Tag Archives: Creativity

World seems to promote random thinking and remembering; but that actually demotes you!

Random thinking! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Pick up popular articles on personality development. One of the traits they encourage you to develop is to entertain random thoughts for innovativeness and creativity. Mentors or coaches would surmise that uncontrolled thoughts are pre-requisite to out-of-box thinking!

Godmen, gurus and preachers would exhort you to keep god’s name on your tongue and picturize him in your mind throughout the day.

We love to remember who are dear to us repeatedly, even when we are engaged in our work. Those, who hurt us or we are biased against, never go away from our mind. We feel compelled to recall images of our role models all the time. Things we are passionate about, are just hooked in our imagination. In the name of dedication and diligence, scientists, researchers or technocrats eat, drink and dream their work.

Do such random thoughts and remembrances help or hurt?

Implications of random thinking and remembering

  1. Thoughts for who you love
    It is most fascinating to keep thoughts in mind for who you love – your spouse, children or friend/s. You keep thinking repetitively how much you love them or how much they love you.
    What you don’t seem to notice is:
    1. Does repeat thinking of love enhances or endangers it?
      Studies have shown it slowly turns into obsession or revulsion!
    2. It builds up your expectations from who you love. When expectations are not met, you feel disenchanted.
    3. You tend to compare who you love more and who less, as also keep a watch on your loved ones, thereby encouraging a conflict in mind. 
    4. If your loved ones have committed mistake or misbehaved with you, your random thoughts exaggerate same.
    5. Your love could turn into lust.
    6. You tend to find flaws with loved one and that sows seed to grow your biases.
      This is how most relationships come on the rock!
  2. Thoughts for whom you respect
    There is a notion developed by most us albeit without noticing it that people we respect should be remembered frequently. Implications are:
    1. Your personality would be overshadowed by who you respect and develop a kind of blind faith in him/her.
      If he/she does good to you, you would be extra grateful; but, if he/she does wrong, you would gloss over. This is your big gaffe!
    2. Because of your respect, you would tend to suppress your feelings or dissent with the person.
    3. When your faith that the person is flawless fractures, you would be crest fallen and drift away from him/her furiously!
  3. Remembering god randomly
    We all believe that remembering god randomly and most time does good to us.
    1. What do you do by remembering god randomly – recall his image, offer prayers or gratefulness or ask for favors? You can either do it casually or seriously. If you are doing it casually, your faith is actually superficial and doing it seriously has always selfish motives attached.
    2. When you make god privy to your work, you set your expectations on him to give you results, regardless of qualitative aspect. Is not it hypocrisy?
    3. God is too great to get a credit from you; but you would conveniently discredit him for your distress or ills! 
  4. Remembering your bête noire!
    This is most easily done! Like it or not, your rivals or baiters occupy maximum space in your mind. You think randomly against whom you are biased and keep building your negative emotions. You would rarely think of them for a right purpose – align with or win over them!
  5. Random thoughts for creativity
    Common conviction is creativity needs random thoughts. But that is only partly true.
    If you think thousand different things, some are bound to be creative or off-beat. But, what we are not thinking is how much time, energy and efforts are required to think those thousand things. Is there is an easier and effective way?
    There is indeed one – your mind is most creative, when it is fully focused and has no conflict of thoughts! 

A careful thought on above would reveal that random thought/remembering promotes prejudices, pessimism, egotism, obsession or depression. It is also a huge distraction.

Thinking or remembering for a right or rational reason!

No doubt, everyone thinks or remember things for a reason; but what is regressive is mixing it with too much of random thoughts. Usual chore is – it is harmless! No, research has revealed that it is quite harmful and hurts your mental and even physical being, apart from maladies mentioned above!

When you evoke your thoughts and memories for love, respect, faith or beliefs for a right or rational reason, their value enhances and you actually take them to elevated level. If you do same randomly without purpose, you grope in past and goof in present. Your productivity, creativity and innovativeness are at peak, when you think and remember just for a rational reason!

Dropping random thinking is not easy; but practice and focused mind would minimize it. Reminding yourself regularly that random thinking creates huge problems over time would dissuade you from same. 

Thinking for a right reason means – when there is occasion to express your love to the loved one, you do it consciously and with no inhibition. Bring respect by heart when you deal with respected ones. When someone is in pains or trouble, don’t get mired in repeated thinking over his/her state. Think consciously how you can help alleviate his/her problems and provide that help; otherwise just have kind feelings for that person and stop. When it comes to work or developing innovative ideas, think and concentrate only when you are on it and not haphazardly. As regards god, be clear why and when you want to remember – want to offer prayers, do that but don’t couple that with random thoughts of ulterior motives. Expecting anything from god makes it a wrong reason to remember him!

So, thinking and remembering things for a right reason help you realize your true potential and save huge energy, which you spend unknowingly, on irrational, inefficient and inert thoughts!

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Baggage that you carry at the back of your mind is your biggest bottleneck!

Baggage at back of mind! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

One fine morning you get up with bad feelings and start to wonder what has happened to you today! You feel tired or lazy; things look hopeless and you witness lot of things going wrong. You are unable to figure out what has really gone wrong. Your health, blood pressure and everything around you are otherwise as good as previous days.

Some leaders are great communicators. However, you would notice that on some occasions, they are extra-ordinarily effective and inspiring; but there are instances when they do a lousy job. Why? Females are known to have mood swings. Medical sciences surmise that it is because of hormonal changes. Do the swings of what is at the back of their mind swing their hormone levels or hormones swing what is going on in their mind is really not known to science.

There are several star sportsmen like Roger Federer in tennis, Lionel Messi in soccer etc. Sometimes, they are in the best form and other times, they can’t keep with their track records. Why?

The reason behind each of above examples is “What is at the back of his/her mind”, which holds concerned person back; impairs his/her performance; does not allow to do what one attempts to do!

What we mean by “What is at the back of mind”

Though it is a very common term, people seldom know its complete meaning and colossal effect.

Thoughts, information and/or images from your past memory, which are passively present in your mind constitute what is at the back of your mind. Your mind might be actively witnessing an action or making you to perform an action; but these Thoughts, Information and/or Images (TII) constantly influence or rather get mixed up with what you are actively engage with – thoughts or tasks. Sometimes you are aware about it and sometimes you don’t even realize this!

Your beliefs, faith, habits, biases, ego, obsession, fear, anger, anxiety liking or disliking are always part of TII!

Now is the key information hitherto little known – what is at the back of our mind (passively present) has been termed for centuries as “Subconscious mind”! On other hand, what is being witnessed now (actively present) is our “Conscious mind”!!

“What is at the back of mind” is more a bane than blessing!

If you believe that having things at the back of your mind i.e. in subconscious mind do good to you, then start to rethink.

Things that can reside at the back of your mind are countless. Some of the significant ones are:

  1. Love or respect for someone
    If it is balanced, it is bound show up for a right reason and at a right time. Then, it works well. But if you are overwhelmed, then it resides at the back of your mind. You would tend to overdo and in that process, mess it up.
  2. Past performance or incidences
    When you are able to pull from your memory only lessons learnt, it would help. Instead, if you keep images of past incidences at the back of your mind, it would lead to over or under confidence and that would impair your performance, rather than improving it!
  3. Anger, anxiety, fear or stress
    These rampantly reside at the back of mind of everyone, cause most issues and mood swings. These lead to pessimism and hopelessness.
  4. Attention deficit and absent mindedness
    These are the prime causes of mistakes and mishaps.
  5. Prejudices and ego
    These are foundation stones for arrogance, split personality, irritation and tendency to blame or pass on buck to others!
  6. Multitasking
    Only when you keep several tasks or items at the back of your mind that you would multitask. Although most people defend merits of multitasking, it actually messes up their efficiency.
  7. Feeling pain in the body
    When feeling of body pain remains at back of your mind, it is frustrating and nagging. If you divert your mind i.e. take it away from back of your mind, then pain decreases or disappears. 
  8. Feeling lethargic or inertia
    There are days, when you feel withdrawn or lackluster; enthusiasm in you is missing and initiative lacking. You are at loss to understand, what has happened to you. These symptoms are because you are passively struggling with your thoughts at the back of your mind, leading to confusion and reaction and that alters levels of mainly 3 hormones in your body – Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine.

What is at the back of mind is a burden, you must get rid of!

Right from childhood, mind gets so used to keeping thoughts, images and information (TII) at the back of mind that we start to believe that it is a necessity and we can’t live without same. This belief has been further reinforced by innumerable books and articles on importance of subconscious mind, which as a matter of fact promotes keeping things at the back of mind, albeit only positive ones. What one forgets – if you keep positive things at the back of mind, it is impossible to prevent negative things to also creep in! 

My research for years has revealed that whatever is at the back of your mind – good or bad – it does not do anything good to you! It is a burden worth dumping it away!! Some of you may then start to wonder what would happen to your knowledge, notions, traits or beliefs. 

It is too simple to believe what can work wonders:

  • Practice to keep knowledge/information, ideas and images in your memory but not at the back of your mind.
    Let it not be passively present in your mind; allow it to sleep in your memory. 
  • Do your things unmindful of your past; don’t prejudge or predefine; just witness whatever is happening.
  • Allow your conscious mind to take control and respond to what you witness.
    You would be amazed to see how your mind would automatically fetch knowledge or information from your memory right at nick of time or as needed.
    Most innovations, creativity, breakthroughs and successes have come to people, when their mind was functioning like this!!!

So, a mind without any baggage at its back is amazingly powerful, peaceful and progressive! Any elaboration further would only belittle its phenomenal effects; you need to experience it by doing it!!

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Fine dividing line between Passion and Obsession or Dogma/Doctrine!

Passion to live in a home! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

On the face of it, this topic may not be very interesting to you. But hang on a bit and think it over – you want to do what you love or you want to love what you do? Which of the 2 options you choose can make a difference of day and night! If you believe that, you must know the following:

In modern corporate life, time and again you would hear – you must be passionate about what you do; in other words, you must love what you do. How does that differ from desire to do? What happens, if your love changes to lust? Is it not the same as passion changing to obsession?

No leader had ever become laudable, unless he/she had passion for what he/she pursued! Look at some examples – Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos of Amazon Inc.

But, then there are also very successful personalities like Michelangelo, Michael Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham or Donald Trump – Republican Party hopeful for 2016 US Presidential election. They have been adjudged by many as obsessive. Even Charles Darwin was known to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). How about Vladimir Putin – current Russian President, who is a real hero in the eyes of his countryman? He is dogmatic!

Now, see the effect of fine line between passion versus obsession or dogma. According to author Joshua Kendall, Steve Jobs was obsessive. Though he made Apple as the most imaginative successful company in the world, his obsession costed him happiness, health and family! Though Winston Churchill has been acclaimed as a passionate statesman, he had visibly showed signs of being dogmatic!!

Distinguishing passion from obsession or dogma/doctrine

Here below are the key differences among the three:

  1. Passion is consequence of consciousness; whereas obsession is an emotion and dogma/doctrine is driven by strong biases.
  2. Passion means mindfulness; on other hands, obsession is mindlessness and d/d is rashness or even madness.
  3. Passion is backed up by rationale; but the base of other two is rigidity.
  4. Passion thrives on reasonableness; obsession on recklessness and d/d on ruthlessness.
  5. Passion is coupled with consideration and kindness; however, the other two are devoid of concerns and cultivate cruelty.
  6. Foundation of passion is wisdom; but obsession is weird and d/d is vindictive.
  7. Passion allows freedom to focus on all aspects of what you are passionate about; other two generate fear as well as focus on single aspect of what you are obsessed or dogmatic about.
  8. Passion has peace! Obsession or dogma/doctrine has noise and turbulence!!
  9. Passion is what you implement for self; obsession and d/d are what you impose on others.
  10. An impartial observer would love you for your passion but hate you for your obsession and dogma/doctrine! 

Notwithstanding the above, a very common and confusing element in three of these is very intense feeling, though in 3 different shades, for a person, object, idea or activity; only the method to execute the same and attitude underneath change! 

Preventing to cross-over from passion to obsession or dogma/doctrine!

When you become passionate, you come on a slippery slope and can easily slip into obsession or dogma/doctrine and hence, always be aware of perils of the latter two illustrated in ten points above!

Catch the phrase mentioned in the beginning of this article once more – “What works – Do what you love or love what you do”. There is an extra-ordinary meaning behind this ordinary phrase! 

If you do only what you love or like, you would run eminent risk of converting your love into lust; make a maniac. If your passion for beauty migrates to love for body, you would fall prey to obsession. If you love or respect only God or godmen, and not godly messages and acts, it would generate in you religious fanatic. Your focus or passion for your duties is what would turn into great performance and ownership; however, doing it for love or attracting attention of employer/s would no doubt brand you loyal but make you laggard!

If you only do what you like or love, you would tend to overlook or omit what you ought to do, because you may not love that. This is what seemed to have troubled Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and several famous leaders. 

True passion is to love what you do and not love for whom you do! Love your objectives and not the objects to achieve same! If you put your trust in this, you can never transgress into obsession or dogma or doctrine!!

Passion is always positive! Apart from bringing to you what is elaborated in above points, it makes you highly focused and dedicated, brings you tremendous purpose and ownership and promotes innovation and creativity at the same time. It is in your hands to develop your passions. Never carry false notion of passion being necessarily a gift of your genes. To be passionate for what all you do should be your top agenda!

Best option is to determine and develop passion after setting your goals. Whereas passion and goals are individually golden, alignment of the two together is what makes it platinum and that also helps you to prevent crossing the fine dividing line between what is desired and what is to be damned!

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Creativity and Innovativeness come, when we kill fear and create freedom!

An Innovative idea! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

All of us need to be a good manager, supervisor or go getter; but that alone is not be good enough to keep us going. After a certain point, we experience a level of saturation, things appear to have come to a plateau or we face a knot. What was motivating becomes monotonous; excitement ebbs and our performance becomes poorer for what we were otherwise good at!

Everyone encounters above phase or phenomenon consciously or unconsciously. Only exceptions are those who are creative or innovative! Creativity and innovativeness are 2 qualities, which you need to keep your interest and initiative alive and drive in the fast lane. Common perception is that one can run her/his life without these 2 qualities. Yes, one can but then, it would lack luster, liveliness and charm. It would be mired in inertia and comfort zones!

Further, the most talked about word is “Change”. But, most of us are ignorant that very important constituents of “Change” are creativity and innovativeness. Then, there is a misconception that creativity and innovativeness are gifts of God or it comes through genes and it is difficult to develop the same. Such ideas need to be dumped; if you make an efforts, you can become creative and innovative at any stage of life. Only obstacle is the wall built by you in your mind! Key to become creative and innovative is to overcome fear and own freedom!!

Look at some of the top creative and innovative people, who have changed the world and lives of billions – Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Larry Page of Google. They have discovered path breaking ideas to usher dramatic change/s. Most common characteristics with all of these people are or were fearlessness and freedom to think!

Fear and freedom are nothing but opposite states of our mind! So, how to drive fear away and derive freedom?

Overcoming fear!

Fear is essentially a negative emotion, which emerges out of past negative experience or memories. Challenge is that there are host of negative emotions arising from your past – anger, anxiety, arrogance, greed, obsession ad like. You can’t pick and choose one negative emotion i.e. fear and believe that you can drop same. Doing that would only have temporary effect and then it would resurface, because you are still holding on to other negative emotions! As a matter of fact, you would be surprised to know that you should not be passionate about positive emotions like pleasure, thrill, ecstasy or even consolation arising out of your past experience or memories. Reason is that when you recall such positive emotions from past, you would not be able to help prevent negative emotions also from past to surface. This is one of the main reasons, why most people are not able to overcome their fears!

The best bet is to use past memories as a source of knowledge but never a source of emotions! It is the emotions that evolve out of present, which alone can give you excellent feelings and make you frolic!! 

So, to drop fear:

  1. Do not give importance to emotions, which are connected with your past memories. Ignore!
  2. Minimize your preconceived notions.
  3. Believe in putting trust on people and banish doubts.
  4. Focus on efforts but not on results.
  5. Practice to drop hesitation or inhibitions.

Owning freedom!

There is lot of ill-conceived notions about freedom. Freedom does mean right to express oneself through any medium and working at one’s own will. But, many consider getting bound by duties and discipline is loss of freedom, which is bunk. Freedom does not mean exercising no control or restrain and be able to do freely what you desire.

You can own freedom, only when you accept that others have a right to own their own (freedom)! Freedom has more to do with absence of mental barriers or restrictions than physical barriers/restrictions; no doubt the latter is integral to freedom but it loses meaning without the former!!

Now, to own freedom:

  1. First and foremost is to overcome fear, as mentioned above.
  2. Be prepared to break conventions and customs, if need be.
  3. Be an optimist and open minded.
  4. Drop hard notions and prejudices.
  5. Traits, habits and ego could be show stoppers for your freedom.
  6. Believe that nature offers infinite possibilities and mankind has so far discovered only a small portion of the same.
  7. Biggest challenge to your freedom or free thinking comes surprisingly from your faith, culture, traditions, rituals, gurus, mentors and role models. You generally need them for a guided and balanced life; but at the same time, they inculcate in you predetermined ideas and perceptions, and hence limit your ability to go beyond, explore and experience something entirely new.
    So, you need a very careful tradeoff between traditional beliefs/practices and true freedom!

To conclude, it is a glorious idea to get rid of fear and ride on freedom, which would bring creativity and innovativeness well within your reach and you would be able to reap rich fruits!!

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How our beliefs & habits get built and why we need to break some!

Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Our beliefs build our character and habits shape our personality! Are our beliefs or habits gifts from destiny/divinity or products from our genes or DNA? Many tend to believe that it is; but that is not true. Our genes or DNA may influence some tendencies e.g. not recognizing impending dangers like legendary car racer – Michael Schumacher, being fearful or sensitive to changes. Most beliefs and habits get built unconsciously through our life time; though some form through our conscious efforts.

One of my former colleagues was very messy and disorganized; albeit very creative. His supervisor arranged couple of training programs to change him; but that would not have much impact. Subsequently, he got an opportunity to go to Germany on deputation for 2 year assignment. When he returned back, he had dramatically changed in his habits. He would keep his office highly organized and pay attention to every details. He became very conscious of what he would do; though this change came at the expense of his creativity!

On changing beliefs, there are several real stories on how life of famous or ordinary people saw a dramatic difference in their beliefs like believer of violence to become non-violent or honest ones becoming dishonest when faced with difficulties.

Above substantiates the fact that habits are what you harbor and beliefs are what you build! And when you build, you also acquire capability to break!!

How habits and beliefs are formed

Seed of habit or belief is an idea, which comes in your mind as a sequel to your observation. If this idea comes repetitively in your mind through seeing, reading, listening or thinking, it gets rooted in your mind.

Those ideas or thoughts, which result into physical activities on a repetitive basis becomes your habits. These physical activities do mean that your body sensory and nervous systems would work in sync with such thoughts. Thoughts, which remain mental but repetitive, become your beliefs. Beliefs would drive or impact your behavior and other ideas.

Why habits?

If you go back to early phase of evolution of human race or any other living being, habits were formed only for 2 basic reasons – Health and Safety. But, you consciously or unconsciously form many more habits, which have no relation with your health and safety e.g. getting angry when something does not get done, putting hands in pockets of trouser while talking to someone, lying down on sofa while watching TV and so on. Why do you need these habits? You never raise questions.

Observe carefully – habits, which have nothing to do to secure good health and safety, are either harmful or hurt your efficiency! These would kill your focus or health itself like smoking or taste for junk food!!

Why beliefs?

Original idea behind beliefs getting formed or developed is always that it gives you happiness or in layman’s term – peace of mind or comfort level. It is only later that belief which was meant to give happiness, takes shape of faith, fundamentalism or fanaticism!

All beliefs, which are not linked to your happiness, are actually banes! Belief of a boss that by empowering his employees, he would lose power is bunk. It is not aimed at happiness; it is meant to boost his ego, since he wants employees to gravitate towards him by becoming center of power. People seldom notice amount of beliefs that they hold, which are farcical, including so called corporate virtue – being paranoid!

Also, every belief has an ugly side – loss of openness and flexibility.

Challenge your habits and beliefs

If you find that your decency and dexterity do not deliver results, your honesty hurts, your sincerity sticks or you are trailing behind your peers despite terrific work, it certainly requires you to challenge and change your some of the habits and beliefs!

It is extremely relevant that –

  1. Your habits must be only those which would endure your health and safety.
  2. Your beliefs should only what would bring you happiness and do not hurt others.

Believe that it is only you who have built your habits and beliefs. What gets built also gets broken. Do not believe any psychiatrist, psychologist or physician, if they say or write to the contrary. You may need to overcome resistance that your mind can create. People have no clue how wrong habits hurt and beliefs belie what otherwise belong to you!

It is now high time that you take stock of and audit your habits and beliefs, list all those, which do not meet above 2 criteria and make an action plan to discard those gradually and with conviction.

You can’t imagine how you would rejuvenate and redeem yourself by realigning or
relinquishing irrelevant habits and beliefs!

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