Archive for October, 2014

creativity

Photo credit Jef Safi, available from Flickr.

 

Have you ever seen a woman whose wardrobe is full of clothes but she has nothing to wear?
Have you ever seen a child whose room is filled with toys but he doesn’t know what to play with?
Have you ever caught yourself in an endless analysis of all possibilities yet unable to make a single choice?

I bet you have.

Yet ….

The very same woman can survive a month with a suitcase of clothes only.
The very same child can be thrilled by playing with airplanes made from paper.
The very same you can make a choice when presented with two options only.

***

We live in the world full of junk. We are overcrowded with toys, tools, ideas, gadgets and possibilities. Yet, the more is possible, the less clear it becomes what is important. Too many things and too many ideas. All of them seemingly important, of course.

We are stuck, unable to move forward.

More is less, because more overwhelms. The huge amount of information, possibilities and choices, keeps us in a state of indecision. This is very much related to the process of rational decision making. The brain wants to take all the information into account. However, once you have more than 5-7 pieces of information to consider, your brain runs in vicious circles. The brain needs a simple criterion to optimize, but with the abundance of information, some partial or contrary, it becomes a mission in vain.

Unless you choose a path with a heart, you may get stuck in analysis paralysis for years.

***

When I was a kid we used to have a very few toys because they weren’t many available. At that time, we developed lots of both simple and sophisticated ways to play with everything that was at hand. A long piece of elastic, a few skipping ropes, pebbles, sticks, conkers or old tires could have provided us with endless fun.

I don’t remember being ever bored. Why? Because everything around was potentially an inspiration for a good play. The imagination was wild enough to make use of it.

It is exactly the limited resources that inspire us to be creative. It is the lack that helps us move forward. It is the shortage that encourages us to invent.

Creativity lies in reduction. Creativity lies in limitation. Creativity lies in subtraction.

Open your eyes to recognize it.

***

Look at your life. If you are in a position in which you feel inferior to others because of your scarce resources, blessed you be!

It is exactly your lack of money, your lack of experience or skills that is your blessing in disguise.

Perhaps you lack communicating skills or perhaps you have some physical handicap. Perhaps you struggle to meet your ends. Perhaps you don’t know how to make a transition to a new carrier.

Blessed you be! 

Find a way around it. Make use of what you have at hand and ignore all shortcomings, resistance and social pressure.

As a child, you can have a great fun by playing with elastics, running games or role playing. You don’t need the best gadgets in the world to become highly intelligent, earn good money or have a great life. Once your creativity is awaken, you will forever enjoy your learning and hacking solutions to life setbacks.

You can have a fulfilling carrier by amplifying your skills and finding ways around or through the shortfalls and deficiencies. Once you unleash imagination and feel the excitement of working through and despite of your paucity, you will slowly develop novel ways of using the skills you do have. And with time, you will not only develop new skills that lie dormant, but also find new resources. You will become strong, visionary and innovative.

If you thought you could achieve this or that once you had a better education, richer parents or just by being smarter, you could be very wrong. Once you got everything you needed, you would likely find yourself unmotivated. You would be uninspired to act because there would be no satisfaction in getting things the easy way.

The fun comes through the rough ride, not an easy and smooth wandering. The toughness and roughness of the path make you excited and alive.

It is exactly what you didn’t have that made you who you are today.

Open yourself to the inspiration that comes from limited possibilities or scarce resources. Welcome your creativity back.

Life is a development process. It is a thrilling journey. Make it creative.

Blessed you be!

 

 

self-respect2

Photo courtesy Fe Langdon, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.

 

Self-respect is the courage to be yourself in any circumstances. Independently of how others think of you. You can simply face the inconvenience of not fitting in.

Indeed, self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others. It has nothing to do with reputation, achievements or recognition, either. It is a moral trait of Self that Self can only cultivate.

***

Life is hugely a learning journey and it helps to see yourself as a process that develops along or with it. Self-respect originates from knowing and liking the Self that unfolds in this learning.

If you have self-respect you have a kind of toughness and a moral discipline. You know your intrinsic value not because it has been acclaimed loudly, but because you can put your life in perspective, even when your exploration leads through a dark valley.

You train yourself to be resilient in any circumstances. You have the guts to be the norm and you have the guts to be a deviation from it.  It is ingrained in your consciousness.

***

Our grandparents knew everything about self-respect. They were raised in discipline that required them to do things they did not necessarily like or want to do. Things had to be done with diligence and obedience. And they were.

Doubts had to be kept away. Adversity was a daily encounter. There was a purpose of goals higher than their Selves.

***

Hardships shape character. Adversity makes us awake and active. It calls us to invent novel solutions.

Trials test patience and elicit talents which could have remained undiscovered, otherwise. They mold, groom and prune the sense of intrinsic worth, so much related to self-respect.

Learning to live a life of discipline and a delayed gratification is a way to build your self-respect. You are able to make a sacrifice of the immediate comforts for the sake of  higher goals or possible (yet unsure) future rewards. By doing this repetitively, you learn to discriminate between what is important and what is spurious.

People with self respect make mistakes and face the consequences of their decisions. Without self pity or complaining. They can even live and die unappreciated and disregarded, knowing that for themselves they reached for the highest goal.

***

If you have your self-respect, you have everything. The ability to discriminate, to love in freedom, without putting chains of dependency on others, and to remain indifferent, if necessary.

If you lack in self-respect, you are locked inside yourself, unsure of your decisions and moves, incapable of true partnerships. In the extreme case, you are merely doing things to please others, unable to set borders and limits. In search for approval, yet so empty inside.

***

Luckily …

Self-respect is a habit of mind, which can be developed and exercised. It starts from self retrospection, finding a place of reconciliation within. This is your haven, a place of authentic appreciation.

***

If there is one thing you can change it is daring to be yourself without the need of approval.

Step by step take responsibility for your life. Your thoughts, words and disciplined actions.

Enjoy spending time with yourself only. Appreciate your own presence. Observe your thoughts.

Become consciously grateful for your life.

And …

Stop being bothered by the opinions or comments of others. It is their view.
Stop looking at others for approval. No external prize will fully satisfy you.
Stop feeling intimidated by authority.  They are there to your service.

Stand up. Do ask questions to learn.
Accept errors and mistakes on your journey.
Be strong.

Above all …

Enjoy your journey.

***

In a society where many teenagers and adults lack the meaning of life, self respect has been vanishing too. Perhaps it is high time to discipline our minds to do things which we don’t particularly like to do. So that we can gain a perspective on whom we are becoming.