I recently read an article that demonstrated how the level of intense emotions we experience correlates to the level of creativity we demonstrate. Whaaat?!
That means that most working environments (I have experienced) kills creativity because, in general, it is not acceptable to demonstrate intense emotion. Please, go ahead and argue that one…
Yes there are some positive changes in the working environments but in general we are expected to keep emotional stuff to ourselves, especially the intense kind. Emotions are in general still not welcome at work.
Off-stage it is a different approach. Normally our private lives are filled with drama, colour and EMOTION. When I am alone in my car I will turn up the music and sometimes resort to some shout therapy in order to experience intensity. I just want to feel the intensity of life. The ups or the downs, but just feel! Truth, beauty, boldness, rejuvenation; just feel and feel intensely.
I want to go from just surviving to feeling alive today!
Right now as I write this post it is an expression of INTENSE emotion and passion to see a world where we get out of self-imposes imprisonment, live authentically and feel with intensity. It demonstrates the catalyst for and the power of creativity. It is to look beyond and fully comprehend what I cannot see. To be motivated to encourage others to step out, take risks and lead.
In the article the author differentiates, for example, between pleasant (which is low intensity) and desire (which is high intensity). If you get a chance to read the article, great! If you don’t have the time to read the article, just think about that one example of pleasant vs. desire. What do you desire?
Okay, just be careful here, I am not saying that if you desire a heap of cash you should go rob a bank. Use your common sense here.
…But I think you know what I mean – what are the things that are actually fueling the fire in your belly but that you allow to get extinguished by the day-to-day mundane. Because let’s be honest, it is your responsibility to act upon it or develop the patience to act upon it later (but not let it die in the meantime – be wise).
Bottom line: Where is the emotional intensity that propels us to create? Isn’t that why we are here? Are we not fundamentally part of a Great Creative Force?
Don’t we have a lovely world filled with big data, statistics, and, off course, comparisons! Everywhere we go we can see that we are not thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough or rich enough. Billboards, magazines and TV ads are jut a few of the wonderful sources we have that gives us the benchmark of the having-existence we need to conform to.
Once again, like last week, I ask what are you reading, listening to and watching? The global consumer economy is based on our willingness to compare ourselves to an irrelevant standard of having stuff that will seemingly make us deliriously happy.
I ask you to make only one comparison – Are you being the person you need to be in order to be you? What are the big things that you are avoiding on a daily basis – the quiet time you are skipping, the small thank you note you need to write to your loved one, the smile you need to wear when you are at the grocery store, the exercise routine that you finally need to incorporate in your LIFE.
Pick one and just do it!
It is a matter of urgency. Don’t tell yourself you can go without it for another day. Compare a life filled with joy, satisfaction, peace and abundance of spirit because you do things that matter vs. a life of postponement filled with empty things because you made the wrong comparison.
Go from survive to alive!
Wars are started on assumptions. Assumptions are dangerous things that creep in during the night and that are left alone in the corner of your mind and heart. Assumptions like I am okay; you are okay.
Perhaps it’s time to question some assumptions like I am okay or you are okay. Just because you can walk and talk like the rest of us hardly means you are okay. We just assume people are okay when we pass them in the street and perhaps they assume the same about us.
The hard work lies within – we have to go from surviving (because we rarely dig deep) to truly living today!
In my work as lecturer, facilitator and consultant I meet a lot of people that are fairly miserable in their jobs or their business. At the heart of this blog there is the message that you cannot simply get by every day and settle for second best. You are not doing anyone any favours by being kind of good, half-alive or okay. The reality is if you are okay today you are probably going to be rather disappointed tomorrow. …The trend doesn’t get any better.
Have you spent some time wondering about passion? Have you been frustrated enough in whatever you do to identify something that you are willing to stand up for – a conviction? Have you wondered about getting your dream job? I have been asked these questions a number of times by young and old alike. The answer is quite simple: It is in your hand. Instead of seeking the answer in the big things beyond your reach, start with your own dream. What can you see for yourself? It can be a year from now or fifty years from now. Heck! It can be a week from now…
Got it? Great! Now ask yourself what do you have right now that you have not yet explored 100% in order to make a move towards what you see? It could be a free course on Coursera or edX or the guidance of a mentor that is a phone call away. Perhaps it is a book that you bought but have not read yet. You will however find nothing if you believe there is nothing. Once you have identified a course, a friend, a mentor or a place to volunteer – whatever – jump in with everything you got and fully utilise the opportunity that you have identified. If it works out and it is what you should do, master it. If it doesn’t work out you have just learned about something in your life that you should probably stop doing and your dream has probably evolved and matured into something better. Get back on the horse and try the next thing.
If you master that specific job, task, opportunity, etc. and you are not dead yet repeat the process whenever you find yourself frustrated and continue with the journey until you breathe your last breath. Up until your expiry date you are still good to go and should let your curiosity evolve into a desire. Let your desire evolve into a dream. Let your dream fuel your motivation!
The point is that it is much more difficult to see any opportunity if you are looking too far ahead. Take the dream and connect the dots all the way back to where you are now. In this way you make a dream a reality and you use what is already there and perhaps easier to access. I have used this approach over the last fifteen years and through it I have worked across various industries and careers, consulted and facilitated to start-ups and corporates, moved to a different city, moved back again and with every change gained greater insight into who I am and the dream that guides me.
Here is the down-side and why few people attempt this: fear of failure. And now to put all of you at ease, yes, there is a fair chance that you could fail at some point, but you will be more alive than ever before. It is only through failure that our dreams can take shape and become real. In other words, if you have a dream but take no action in order to reach it, your dream in fact remains a fantasy. If you do take action and risk failure you take a step towards your dream and the closer you are to your dream the clearer it becomes. Experience is what successful people call their failure – on the path your dream leads you failure is your teacher.
Go from survive to alive!
After months of glorious introspection, reflection and redirection I am glad to say that I am gradually getting back into the blogging saddle. More than ever I am aware that writing is important. I believe it is important because I enjoy it, but it is also important because it has served as a platform where the unheard voices are united.
It has not only been an online conversation, but primarily I have experienced individuals speaking to me directly which has been inspiring.
This blog is all about living a life that is testimony to being alive and not merely breathing. Surviving is the same old routine every day. Surviving is never facing your fears. Surviving is doing what is safe and expected. Surviving is never fully committing to relationships. Surviving is taking, being busy and ‘me’. Surviving is command-and-control. Surviving is the majority.
Living is facing your fears. Living is accepting the challenge and laying another down. Living is doing things different, new and better today even if it means you will fail. Living is being, giving and ‘us’. Living is connecting and collaborating. Living is the minority.
This is the blog for the minority. This is where the real voice of meaning is heard. Its message is one of bravery, creativity, innovation and change. This blog is a challenge for better, every day!
The journey always starts with ourselves. If we think we can change the world without doing the hard work of facing ourselves in the mirror, we have already lost the battle.
So here is the warning: Don’t read or reply to these posts if you are not serious about seeing through the change in society that frees us from ourselves; that frees us from sheepwalking.
Likewise, here is the mandate that comes with this blog: Read very carefully and REFLECT! …Then partake in the discussion and pass it on to others with the same instruction.
Life is not too short; it is exactly long enough for us to do what we have to. Get going!
What do you measure by? Results are important but many times results come much later like fruit on a tree or grapes on a vine.
Many times in the past I have looked back when it seems like I am heading in the wrong direction and asked my parents if they think I have made a mistake. The answer that I mostly got was: “No, because we can see how much you have grown”.
Perhaps they are looking at results but it is results on a continuum. In other words the result is me being more mature yet knowing that it is the next step on the journey that I have achieved, not a destination or final measurable result.
My current season really reflects such a phase. I know that I have grown tremendously in the last year and have come to accept myself as I am more than ever before. I am making peace with where I am and have come to greater insight regarding ambition. I see ambition as the driving and destructive force behind our current global condition. Think about what ambition – the desire to achieve, stand out and be something, has done to our world and communities. Never before have we been so ambitious in our goals and never before have we wreaked such havoc on our planet. Inequality is greater than ever and even though we have made major advances that contribute to our standard of living we are no happier than 50 years ago.
I believe that it is ambition that drives a meaningless pursuit after our own, predominantly instant, gratification. We have polarised our societies into those that are rushing forward at a reckless pace and those that seek greater meaning and purpose in what they do. I don’t think this divide will ever change but hopefully more and more people can meet in the middle where we engage one another in work that centers on love, money and meaning. I don’t think we have to settle for the tyranny of the ‘or’. It does not have to be about money or love; why not both?
What I do make a case against is the domination of our ambition that blindly leads us over the precipice into the abyss. Ambition that looks at monetary results and ignore the growth of individuals and communities. Ambition that ignores the growth required to make things more sustainable and full of life.
So what are we measuring? What is the result we are looking for, and more importantly, who do we have to be to realise our dream?
For those of you who don’t know I am fairly young. I turned 31 earlier this month. I have however been privileged to live on 3 continents, an island, 3 countries, have witnessed snow, tropical storms, lava, amazing wildlife, bodyboarded in different oceans, snowboarded on a mountain, worked in vineyards, built a house, waitered, catered, consulted, coached, facilitated, studied, got married, and had a kid.
Maybe I am just restless and perhaps I could have been way more financially successful by now if I denied my heart and curiosity, stuck with tradition and tried one thing. In reality I see myself as experienced (experience is what successful people call their failures) and would not want to change a thing about my past. Point is that I love trying stuff. I know my personality is prone to this but I have really gotten in to it over the years.
I am always very sad to see people hide behind what is safe and never take a risk to try new stuff. How else can you truly discover your passion and purpose? I do believe it should come together in work that answers your need for love, money, and meaning but opening up the opportunities is essential.
Even now as I stand on the edge of something new and amazing (moving back to Stellenbosch in a few days) I look forward to transforming my memories into hope and in this way use my past to help create my future. Ultimately this is at the heart of our spiritual experience – looking back and making sense of what has happened so that we can be more in the future. It is at the heart of purpose and destiny; purpose and destiny that we choose. Choose to learn. Choose to live. Choose to be transformed and shed the shackles of self-centered ambition generated by our fear and ego. Who am I, where have I come from and where am I going? What do I live for?