Tag Archives | Thinking Differently

Thinking Creatively

I have just been on holiday, and I was clear that I had no intention of thinking at all for a couple of weeks! At first, it worked perfectly. My thinking consisted of: am I hungry/thirsty? Do I want to swim? Do I want to read or talk? And because there was nothing I had to do, I found it very refreshing to allow the answer to just come from my own genuine feelings, instead of being influenced by external obligations.

After a while, a strange thing started to happen. Quite unbidden insights would suddenly appear in my head, on all sorts of subjects, work and home related. They were all in the category of creative solutions to issues that had been around for me pre-holiday, but they had required no analysis, no in-depth thinking through on my part.

Since returning home, I have been reflecting on this, and believe that creative thinking comes from a state of being where there is a lack of everyday pressure, and where our conscious attention is on something completely different.

How do we achieve this state of being when we are not able to go off on holiday every couple of weeks?! I propose the following:

1)    Tell yourself what it is that you want to sort out e.g. I want to find an innovative way of presenting this information

2)   Allow yourself some treats to resource yourself – a nice meal, a lie in, a natter with an old friend

3)   Do something which enthrals you and takes all your attention – a jigsaw puzzle, some gardening, a good movie or book, a walk in the fresh air, noticing all the signs of Spring
(Through all of stages 2 and 3 you are not thinking consciously about your issue at all. In fact, if it comes to mind, pay attention to something else)

4)   After you have finalised stage 3, sit down with a pen and paper, and write: I want to find an innovative way to… , and what I could do is… , and just keep writing. You may find you have several ideas. Don’t judge or critique them – just record them

5)   Finally, give yourself something else that feels good – a glass of wine, a night out with friends, – anything which is a reward for your own creativity.

This has worked for me since I came home, a couple of times. Let me know if it works for you!

 

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Life is a bitch and then you die, or: Life is a beach and then you fly

I was reminded again recently of how powerful the culturally given beliefs are – you know, those things we know are true, because things happen which reinforce them.  For example, we can probably all find evidence in our personal experience that people are not to be trusted, or that the world is not a fair place.  It is interesting to notice that we can also find evidence that the opposite is true. Most of us have experienced people being trustworthy, or something which felt very fair and just.

The evidence we choose to notice will affect how we expect others or the world to be.  It really is our choice: evidence for all beliefs is there for us, otherwise no-one would believe them!

And have you noticed how we tend to get what we expect?  This is because we give off an unconscious message that tells the person how we are viewing them, and nine times out of ten, they “play the game” and respond how we expect them to.

So why make life harder than it already is?  Decide to believe what is more useful to you, and start collecting evidence!

Homework :

1.       Next time you need help from someone, assume that they will be helpful.  Imagine them being open to your request, and see what happens.

2.       When you come across someone who is optimistic about life, find out what they believe about people, and about how the world works.  Deliberately look for evidence which supports their belief.  (If you are already optimistic, list some of your own evidence).

 

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New Year’s Resolutions

At this time of year we all tend to think about New Year’s resolutions even if our choice is not to make any! We are often put off by the fact that we have failed to maintain them in the past, and therefore want to avoid ‘failing’ again.

What if we were to approach it in a different way? After all, it is a natural inclination in human beings to want to be continually improving ourselves, so the principle is a good one – perhaps we just need a more effective way of achieving it.

My proposal is this.

Start by imagining that you are at the end of the year, and feeling good about yourself.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. What have you continued to do well this year?

(Examples might be: give myself regular treats; spent good time with the children; done my job well; had exciting holidays)

  1. What have you done even better this year?

(Examples might be: gone home at a reasonable hour more often; gone for a walk at lunchtime more often; paid real attention to family and colleagues more often)

  1. What have you started to do better this year?

(Examples might be: begun to get fitter; eaten more healthily; kept my work in perspective more)

  1. What have you learned more about this year?

(Examples might be: how to use my common sense at work; how to be a good father; how a different culture works)

  1. What helped you to achieve these things this year?

(Examples might be: putting the list on the side of my computer to remind me; keeping my targets achievable; getting support from friends/colleagues/family)

Homework

Try this out – and make it fun!

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Experimenting

Why do we have to get it right first time, every time, or else we feel bad? It just doesn’t fit with our experience as humans does it? And it certainly doesn’t fit with being a learner! Actually we don’t call it experimenting, we call it ‘getting it wrong’ – no wonder it makes us feel bad!

Yet the way we grow in our lives is by trying things out, and gradually establishing what works for us. No, it’s even more than that, it is continually experimenting, because what works for us at one point, may change within moments, and as we move into it, we can see even more possibilities.

As children, this way of growing into our true selves comes naturally to us. We love to experiment and find different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and reacting to things. It is only a taught behaviour to try and find the ‘right’ answer that will last forever.

So let’s be children again! Let’s experiment and play with ideas and approaches. And don’t feel bad if your experiment is not perfect – be delighted that you have more exploring to do!

  1. Experiment with a different route home, or a new type of cereal for breakfast – anything that takes your fancy!
  2. Next time something doesn’t work quite how you intended, smile to yourself and say, ‘great! More experimenting to do!’ (OK, I know that’s a tough one, but it might at least make you laugh instead of being upset! After all, it’s not the end of the world!)
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Tune in, Turn on, Chill out.

In the busy world of illusion, we have very little time to ourselves.

Everything has to be done now! – the kids need feeding, the garden needs weeding, got to get to work, got to go shopping, must visit dad, better do the hoovering, must put the washing on, gotta get home-we never stop! We never take a time-out from the hectic lives we lead.

We end up over-worked, stressed, out-of-balance, feeling empty/low/under appreciated, het-up and tense- so why not give yourself some appreciation, wash those daily hectic blues away!

In this month’s workshop we’ll be finding out about finding time for yourself.

How? It’s simple-really simple.

Just take 15 minutes a day that you dedicate to yourself. A time for you and you only, that no-one or no-thing can interrupt or interfere with.

Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position, light a candle or incense if you would like.

Put on some relaxing instrumental music or simply listen to the sounds of nature/life.

Close your eyes-and breathe.
Breathe in, breathe out – that’s all you have to do.

Initially your mind will probably fill with 101 things you have to do or sort out yet today, but just let the thoughts pass without connecting with them, and soon they will pass.

Continue breathing deeply, but naturally until the 15 minutes are up.

The great thing about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere: on the train or bus, as a passenger in a car, in the office, anywhere that you can shut your eyes for 15 minutes and breathe.

You should find yourself feeling lighter, thinking clearer and re-energised. Ideally it is a good start to the day and it is also good to aid peaceful sleep at night.

As you get used to taking the 15 minute ‘ Me Break ‘, you may find that 15 minutes is just not enough Me Time, so lengthen the time to suit your needs.

So To Re-cap

When you wake, or when you get stressed, or the strains of life are getting to you..

REMEMBER .. It’s time to:

1.Tune In: Find a quiet spot to tune in to your inner self and the body you inhabit.

2.Turn on: Just 15-20 mins a day gives you time to revitalise tired bodies and minds.

3.Chill out: Breathing deeply for 15-20 minutes will leave you feeling lighter, calmer and more relaxed.

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