by Karl Staib
“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”
How are you managing your work? What do you focus on? Are you overly anxious? Way too stressed out? Or just in need of a little more mindfulness?
I’m here to tell you that a bracing dose of self-awareness could be just the trick. To that end, I’ve culled together 10 powerful ideas that will help you tame your stress levels, persevere through uncertainty, boost your creativity, and get more of the right things done with a smile on your face.
1. Dedicate time to playful exploration.
In 2006, students from Xavier High School were given an assignment to write to their favorite living authors – several students chose Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut’s response, the only one the class received, encapsulates essential insight on the importance of playful exploration as it relates to doing great work:
“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.”
Although Vonnegut’s response was for young students to motivate them to start learning and exploring new ideas and skills, it’s easy for all of us to limit ourselves to one specific domain, like writing or coding or design. We get comfortable and never stretch our creative and intellectual muscles. We never become all that we can be. [Read more…]