Inspiration.

Inspiration.

Inspiration.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Inspiration.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

― Thomas Jefferson

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

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Creativity.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Creativity

Creativity.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Creativity.

“Creativity takes courage.”

― Henri Matisse

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

― Albert Einstein

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”

― Pablo Picasso

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

How to be more creative.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Original

Creative.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you keep the creativity flowing?

If you work in a creative field, then you know how important it is to find ways to spark your creative flow. Every profession these days could use a little creativity if that person or firm wants to prosper and grow. Sometimes to create the life we want we need to be more creative in our homes and leisure as well.

So how do those super creative people do it? No, the answer is not drugs, nor is it working longer hours. More effort put into doing something the routine way will not result in creativity or new approaches. If you need some inspiration to spark that creative fire of yours, here are a few suggestions.

Look for inspiration in new places.

If you keep looking in the same place you keep seeing the same things. Two possible solutions, look in new places or look in the same place with new vision. Travel exposes you to new surroundings and customs. It can give you a fresh perspective.  Visit a place you haven’t been to before or a place you haven’t been to recently.

Consider how someone from another occupation might look at the problem your working on.  Writers are encouraged to read other genres. A designer might look at natural history specimens to find inspiration.  A walk in nature can inspire other ways of looking at things.

If you continue to go to the same places, with the same people, you see the same things. Expose yourself to novelty to see the world with a new set of eyes.

Spend time with creative people.

Creative people in any discipline are on the lookout for new ideas and they are almost always willing to share. Some great ideas for innovation in business came from watching what was going on in other industries.

Artists in one medium can find inspiration by looking at the work of artists in other mediums.  A photograph can be an inspiration for a short story or setting for a novel. Getting out of your comfort zone and having new experiences can free up the mind from the same old way of seeing things and get that novel way of looking at the problem to come into focus.

Ask better questions.

Having a problem with a creative issue? Try asking other questions. How might a biologist approach this question? How would an accountant or lawyer see the creature you are creating? If you are not getting answers to questions requiring creativity ask different questions.

Work the process, put in the hours.

Some creative projects require you to get moving and do something. Writers with so-called “writer’s block” are well advised to write, write anything. That first effort may not even be worth saving but it will get you started working in the direction of the finished result.

Sometimes creativity includes experimenting with things that won’t work until you have eliminated all those possibilities. Approach each new attempt at creativity with the mindset that you will discover all you can in this process.

Take some breaks. Shift gears.

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over and getting nowhere, try working on another project. Take some short breaks and do something else. While you are washing the dishes or emptying the refrigerator the solution to your who-did-it or how the murder needs to take place may pop into your brain as if by magic.

This taking the break is not an exception to the rule before putting in the hours. Taking short breaks to shift your thoughts is part of the putting in the effort process. Be careful here to avoid things that are just distractions and find ways to get your mind into neutral during these breaks.

Identify the things getting in your way.

Identify roadblocks to creativity. Are there distracting noises? Change locations.  What others things might be impeding your creativity.  Is your work area uncomfortable?  Consider what other supplies or equipment might help you improve your creativity.

Are you lacking the information you need to do the job you’re trying to do?  What other information might be helpful and how will you go about finding it?

Sometimes it’s as simple as your mind is occupied with something else you will need to do at another time.  Plan for when you will do these other activities or consider writing them down and making a list so you can free up space in your brain to get back to the task at hand.

Forget the rules and use what you have.

Rules about how things need to be done get in the way of being creative and inventing a new better way to do or make them.  The overly rigid about how things have to be done, what tools are needed or how to use them can get in the way of creativity.

Try using new tools in new ways.

Often creativity comes from trying out new tools, ones you’ve never seen or used before.  Try to get out of your reaching mindset and use the tool you do have in new or different ways.  Tools and working your tools can be used in a great many ways beyond what we initially think.

Consider what new tools you might want to try or how you might want to use your existing tools in a new way.

Creativity is all about moving outside your comfort zone, seeing things in new ways while being willing to try new options.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Creative people stay childlike.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Original

Creative.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Extremely creative people nurture their inner child.

What is an “inner child” and why do we say that you need to get back there to foster creativity?

The idea of “inner child” work comes and goes. I think of an inner child as a developmental process. When you were young you were more in touch with feelings, more aware of not knowing things and maybe more open to experience. Many of our adult problems come from lessons that we learned or failed to learn as we grew up. If something happened to you and you concluded that was the way the world was, then from then on you lived your life based on that belief.

As a child for whom everything was new, you were more open to new experiences. Creative people practice returning to that place of not knowing and are more readily able to see things from new perspectives. If you can suspend your beliefs about what is and what has to be then you can see what might be. Here are a few ways in which a childlike view of not knowing, allowing your thinking to return to a more childlike or inner child state can boost your creativity and help you find new solutions to life’s challenges.

Keep asking why.

Children, early on, do not have fixed beliefs or interpretations of why things are and why they happen. The small child’s favorite question is why. The older we get the less we think about things. We come to believe that things are always the way we think they are. We adopt a stance of always knowing and become reluctant to admit we don’t know. We stop asking the why questions.

Practice each day asking yourself why? Why do things happen? Why do we do things this way? Remember to also ask “What” questions. Look for what could be that you have not created yet.

Daydream more.

The dream state is one in which all things are possible. The laws of time and space do not apply in the dream. In daydreaming things that appear unconnected may suddenly reveal their connection. Daydreaming increases the possibilities. Logical thinking reduces possibilities and makes them conform to the known rules of how things have worked so far.

Learn all you can.

Little children, many of them, are sponges. They are constantly learning. Remember that old saying that people use only a small portion of their brain. Truth is that we use all our brain but there are vast spaces where we have put very little. Use the rooms in your brain as workout centers, not as hallways leading to the same old conclusions.

Your brain needs furnishing just like your house. Fill your mind with bright shiny ideas and watch the creativity soar.

Apply what you learned one place to somewhere else.

A major source of innovation is taking an idea from one area and applying it somewhere else. Creative people find that taking an interest in other aspects of life increases their creativity.

Nothing is a failure if you did it.

Innovation requires a lot of trying on new things and learning from them. Life experiments need not be failures if you learn from them. Continuing to insist that there is one and only one way to do things keeps you stuck. Consider the risks but make sure you try out new things whenever possible. If you learn from the experiment then it was not failure it was a learning experience.

Curiosity did not kill the cat. Stay curious.

Contrary to popular sayings curiosity did not kill the cat. Being curious is how the cat catches the mouse. You will never find new things if you always look in the same old places. Cats die not from curiosity but from not looking and missing the oncoming car. Keep your eyes open and looking for the unexpected.

What can you make from that pile of stuff?

Our modern throwaway culture has encouraged the concept that we need to get rid of things and then get new. Some things do wear out or become obsolete. What we often forget to do is to “repurpose” the things we have. Reuse and repurpose things for creative solutions.

Things look different depending on where you are standing.

Keep looking from different angles till you see something new. Have a problem or situation that is not working out the way you want it? Try looking at it from all possible perspectives. Ask a lot of what-if questions.

Play well with others – be a team.

Most of the great inventions we praise as breakthroughs were the result of one person building on another’s work. Creativity is not plagiarizing or copying but it is seeing the merit in an idea and then making your contribution on top of that idea. Teams are often more creative than individuals. They can each see things from a new angle with a different knowledge base.

Want to be more creative? Spend some time with other people exploring their ideas and knowledge, then see how borrowing their viewpoint would alter the problem or project you are working on.

Don’t censor your thoughts. Let them run free.

Birds look a lot different when they are flying than when they are caged. Ideas do not show themselves to the best advantage when forced into rigid rules. Let the idea go where it wants. Do not chase it. Just watch where it goes and make note of how this idea would look if it were allowed to be a free-range idea.

Play till you drop. Do not let go of an idea till you wear it out.

Most ideas, especially novel ones, have more applications than they ever get allowed to visit. When you see a new idea, yours or one that is just new to you, play with it. Let it explore your mind. How could this idea change things?

To think hard you need naps.

Pushing harder and longer are OK for routine tasks but for creative endeavors, you need your brain working at peak efficiency. Thinking longer and harder does not maximize new thought patterns. Get plenty of rest, take naps or breaks and learn to practice your self-care. A well-rested mind goes running off in new directions.

There are two very different kinds of focus, “pinpoint” or staying on task and diffuse, scanning or looking all around kind of focus. A well-rested mind has the energy to explore new settings and ideas.

Go where everything is new.

Seek out the new and when you are a child it is all new. Reconnect with your child mind.

Novelty promotes creativity. Travel, take a class or explore anything new. Break out of your specialty and explore new topics and disciplines. To maximize creativity learn a new language, or develop a new skill. Take a different route to work or a different mental path.

Is there another way to show you that?

There is no right way to tell your story, sometimes you need to sing or draw it out.

People use different learning styles. Some people learn better by listening, auditory learners. Others learn by seeing, visual learners. Movement, kinesthetic, is the preferred learning system for some. Anytime you process information via a new system you can get different results.

Various learning styles make use of different parts and pathways in the brain. For maximum creativity use other parts of your brain. If you read and write a lot try using your visual system and draw out your projects. See if enacting a typical interaction with a client will create new ways of seeing your problem.

Have to? Do not!

Doing what you want to do is more fun than doing what others say you have to. People who love what they do are more productive and creative. Looks for a way to make your job fun. Get reacquainted with the things that made you interested in your occupation in the first place.

Not finding anything to motivate you? Then it may be time for a hobby or vacation. You may also need to switch assignments or positions. Some people find that a period of time working in a different department or on a different task re-energize them. Sometimes it is just time to get retrained for a new segment of your life.

There are some of my suggestions for increasing your creativity and making what you do all those hours we call work more rewarding. Do you have any other suggestions that you could share with the rest of us?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Mistakes are Required, Being a Failure is Optional

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Success or failure sign

Success or failure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You are required to make mistakes.

Are you one of those people who are mistake aversive? You would do anything to avoid making a mistake?

hen you make a mistake do you feel awful and tell yourself you “shouldn’t” have done that?

When you make a mistake do you feel wrong, awful, even sinful?

Stop abusing yourself!

You need to make mistakes. The requirement to make mistakes is in your DNA. There are at least two reasons why mistakes are a human requirement.

1. You learn better from painful mistakes than from pleasant successes

Frankly, most of us do not learn from our accomplishments. We learn best from our failures. Here is an example.

Let’s say you like ice cream Sundays. Every week this year you stop after dinner at a favorite ice cream place and treat yourself to a Sunday. Then at the end of the year, you tell me about this tradition you have established. Quick, which one was the best? The worst? Was the one on the third week in February better or worse than the one you ate the second week in August?

Most likely you can’t remember. Pleasure and successes that are mostly pleasurable, are not stored in our brains in a whole lot of detail, it takes time for pleasure to “soak into” the brain. One article I read reported that it takes 30 seconds to a minute of concerted effort, thinking about that pleasant event to store the memory away in your brain.

Pain is easily stored in the brain.

Now if you drive a particular stretch of road home every day and one day you are in a terrible car wreck, you see someone killed, will you remember that? Sure you will. That painful event and mistakes are often painful, are stored deeply in our brains. Thoughts, even thoughts about things that have not happened, are events. Even if these thoughts only happen in our heads, those negative thought-events cause a lot of pain.

As a result of this experience, you may change your route, avoid that road altogether or change your driving practices. You will have learned something about the dangers of driving. Remembering this event, dreaming about it and talking about it may increase that storage of memory. You may even over store the event and become afraid to ride in a car.

The principle here is that we learn far more from our mistakes than from our success. If you want to learn, become knowledgeable or even wise, you will have to make mistakes.

2. Mistakes are a source of creativity.

Most creativity comes from people doing things in new ways. They violate tradition. They do something in a manner other than the “correct” way to do things. Let me illustrate.

Say we work in the same place. Every day we pass in the hall. I say good morning, you say good morning and we go on our ways. Life is good, Life is predictable.

One day I say good morning, you say “How are you doing?”

This is terrible, the world is in chaos. You are not supposed to say “How are you doing?” This is a mistake!

Doing something new, that mistake in the pattern of following tradition results in creativity. Now that you have altered the universe by making this mistake, we just may need to stop and have a conversation. Our relationships have been altered.

Getting out of the routine, trying out new ways of doing and behaving is creativity. Sometimes these efforts work and sometimes they do not. It is our willingness to take a chance, risk making a mistake, that results in us trying new things and being creative.

In the title of this post, I used the term “being a failure.” There is a vast difference between failing at something and being a failure. Making a mistake and being a mistake is not the same thing.

Everyone who tries makes mistakes. The only way to avoid mistakes is to never attempt anything and that would be a mistake.

Every player in major league baseball has struck out. Every NBA player has missed a shot. This failure or mistake has not made them any less.

Make all the mistakes you can. Fail early and often. Just please, learn from these experiences, do not keep repeating the same mistakes. Make new ones. That way you will keep trying and some of the things you do will work.

You may make some mistakes, fail sometimes, but if you keep trying you will never be a failure.

Sometimes we become so afraid of failure that our fear prevents us being successful. Coming up soon a post on how that fear of failure may be preventing your successes.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are creative people anti-social?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Original

Creative.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are highly creative people, writers, and artists, also anti-social?

Some occupations require lots of time working alone. Artists and writers, in particular, need to spend a lot of time by themselves. Do these occupations attract people who want to avoid people?

Is there a mental health problem or personality type that is over-represented in the creative fields?

From a counselor’s perspective, people who work alone or prefer to spend time by themselves are not anti-social. We reserve the label of anti-social as in Anti-social Personality Disorder for people who have no empathy for others. An anti-social person takes advantage of others because they don’t care. They are the ones who get the label of psychopath or sociopath.

People who prefer to avoid others may have some form of anxiety as in social phobia or they may have an attachment style that results in avoiding others but neither of those personality features involves harming others on purpose.

An avoidantly attached person does not expect others to meet their needs and seeks to get their needs met by solitary activities. A creative person might be avoidant and prefer to avoid all contact with people but that is likely to be rare. To be successful at a creative activity as an occupation they will need to go out and spend time marketing and promoting their efforts. Avoidant people are not likely to be willing to do that and are likely to believe that others will not like them anyway.

Someone with social phobia would like to be around others but because of fear, they are unable to be in situations that trigger their anxiety.

Anti-social personality, avoidant attachments and high levels of anxiety are not conducive to the risk taking the artistic person needs to genuinely create something novel.

But an artist and those of an artistic temperament are more likely to have one particular emotional issue. Many artists are moody.

One mental health issue does appear to be correlated with creative temperaments. Kay Redfield Jamison in her book “Touched with Fire” describes the connection between Bipolar disorder and creative endeavors. Those episodes of above average energy and times when the person is “in the zone” fuel creativity. Uncontrolled these episodes can turn into manic or hypomanic episodes and result in the creative person losing control and engaging in risky dangerous behaviors.

There are plenty of stories of famous artistic and creative people who had periods of high energy sometimes coupled with risky behavior followed by periods of deep depression. The energetic periods may fuel creativity but in the full-on manic episodes, the person is no longer able to stay focused long enough to complete projects.

The artistic fields have had a disproportionate share of individuals with mood swings who became alcoholic, addicted or suicidal. The really productive artists, in the long run, learn to manage their moods with or without help and they keep their emotions in bounds.

See also posts on Hyperthymic Temperament, Bipolar Disorder, and Mania.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.