Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘daydreaming

When was that you Day Dreamed a Utopian Project?

Note: Re-edit of “Did you Day Dream a Utopian Project?.  May 20, 2009

Did you Daydream a Utopian Project? (May 19, 2009)

Have you day dreamt of a utopian project?  I have so many times day dreamt of projects that were to be ideal in profitability, organization, equitability, fairness,…

Projects that encourages and promotes individual creativities, and leaving plenty of free time for individual accomplishment and continuing education.

There are moments in any one of these projects where the more utopian you strive for the more variables you have to contend with.

Every detail generates its own set of variability, and quickly the interactions are too many for the mind to coordinate and analyze.

Suddenly, you end it as abruptly as in happy movies.

Yes, it is complicated but everybody should be living happily ever after.

Then you are carried by curiosity: you want to take the dreamt up project further to its ultimate glory.

The more you resolve complicated interactions among people, the more your solutions revert to totalitarian solutions and the more your answers smack of a one party regime reactions to diversities.

Then I realize that, fundamentally, I am No better than any dictator who managed to amass enough power to exercise coercions at will.

Utopias are dangerous exercises of the mind and they sting potently the trust in our potentials to fairness and equitability.  

The only utility to dreaming up utopia is to vent up the bottled up anger of helplessness to act and change.

Utopias are far more dangerous when a restricted and select caste of elites assemble to apply and enforce their sick view of an ideal society.

Utopias are not the solution and never will improve human conditions.

Read any samples of Utopias from Plato, to Thomas Moore, and to the Zionist ideology and you will realize that the end product is a subdivision of society by caste systems where people rule and the lower strata produce and serve. The end product is a huge set of rules and regulations that can put to shame the gigantic daily constraints of the Jewish Pharisee sect.

Study the Utopias of those who managed to horde power from Napoleon, to Bismarck, to Hitler, to Mussolini, to Lenin, to Stalin, to Mao Tse Tong, and finally to Bush Jr./Cheney and the end product was destruction, utter humiliation of the people, hate crimes, and genocides.

There are other kinds of utopias.

You have those forecasting the future, fifty years from now, in all sorts of topics such as political systems, emergence of new superpowers, technological breakthrough, social conditions, trends of how fast people will die of famine, and the increase in social divides among the wealthy and the dregs.

Sure, those forecasters inevitably claim that they are analyzing current trends if all conditions remain controlled, though they have no idea what are those conditions and how they are controlled. 

Forecasting the future is another way of thinking aloud individual utopia because no one is forecasting without strong biases as to his present mind set.

It is important to have a strategy in any planning for the long duration: It is the means to elaborate short-term projects that should converge to the grand idea for a fairer and equitable society at all levels of human rights and economic sustenance.

If the “tactical” short-term projects of less than a year to execute, evaluate and get acceptance by the community are Not carried out seriously, then the strategy will end up in catastrophic consequences to the society. Many of these strategies cornered communities into state of famine, violence and indignities…

Particularly, when the people in power and institutions are immuable figures that never relinquish their positions and are unable to change their biased mind set.

So far, the only valid forecasting time line is of six months; it is adopted by the analysts of market and fashion trends of the adapters in the age category of 20 to 30 years.

Actually, people do Not remember much of their desires and wants once a certain period has elapsed. People need to be frequently reminded of their intentions during previous evaluations and referendums.

The Nordic States in Europe have confidence in the educated opinions of their people and don’t mind to arrange for frequent referendum on any subject matter that divide the communities and to act upon. And this is “democracy” at work.

There is no doubt in my mind that promotional tactics biase people in believing that they are setting the trend by surfing the internet and disseminating their interests; but that’s how democracy should be at work.

Democratic systems should expose programs and disseminate them and then evaluate what people selected after a period of six months of diffusion among the active population.

Future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members’ interests, of a sort.

I am going to be talking to you about reading. I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do.

I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

 15 October 2013

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I’m an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults.

For about 30 years I have been earning my living though my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So I’m biased as a writer. But I am much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

I’m here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.

And it’s that change, and that act of reading that I’m here to talk about tonight. I want to talk about what reading does. What it’s good for.

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.

It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations

It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories.

A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy.

Also, do not do what this author did when his 11-year-old daughter was into RL Stine, which is to go and get a copy of Stephen King’s Carrie, saying if you liked those you’ll love this! Holly read nothing but safe stories of settlers on prairies for the rest of her teenage years, and still glares at me when Stephen King’s name is mentioned. (An awkward sentence that I didn’t get)

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know.

You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.

Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.

You’re also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And it’s this:

The world doesn’t have to be like this. Things can be different.

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if “escapist” fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it?

And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with and books are real places, make no mistake about that.

And more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.

As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.

Another way to destroy a child’s love of reading, of course, is to make sure there are no books of any kind around. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up.

(I patronize a supposedly private library that closes during holidays. When kids are supposed to visit a library? And I go to library because at home no one encourages to read)

I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the children’s library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the children’s’ library I began on the adult books.

They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader – nothing less or more – which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.

But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education, which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university, about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.

I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.

I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories – they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.

In the last few years, we’ve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003.

That’s about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before – books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is.

Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.

Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.

Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open.

According to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, England is the “only country where the oldest age group has higher proficiency in both literacy and numeracy than the youngest group, after other factors, such as gender, socio-economic backgrounds and type of occupations are taken into account”.

Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce.

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

I think we have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting. All of us – as readers, as writers, as citizens – have obligations. I thought I’d try and spell out some of these obligations here.

I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.

We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.

We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.

We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not to attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.

We writers – and especially writers for children, but all writers – have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were – to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages.

One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers’ throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves

We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ‘ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. I’m going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. It’s this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city, exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things.

We have an obligation to make things beautiful. Not to leave the world uglier than we found it, not to empty the oceans, not to leave our problems for the next generation. We have an obligation to clean up after ourselves, and not leave our children with a world we’ve shortsightedly messed up, shortchanged, and crippled.

We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.

This is an edited version of Neil Gaiman’s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London.

The Reading Agency’s annual lecture series was initiated in 2012 as a platform for leading writers and thinkers to share original, challenging ideas about reading and libraries.

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Get rid of jobs others can do for you: And start working on your business

“When you get rid of every job you do that could be done by someone else, something needs to fill your time.

And what you discover is that you’re imagining growth, building partnerships, rethinking the enterprise (working on your business instead of in it, as the emyth guys would say).

Right now, you don’t even see those jobs, because you’re busy doing things that feel efficient instead.” – Seth Godin

(I call this lovely break “Daydreaming in details and in depth”)

The jobs only you can do

One of the milestones every entrepreneur passes is when she stops thinking of people she hires as expensive (“I could do that job for free”) and starts thinking of them as cheap (“This frees me up to do something more profitable.”)

Sign your work

We expect authors, painters and singers to identify themselves, to sign the work they do.

And surgeons and lawyers as well.

What about managers, committee members, engineers and everyone else who makes something?

Who made this policy? Who designed this menu? Who approved this project?

If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it. If you are proud of what you achieved, sign your work and own the results.

We’ll know who to thank.

If you work for a place where work goes unsigned (internally, in particular) it’s worth asking why.

(A team of 8 members working on the same project invest half their energy, relying on the other members to cover up for their inactions. So make a habit of signing every milestone of what you did)

Highly Creative People? What they do differently?

Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities. It may also change based on situation and context.
 
Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition, and may be distinct from the thinking process.
 
I lately watched a documentary on the “plasticity” or malleability of the brain, on how people born with half a brain acquire the capabilities of the missing brain. 
 
Carolyn Gregoire@huffingtonpost.com posted this March 4, 2014                                  

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently   

(A list of too many things that are not necessarily related to creativity?)                                                                         

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. 

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, and the right brain = creative and emotional).

In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. (I’m doubtful)

And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people.

Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

daydreaming child

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time. (I’m glad I have a specific category called Daydreaming projects, and wish I could get feedback)

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

(Daydreaming projects are necessarily very detailed and produce the objections to moral and safety issues that the project may be lacking…)

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night.

Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed.

No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

solitude

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art.

An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

solo traveler

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

resilience

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

people watching

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important … They’re keen observers of human nature.”

They take risks. 

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

self expression

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition.

Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

creative writing

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level.

Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

doodle

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where other don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

“Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.

And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways.

A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski are taking The Third Metric on a 3-city tour: NY, DC & LA.  Tickets are on sale now at thirdmetric.com.

How to sit with your thoughts: 3 phases technique
On September 6, notesby.me published his follow up article. It might be interesting to read the first post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/linking-prozak-to-mass-media-how-thinking-can-be-so-painful/ in order to realize how an idea can be carried through to resolution. This article is self-contained though to comprehend the concept. I performed minor editing.

“Today, as I’m sitting with my thoughts in front of the rising Sun, I see my thoughts with such rare clarity; the clarity I wish I have all the time.

I see 3 phases that my thoughts go through. The 1st phase, I call «Distraction»: It is synonymous with Mass Media, Prozac, and iTunes. That’s the phase where I daydream. I create virtual scenarios that are more pleasant than reality; a beach in Hawaii, being invisible, being a virtual character living an adventurous ideal life…. By doing that, I distract myself from the thoughts caused by real-life incidents.

Ironically, although technically I seem to be sitting with my thoughts, I’m actually still distracting myself from them. It is dawning on me, I think, that meditation might just be another way to distract myself from the thoughts that matter: While meditating, I visualize virtual worlds (daydreaming), I repeat a mantra (can’t think in parallel), I focus on breath (can’t focus on the thoughts at the same time.)

It just might be that meditation relieves me from stress and emotional pain, by distracting me from the causes of pain (Prozac?). I’m not attacking meditation, since I meditate myself. I’m only suggesting that maybe there needs to be a time for sitting with my thoughts, just like there are needs for time for meditating (which helps me deal with those thoughts.)

This of course contradicts the core teachings of most meditation schools. These schools discourage “meditators” from allowing their thoughts to flow freely; ideally 24/7. I hope you now get the idea why I called the 1st phase «Distraction».

Phase 2 starts when I become aware of «Distraction».  I call the 2nd phase «Acceptance». That’s when I push away the distracting daydreams. Immediately, the reality of my life flows in. I’m aware of the problems and conflicts. I’m aware of where I am now in life, as opposed to where I want to be. At this point, daydreams and distractions start to interfere again, in an effort to take me away from the pain of the realization.

Obviously that’s a sign that I’m in denial. It’s only when I discard the daydreams and stick to the reality of my life, that I start accepting my reality and all its problems. And when I do that, when I accept the pain of realization, when I watch all my thoughts with acceptance, that’s when I’m ready to move to the 3rd phase.

Once I accept my thoughts, I’m well on my way to resolving them. I call the 3rd phase «Resolution». I process the thoughts as they come. I think through each one until, arbitrarily, another one comes along.

Except that the thoughts don’t come arbitrarily. Because naturally, in this phase, my mind feeds my problems from the most painful to the lesser painful.

I realized that my mind in this resolution phase has a natural tendency to automatically start solving any problem it comes across (assuming I’ve broken out of denial, and accepted reality. Otherwise, my mind flees into the comfort of distraction.) And as my mind tackles a problem, suddenly another thought appears, and my mind starts tackling that other problem.

I allow this to happen for a simple reason, which you might have guessed by now. Let’s say my mind feeds me the most painful thought 1st: thought ‘A’. My mind then starts resolving thought ‘A’. As soon as thought ‘B’ comes along, this means that my mind has resolved thought ‘A’ enough for it to be less painful than thought ‘B’. Thus ‘A’ gets replaced with ‘B’ and so on. But at any time the 1st phase can reappear and sweep me into Lalaland. I can’t let my guard down.

The 3rd phase is actually pleasant and relieving. It feels as if an ancient tension is finally getting resolved. I look forward to it in the early morning as the Sun rises.

Rather than distracting yourself with daydreaming, Mass Media, Prozac, iTunes, or even a game of Solitaire, try accepting reality for a change. Denial ‘might’ just be the hidden ‘source’ behind our pain. Now that we have an idea of what this source might be, isn’t it time to stop treating the symptoms?

Try going from «Distraction» to «Acceptance» to «Resolution», and share with me your experience.” (End of quote)

I assume that notesby.me experienced that the most painful comes first for resolution.  Maybe the brain is more flexible to accommodate the potential of a person to treating first the kinds of resolvable pain.  For example, with older people and individuals who failed in their first attempt, the mind might display lesser painful thoughts so that success will generate the necessary catalyst and motivation to resolving the more painful thought. Or I wish the mind is enough intelligent, compassionate, wanting to succeed in order not to harass a willing individual into retracting easily from a second try.

Consequently, night dreams and daydreams may extend solutions, if and only if, you accepted to deal with the painful thoughts.  You have set the proper background to permit any means to come to the rescue of any resolution.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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