Ask the Reader: Are You Creative?

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.

– Steve Jobs

Creativity can be applied to every aspect of life. From daily household tasks to parenthood; from day job to your own business; from painting a canvas to painting walls. The only thing that limits it is  your imagination and your belief.

Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, has the potential to be creative. Our natural interests and abilities may apply it differently, but you do have some form of creativity within you. A part of it is natural aptitude, but as with most things, a large part of it is application.

How often do you do things that force you to flex your creative muscles? How often do you make yourself push boundaries? How often do you make time to think outside the box?

So today, I want to know…Are you creative?

Leave your comments below. And if you feel like giving your creative muscles a serious but fun work out, then join us in the Meet My Muse course, starting November 1st.

 

Are You Embarrassed To Keep A Journal? – 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be

I must admit, this didn’t even occur to me until someone mentioned it. Then, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I thought, what if this is one of the things that holds people back. What if, this embarrassment is the reason why they are not utilising this super-powerful tool for success?

I decided, therefore, to address the issue here. 

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed to Keep A Journal[/typography]

It intrigues people

The most common reaction I get from people is curiosity. They are intrigued to find someone writing in a journal, not scandalized. Think about it. In this day and age, how often do you find people scribbling in notebooks? Especially in public? Unless you are sitting in a café or museum or something, not so much. People find it curious and interesting. Some might even gather up the courage to ask you about it. Whenever I go on holiday, I have a travel journal with me. I carry it with me everywhere, and especially use commute time such as a bus ride to sight-seeing location to scribble.

Every time, people look at me, and eventually after we’ve made eye-contact, smiled and maybe had a few lines of conversation, they ask me about my journal. A lot of times, then they tell me that they also keep a journal, or that they used to, or that they wished they did. No one has ever told me, “What the hell are you doing that for?”

It’s an intellectual thing.

You are writing. Pages of it. You have thoughts that you are coherently putting into words, so you are clearly not an illiterate. When you see someone writing in a journal, it’s pretty difficult to think of them as stupid. It automatically gives the other person that feeling that you must have something worth writing about. 

It is also not a very common thing, so it automatically marks you as someone unusual, and unusual often means interesting. Okay, some people just find it weird and don’t like it if you are different, but then those are the people you don’t want to worry about

It’s a conversation starter

After the earlier intriguing feature, some people would be brave enough to ask you, what is it and what you are writing. That gives you a good start to talk to new people. Maybe they want to keep a journal too, and you can give them a few pointers, or share your story. You never know what that conversation may turn out to be. You may be talking to your new best friend. 

It’s Your Damn Business

This is the most important point. Take it as a test of your authenticity. Be yourself. If you want to journal, journal, and never mind what anyone else thinks. 

 

 

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Becoming A Polymath – My Personal Challenge

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Recently, I came across this article about becoming a polymath. The concept fascinated me, because it gave me a term for a goal I already had. A goal of Learning.

It’s been almost a decade since I left full-time education, but I can honestly say that I’ve never stopped learning. Education has always been extremely important to me, and while I enjoyed Educational Institutions, self-education is so much more powerful.

It is an essential element if you want to reach your potential. To continue to grow as a person, you need to continuously and consciously increase your skills and abilities, which is something I aspire to help people with through Kaizen Journaling Academy. You also need to keep practising and polishing the knowledge you already possess, lest you lose it.

My problem has always been that I want to learn too many things, and I’ve never been able to decide if I want to be a specialist or a generalist. I’ve said for years that if the profession of a scholar still existed, like in the ancient days, that is what I would’ve chosen. But the fact that no one has stepped up to pay me for learning, hasn’t stopped me from my devoting my life to learning.

Over the last decade, my journey of self-education has been full of detours. I’ve tried to make lists, and eve syllabi for myself to decide what I would like to focus on, but usually a new interest or a new book got in the way, and I never quite managed to pin down what I wanted to learn.

But lately, things have changed. I still haven’t managed to pin down a specific syllabus, but I have realised that I don’t need to. Having spent the last decade on self-awareness and self-discovery, I have a very clear idea of what I want to learn, what values are important to me, and what subjects fascinate me.

By focusing on those broad categories, I would be “specialising” within my areas of interest, but they are wide enough and big enough that I could be a generalist as well. They are also deep enough that my plan of learning has the room to constantly evolve, as I discover new material, and even as my knowledge grows.

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Before I read this post, I already had a plan in my bucket list called, “Become a Renaissance Woman.” But I like the term “Polymath” better. I also looked up Project Polymath – a university for would-be Polymaths. Their philosophy is to focus on projects, rather than exams. By doing projects, you apply the skills you learn, and you also broaden them. Anyone who’s ever delivered a project would know that there is a lot more to it than simply your specialised subject.

To me, that seems a better test of one’s skill than simply taking exams. So I decided to make that a part of my Becoming A Polymath plan.

So what is my Polymath challenge? What do I want to master before I die?

 

Becoming A Polymath – My Personal Challenge

 

1. Become a Hyperpolyglot (defined by linguist, Richard Hundson, as a person who can speak 6 or more languages fluently)

  • English (Fluent)
  • Gujarati (Fluent)
  • Hindi (Fluent)
  • Spanish (Beginner)
  • Latin
  • Italian
  • Japanese

2. Writing (Fiction)

Initially, I had “Writing” as one category, but I know from personal experience that writing Fiction and Non-Fiction are two very different things. So I’ve decided to keep them separate, as their projects would be different too.

3. Writing (Non-Fiction)

This would mostly be journaling related projects – courses, books, articles. But there may be things on few other topics too.

4. Journaling

Of all the 7 things, this is the one I would score the highest based on where I am right now. But like almost everything, there is always more to learn and try.

5. One form of Physical Activity

Current choices are Yoga, a form of Martial Arts, or Running. Healthy body is very important, and also necessary if I’m to achieve all my other mental goals, so this needs to become a priority.

6. Human Behaviour / Body Language / How the Mind Works

I don’t expect to master this. I am not sure if anyone can entirely master how humans work, but I’ve always had an interest in it. This is also a pretty important element in becoming a better fiction writer.

7. Learn to write with my right hand, as well as I do with my left hand  

This is what my right handed hand-writing looks like at the moment:

 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Define your Personal Polymath challenge, even if it is just one thing you want to master.

 

 

 

Journaling Posts Collection

Many of you may not have seen various journaling posts I have done for other blogs, so here is a collection of them. I hope you will find them useful. 

 

KJ Academy’s first two classes, A Letter of Journals and Exploring Happiness, start on Monday. Registration open. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Pick at least one post that interest you, and see how you can apply the tips in your life.

 

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Creating Space for Journaling

Journaling requires space. Both emotional and physical. I discussed this previously on Journal Addict. This is a revised edition of that post. 

When keeping a journal becomes a second nature, all many of us need is to simply pick up our journal and a pen, and start scribbling.

Location, as long as relative privacy is ensured, doesn’t matter. Nor does noise or any other distractions. The world surrounding you becomes a part of your journaling experience, and yet you aren’t distracted by it because you are immersed in the journaling process.

But what if you are not yet at that stage?

What if journaling for you is not a second nature, but rather a regular habit that you are trying to cultivate or a hobby you are trying to develop because you need a place to share your thoughts? 

If that is you then sometimes you may find it difficult, because you can’t be bothered to go and find that journal, or a comfortable place to write, or the right environment. 

This is where the issue of space comes in. 

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px”]Physical Space[/typography]

Keep your journal in an easily accessible place. Ideally nearer where you would usually write, such as on your desk, or on the coffee table.

Make sure you feel comfortable with the level of privacy in your chosen place. I recommend keeping it out of sight, even if your family respects your privacy. Even under another book would do. Don’t tempt people by shoving your journal under their noses.

If possible, carry it with you and write whenever you get a chance. You may find yourself writing in it at odd moments, capturing snipetts of your day that might otherwise go unrecorded.

Make it easy on your self. If you have to get your journal out from the back of a wardrobe every time, and digging it out takes you ten minutes, you are unlikely to write regularly.

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px”]Emotional Space[/typography]

Do you feel overwhelmed with emotional issues, and find it too difficult to write? Perhaps you believe you can’t write. That’s when creating emotional space becomes necessary.

If you are dealing with emotional issues that are having an impact on the quality of your life, journaling can help you deal with them. It’s not a substitute for professional help if your situation requires it, but it can be a great self-help tool.

Start slow.

It’s okay if you don’t feel capable of expressing all your feelings by writing. It’s okay if you don’t feel easy about expressing your fears or your opinions. It’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable writing something that may make you feel vulnerable if someone else read it.

Write what you feel comfortable with. 

Creating emotional space is about being honest with yourself. You must face your emotions if you are to deal with them. Unless you know the root of what’s troubling you, and the root cause for your life not being the way you like it to be, you can’t even begin to solve it.

Emotional honesty is not easy to achieve. Not because we want to lie, but because it takes a degree of self-awareness as well as courage. It’s also about timing. Sometimes, we may just not feel ready to deal with the truth. That’s one of the things we’ll be working on in A Journal of Letters course. Really digging into the honesty of our emotions on topics that are both serious and fun. It will give you ideas on how you can incorporate letter writing to make your journaling more personal, unique, and emotionally honest. 

Click here to Register. The course starts on October 15 and costs only £15. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY
Do you have physical space for your journaling? If not, how can you create it?
Do you need to create emotional space? What actions will you take to accomplish that?

 

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How To Get Past Fears That Stop You From Living Your Dreams

FEAR. The word itself is uncomfortable. Say it out loud, and you may get this feeling of discontent, as if you just want to shove the word away, get away from it as fast as possible. It’s a little word with a lot of power. Because we give it power.

That’s right. We feed our fears. Sometimes subconsciously and at other times because we are stuck in a maze of self-defeating behaviour and can’t find our way out.

The things we fear tell us a lot more about ourselves than we realise. Yet, it is a subject that most of us choose to avoid, because when we think about fear, all those uncomfortable feelings, all the things we would rather avoid and hide from, come to the forefront.

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.

– Jim Morrison

Jim’s words are wise. We know in the rational part of our brain that it’s true. But we are not always ruled by reason, and certainly not when it comes to fear. So how do you go about exposing yourself to your deepest fear? Does that mean that if you are afraid of heights, you should jump out of a plane? Perhaps some people would advise you to do that, but here at Kaizen Journaling, we have a different way of doing things.

Remember the three As?

Awareness. Acceptance. Advancement.

They apply to fear as well. Let’s look at them one by one.

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px”]AWARENESS[/typography]

How much do you know about your fears? I bet you don’t know as much as you think, certainly not in your conscious mind. Hiding from our fears is a survival instinct. It puts our well-being in danger, so our natural tendency is to avoid it. But what if those fears are holding you back? What if those fears are stopping you from being the person you have the potential to be? What if they are stopping you from living your dreams? 

If they are, then it’s time to confront them. First step to fixing any problem is awareness. Unless you know what you are dealing with, you will just blunder into it. You may get lucky, but chances are, you will end up more tangled than when you started. 

FACE YOUR FEARS

What did you fear as a child? Darkness? A monster under your bed? Or perhaps you feared a grizzly uncle or even an older sibling or one of your parent? Make a list of all the things and/or people you remember being afraid of. Don’t think about it. Just make a quick list of anything that comes to mind, even if the fear was short lived. Keep going until you can’t think of nothing else.

Once you have your list, go through each item one by one, and in detail first write what you remember. For example, maybe you remember being afraid of your great aunt Nelly. When was this? Do you know why you were afraid? Did you do something wrong and were trying to hide it, or was it simply the way Nelly was that made you afraid? Or maybe she was drunk, and you were always afraid of her when she was drunk? Write all you remember about feeling that fear.

What about the fears you acquired since childhood? How have they evolved? What impact have they had on your life? What things you wanted to do, but haven’t done, because of your fears?

Don’t give yourself time to analyse or question at this time. Just keep writing, until you have detailed entries about each of your fears. Focus on the memories. If you are not sure whether it’s a true memory, don’t worry about it. At this stage, it’s just about info-dump. 

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px”]ACCEPTANCE[/typography]

If you did the previous step thoroughly, you would have an awareness of your many fears.

Now, think of it from an adult, pragmatic perspective. Do you realise now why you were so afraid? Is the reason quite different from what you remember as a child? What does it tell you? Does it tell you that you have changed, or is it simply your perspective that has changed?

What about the fears you acquired since childhood? Are you still holding on to them?

Go through the list again and again, in as much detail as possible. Write down if you’ve conquered that particular fear. If you did conquer it, how did you do it?

Look at the list of fears you believe you have not conquered. Do you agree? Force yourself to be objective. Try to look at it as an outsider. It’s not easy, but soul searching never is.

Keeping repeating Awareness and Acceptance steps until you believe that what you’ve come up with the true picture of your fears.

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px”]ADVANCEMENT[/typography]

You know what your fears are. You’ve accepted them. Now it’s time to move forward.

This is where you are going to get a different-than-normal advice. You don’t need to conquer all of your fears, unless it stands in the way of the things you want to achieve, and the life you want to lead. If you have no interest in climbing mountains or jumping from a plane, who cares if you are afraid of heights?

Focus on the fears that are holding you back. Use the 80/20 rule. Which fears, if you overcame them, would have the biggest impact on your life? Start with those.

One at a time, you can conquer your fears, and one at a time, you can start moving forward.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Schedule a day, or even a weekend, when you can really focus on your fears, and get to the bottom of this. Give yourself permission and time to do these exercises. The more you delay, the longer your fears will hold you back.

 

 

 

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