Saturday, 21 February 2015


A great writer has the ability to reflect upon his inspirations and experiences with a dash of imagination.
A great poet has the ability to steer and build upon his inspiration and imagination like the way a river carefully and relentlessly forges ahead from its faint source to the mighty ocean.
A great artist has the ability to be inspired by something and then with the help of his imagination discover more and more about his inspiration by making intricate connections with whatever he discovers.
A great problem solver, aided by his imagination, has the ability to be inspired by what is invisible so as to connect the visible to the invisible to create the widest possible field of view.
A great scientist has the ability to play with his imagination on anything that inspires him.
A great mathematician has the ability to imagine the right questions and remain inspired by those.
A great architect has the ability to be inspired by spaces and imagine structures and patterns within those.
A great teacher has the ability to be inspired by a learner and possess the ability to imagine a learner's potential.
They are all very creative but what is the most creative human act of all?
The most creative of all are those who master the skill of adapting to different situations and contexts, which life continually throws at them. They are inspired by life and they continually imagine the best possible ways they would adapt in a given context. In every case, they create new templates to adapt without relying on old ones.
They have all the skills of a great writer, a great poet, a great artist, a great problem solver, a great scientist, a great mathematician, a great architect, a great teacher and much more.
It is easy to spot them. They continue to attend to small and ordinary things in extraordinary ways with effortless grace. At times it appears that they are masters of "inaction." They achieve a lot without even appearing to do so. They can be commoners or kings.
No wonder achieving that level of creativity is a tall order!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Things that get in the way of work

Last week there was no entry to the blog. Heart wanted to open out through words, mind wanted  to procrastinate with an excuse of being pre-occupied with CSU of PTA5. Obviously mind won the day, resulting in a bleeding heart. Not a healthy condition....

This set me thinking, what gets in the way of work. What came to my mind during the long late night hours of thinking is put in words below.

List is in no way complete. It is a trigger for your own thinking process, do chip in your ideas through comments.

This list isn’t complete, but just some ideas to get you thinking:
  1. Online distractions. This is a big one for me. I can go to my favorite online sites (just a quick check) and get lost for an hour or two. Or more if I hit on something that really fascinates me. 
    • What has worked for me: To overcome this, I try to remember to pause … and often get up and walk around, and realize that I’ve gotten lost again. Then I’ll clear my screen and just have one thing in front of me, and try to stick with that until I’m done. I don’t always succeed, but when I remember to do this it works very well.
  2. Being overwhelmed. If you have a crapton of things to do … it can make you feel helpless. How can you possibly get it all done? So you don’t even start. You can’t get it all done … at least, not right now. 
    • What has worked for me: Right now, you can do one thing. So when I’m overwhelmed, again, I’ll clear everything, and make a list of 1-3 things I need to do most right now. Yes, sometimes the list is just one thing, because that helps me focus and not feel overwhelmed.
  3. Email is piled up. When my email inbox has a lot of messages piled up, it can feel overwhelming. 
    • What has worked for me: I simply exit the outlook mail box. Then I’ll deal with as many of the others as possible, and leave some to deal with later. Instead, I close email and get to work on a more important task.
  4. Feeling indecisive. What if you have so many things you can’t figure out what to do? Often, that leads to doing nothing. I remind myself that not deciding leads to stagnation, and while I don’t believe you need to move at a million miles an hour, I don’t like myself held stagnant by fear. What I’ve learned is that this is a fear of not knowing the perfect decision, because we don’t know what the future will hold. Is it better to take that new job or keep this one? Is it better to work on this project or that one? It’s impossible to know, because the future is uncertain. 
    • What has worked for me: I try to just pick one based on whatever information I have (usually a gut decision) and take some action. It’s better to work on something than to stop moving because of fear of uncertainty.
  5. No energy. This is a huge one, bigger than most people realize. When you have a lack of sleep, you are low on energy and you just don’t feel like working on anything hard. You can’t focus and you have a hard time pushing through. 
    • What has worked for me: Either I give myself a break but really focus on getting to bed earlier and getting some good sleep … or I push through and do the hard stuff. Just because we don’t feel like doing something hard doesn’t mean we should skip it.
  6. Lack of discipline. This is usually the result of low energy, or being infast mode and not wanting to stop to focus on something. You tell yourself you’re going to do something, but then you don’t. 
    • What has worked for me: I forgive myself for messing up, and instead I try to be mindful about what’s going on. Am I tired? In fast mode? Not inspired by this project? Instead of the general “I lack discipline” diagnosis, I try to find a more specific problem, and then address it. And then get to work.
  7. Task switching. Again, being in fast mode means that you’re doing lots of little tasks, constantly switching between apps and tabs in your browser. You can’t stick to one because you’re constantly switching. 
    • What has worked for me: Again, I will take a break and then clear everything, and refocus myself. I try to stick to the one window mode (close everything else) and just focus on one thing for as long as I can. I’m not always successful.
  8. Getting little things done. We feel productive when we’re taking care of lots of little tasks (emails, calls, errands, small admin tasks, paperwork), but while those do need to get done, they aren’t the important things. We’re avoiding the important things but we feel productive because we’re busy. 
    • What has worked for me: I fall into this trap a lot, so when I catch myself doing it, I stop and ask myself what my big task is for the day. Sometimes I can’t choose between 2-3 big tasks, but it doesn’t matter … I just need to pick 1-3. Then I ask myself: “Am I working on it?” If the answer is no, I’m not really being productive — I just feel like it.
  9. Task seems too big. We all fall into this one, and we all know the answer. It’s too big, so we put it off. The answer, of course, is to break it into smaller tasks, but we rarely follow this advice. 
    • What has worked for me: I focus all of my energy into starting. All I have to do is write the first few words. Once I do that, I focus on the next few paragraph. One bite at a time.
  10. We’re afraid we’ll fail. We also all have this problem — we don’t feel competent at this task, it’s confusing, it feels like we’ll embarrass ourselves. And this is understandable when we’re doing something that’s not in our wheelhouse. 
    • What has worked for me: I remind myself that letting myself be controlled by fear is not the way I want to live. I remind myself that failure is actually not the worst outcome — not even trying is a much worse outcome. Why? Because if you try something and fail, you learned something, you got some practice, and next time you’ll be better. You’re further along than before. But if you don’t even try, out of fear, you don’t learn anything, and you’ll probably keep doing this because you’re creating a pattern of running from fear. Instead, push through and do it anyway, because the value of doing is so much greater than the value of being safe and doing nothing.
What obstacles get in your way? How can you get better at dealing with them? How can you get to doing?