Investigate surprising things – if I’d been more open to my experience, I would have pulled over and had a good look at those pigs. If I’d really been thinking I’d have whipped out my phone and taken a picture which I could have used for this blog.
Another tip for developing your creativity is to get in flow, i.e., bring more flow to your life.

Daily positive goals – have a goal each day that you look forward to. It doesn’t have to be big or particularly significant in the grand scheme of things. Just important to you, like finding out about your kid’s day after school (good luck with that one). Meeting goals gets us in flow.

Do it well – putting your all into any activity (be it running, walking or meditating) makes it more enjoyable. Do one thing at a time; no multitasking here. Concentrate on what you’re doing and focus all your attention on it. When you’re pushing yourself pleasantly hard, you can get in the zone.

Increase the difficulty – where possible, once you’ve mastered the basics, push yourself further. So you know how to make lasagna. But can you make a healthy, low fat yet tasty lasagna? Pushing the limits increases the likelihood of having a flow experience.
On your upward climb out of the mundane, a few baby steps are a great start.  Know that it’s like walking vs running. It’s a hell of a lot easier to start walking than running, but walking still good exercise on the road to health. And you know you can trust NPR on that.

Music to get creative with:  Check out Ke$ha’s Tik Toc.  This chick is really in the flow, and she’s not just another pretty face.

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