Just few days back, my cousin passed away in one of the most unfortunate ways possible. Ever since that incident, I have come to look upon “DEATH” in a different way. This post is more of a way of living than a HACK per SE. I already began this way of living a few months back. Since, then things have never been the same. Deadlines at work don’t seem so serious, I often get things done without breaking a sweat about it. I have even noticed I complete work faster than I used to before.
I have always wondered, when do people truly live? In what moments do they truly express themselves? Is it by living a life connecting themselves to a higher purpose and a richer context? Is it when they set ambitious goals and have a burning desire to get something done that bugs them? Is it just living a life that’s full of love and inspiration? I found that there are many ways to live. Heck, one can even renounce everything they have and just live a spiritual life. I’m not here to argue semantics of which path is the best and to take sides. I’m making a case to put forth this notion of living every day as it is your last without having to prove anything to anybody and us getting everything that’s inside of us out there in the “WORLD”.
What we need most in this world, is not more SKILLS, not more SMARTS, not more STRATEGY, but US SHOWING UP!
In our LIVES, AT WORK, every place wherever we are. What we are should define what we do and not the other way round.
We have got it all wrong by believing that we can’t be that or come up with self defeating beliefs that creativity is this esoteric, elusive that only a select few among us are able to demonstrate. I believe everybody in this world has their own music that’s unique to them which their HEART craves to sing. We choose to follow other people’s songs while being oblivious to what’s inside of us.
Now, how might we go around chasing / developing / searching / nurturing this spark in us? I believe the answer to it will come from us building rituals in our lives. We all at some point in our lives have had these streaks of creative insights, yet we wonder how often can we tap into this seemingly limitless reserve that seems to elude most of us.
I believe 200% that by building rituals in our daily lives everyday, we can unearth this by building rituals around these areas (I call them the seeds of creativity)
Building practices in each of this space provide us an under-guiding infrastructure for our creative process and positions us for those moments when we have to be brilliant at a moment’s notice.
So the dirty secret is this:
IF WE NEED TO BE BRILLIANT AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE, WE NEED TO BEGIN UPSTREAM FAR UPSTREAM FROM THE MOMENT WE NEED A BRILLIANT IDEA. ~ Todd Henry
Often, I ask my MENTORS what are the times that they get KICKASS ideas and go into states of “FLOW” and what is their process and invariably if I have to nail down one word before which they get that next ground breaking idea it’s
Space to be themselves, space to get their creative modes on.
Space to give their complete attention to the present by silencing that voice in our heads that feeds us distractions like this:
Oh! What has my BOSS planned to shove down my throat next?
How much am I going to make this year?
To ignore this serpent’s voice as Mooji so beautifully points out is what we ought to be doing!
It’s this perpetual sense that something out there is more important than something that’s in front of us. The first seed – ENERGY. I think there is no such thing as time management. It’s only how best we manage our energy. And we are abysmal at it. At work, in schools, we have meetings after meetings, period after period after periods of dis-engaged learning that saps our being. We need to be good about pruning and in creating space in our lives for ideas to emerge. When we first learn how to manage our energy everything else falls into place.
Think about it for a moment – we are energy beings first. We are not our body, neither our mind nor our heart. A lot of the physical manifestations of health in our body are due to energy blocks in our bodies.
The second seed – TIME. At the end of the day, where we put over time determines our success or failure. We choose to adopt an efficiency mindset versus an effectiveness mindset. I try to have the practice of unnecessary creating and you are reading it. For me, taking notes, researching and blogging about interesting stuff that pay me in no way monetarily (Yet!) gives me great satisfaction.
The question I ask myself is – When was the last time I made something that somebody wasn’t paying me to make?
Just play along with me –
Isn’t it an incredible way to spend your time inefficiently? 😀
Yes, I have got deadlines, my BOSS is waiting to breathe down my neck again starting tomorrow (Monday). I can just imagine the hindi song – “Khoon Choose Le” as it will resonate a lot with a lot of people who have heard that song. But, I believe this practice gives me more space to be more creative at a moment’s notice.
Let’s get deeper –
You can ask me
Why do this?
Why build practices?
Just so that we can respond to emails faster…
I can’t stop myself but ask – Why don’t many of us we ask questions like – Why are we on this earth?
Why should anybody care if I disappeared off the face of this earth tomorrow?
What will my legacy be? What is my purpose and how might I align with the purpose of life that is spontaneously emerging in silence through me in my flow states?
Yes, If I disappeared today. My family might cry a little bit.
What space do we occupy on this earth?
Have we really thought about this? – I always like to operate from a space where passion, life and spirituality come together!
The 3rd seed – STIMULI. It’s all about what we put in our head every single day. We spend all day watching soaps, YouTube not that there is anything wrong with that (But, it kind of is :-P). We snack on this diet all day long instead of finding experiences that nourish us to see the world in different ways. So what if, we have a life long study plan – to identify the things we are curious about and ask those questions to find ways to fill our lives with resources that help us pursue these deeper curiosities. Guess what, that’s where our mind want’s to go anyway! 🙂 What if we can become purposeful about our mental development. Isn’t this what the creative process comprises of?
The other seed of creativity – Relationships. The MYTH we have in our society is that of the LONE INNOVATOR. I think that there is no such thing and that’s just absurd even plain B.S. I think Innovation is more of a collective grasp for the next. As Steven Johnson says, we pursue the adjacent by getting more parts onto the table. I think we all can develop the art of asking powerful questions to a group of people like –
What are you working on?
What can we do to help you?
What inspires you?
These last three questions I have picked up from observing Akshay. So far, among all my mentors I haven’t seen anybody embody this as he does.
So, the last seed being FOCUS is really us developing the habit of asking the question on a monthly/daily/hourly basis – What am I really trying to do here? Until we get to the bottom of it on a consistent basis. I’m afraid none of us will go far in anything…..
Have we cared enough to build practices in our life that lets us explore such deeper aptitudes?
The reason is we live in a marketplace where everyone is chasing everybody else. We are always chasing the next. Everybody is trying to become the NEXT.
I ask – What is NEXT? Heck, when Steve Jobs passed away everybody had the debate on these lines:
Who is going to be the next Steve Jobs?
Maybe Elon Musk is coming close to him 🙂
A man who revolutionized multiple industries in a few decades. A genius who can never be replaced?
To this I wanted to say, I want to be the FIRST! Who cares about the NEXT?
I think this is a profoundly dis-interesting question and to do this I have to begin building a set of practices that gives me the capacity to explore my deeper aptitudes which is what I’m doing at one baby step at a time.
We each need to develop the capacity to find our unique gifts that we have to offer in this world.
I’ll leave you with a thought –
A few months ago, when I was traveling in Thailand, I sprung up a conversation with a fellow traveler who did so many amazing things in life for a living and he could see I was so amazed by his ability to do that and he popped a question to me
– What according to you is the most valuable land in the world?
Now, at that time I was thinking, Penthouse in Mumbai, Oil fields in the Middle East etc. To which he replied to me – it’s a GRAVEYARD. Because in there are buried all of the unwritten novels, unreconciled relationships, unlaunched businesses where people said –
I’LL GET TO THAT TOMORROW.
I’LL DO THAT TOMORROW.
ONE FINE DAY THEIR TOMORROW’S RAN OUT.
By this I don’t mean you pack up and keep doing everything in a hurry like there is no tomorrow. What I am inviting is you to completely devote yourself to a day according to what it is, the people you are around with, the impulse that is emerging through you through-out that day, honor it, live it while bleeding your purpose.
That day I didn’t give it much thought to it until recently, a dear friend and mentor of mine Kiran asked me a similar question, albeit in a different way. This incident just came to my head now while writing this post. I remember that day after talking to Kiran and after reading the book – Freedom From The Known by J. Krishnamurti, I had written in my TD (my transformation diary) this phrase –
LIVE FULL DIE EMPTY EVERY SINGLE DAY!
I think I will get this tattooed someday as well. \m/
At the end of the day today, I want to know that I have done everything in my power to empty myself of whatever’s in my head today, not tomorrow’s work but today’s work so I can lay my head down satisfied that I have done today’s work.
Because these practices have given me some amount of space to think about Why I’m here and to think Why I am doing what I am doing on a daily basis.
My invitation, no scratch that – challenge to you is to find your creative mandate that you have in the context of the society we live in, in the workplace to bring ourselves fully to what we do. Why can’t we treat our lives with purpose and structure so that someday when our tomorrow’s run out, we can say – we lived /died embodying our purpose and offering all our unique gifts that we only are destined to offer.