“Action has magic, grace and power in it” – Goethe
That is my all-time favorite quote and action is the ticket to lasting change. Rather than mulling over everything you’re doing wrong or repeating silly affirmations that produce weak results, start creating change in your life today. And what does that have to do with cultivating the big ideas and boosting creativity? Everything.
It’s limited thinking that stops us from getting to the big idea – the idea that we’re trying to reach in troubleshooting our relationships, problem-solving in our career, our own personal manifesto. Changing the way you think is easier than it seems – once action-steps are in place.
1. Two Powerful Words: “Cancel That”
When you feel your brain going in the wrong direction, say to yourself “Cancel that” and then keep going. Here’s a scenario: you’re on Instagram and a pang of jealousy surfaces because someone else has a career success that should be yours. “Cancel that” you say to your brain and keep on going. The fly buzzing around you drives you so bonkers that your anger is surging; “Cancel that” and move forward without dwelling on the negative emotion. You may say it so much to yourself within a 60 second time span that it drives you completely bonkers. Then take a break. Take a few hours, take a day, take a week. Then come back and begin again. Eventually and over time, your subconscious mind will understand that you don’t approve of those thoughts and it will change them.
2. Take action.
Say that you have identified a gap in your life and you would like to have more fulfilling relationships. Rather than mull over the lack of relationships in your life or repeat affirmations to yourself (that I feel are mostly silly and produce weak results), take action. Identify people you know – either in real life or on the internet – who have the kinds of fulfilling relationships that you would like to have and do what they do. What do the people do who have fulfilling relationships? Where do they spend their free time? Start hanging out in the same types spaces and places. What do they do for fun? Do those people seem to have a good sense of who they are (hint: they always do)? Then take a course in something that you have been quietly pining over. Then start to do those things.
3.Notice the world around you for 15 minutes.
This is what my favorite creativity guru and author of The Artist’s Way dubs “Going sane”. When things in life are crazy and chaotic and the boat is rocking- look at the way the daffodil peels over from the morning dew. Notice how the soft round white mound of snow perfectly reflects the dusty pink sunset. See how the flaking paint reveals the other-worldly oxidizing rusty steel underneath that creates raw and abstract shapes. Just sit and take in all the great sights of the every day from where you are sitting – right now.
Make a list of all the things in your life that make you happy. Now make a list of all the things that make you unhappy. Make time every day to do at least one thing on the happy list. Notice the things on the unhappy list that you can change; like your long commute. Can you find a new job closer to home? If not then can you make the best of it and start listening to podcasts? Eventually the things that make you unhappy will find the exit door. Even if you just do one of those things on the happiness list every day, you see a dramatic change in not very much time.
5. Commit to taking yourself out once a week.
Yes, I saved the best for last in this list. It’s the most important because there’s an element of spontaneity and fun to it – it’s not work. And it produces the largest results because of the playful factor. Take yourself to a new coffee shop, swing through that vintage store that you’ve been eyeing, go see that special exhibit at the museum. All by yourself. That’s right – no one else and especially not your kids or your spouse. It doesn’t need to be long nor does it need to be expensive. Since you’re going by yourself there’s a sense of autonomy that is being nourished and the new spaces and images are good for your mind – it expands your experience which will expand ideas.
Linda is an artist and creativity teacher who believes everyone is creative. She shows others how to unblock their creativity, connect with their true self and unlock the big ideas. Sign up for her free weekly newsletter with creativity tips here.