Archive for the ‘discipline’ Tag

Writing practice

Writing, of course, is a creative activity that’s easily accessible for daily practice.  Blogging, for instance.  Rather marvelous that in our fast-moving, materialistic times the technology has also brought us this method for slowing down and exploring the mysteries of life.  To take on the challenge of blogging is to commit to sustained dialogue with experience.  Being constantly on the alert for realities to share with readers is only the beginning; you are also constantly involved with your own reactions, your ability to express, and your willingness to plumb the depths of your subject beyond the obvious.

The benefits of keeping a journal are well known.  Such everyday reflection on experience provides a healthy distancing from the subject, which helps to put things in appropriate perspective. 

There are many ways to carry on a writing practice, from scribbled notes of thoughts and impressions as you go through your day, to the more formal disciplines of journaling and blogging.  Whatever form it takes, your writing must be a very regular practice to be useful as a creativity tool.  The ‘other’ represented by your notebook or text editor demands your deep devotion.  You have to practice enough to go beyond superficialities.  You must proceed to the very edge of your capacities and be willing to jump off the cliff.  Only then will your creativity come alive.

So it’s through the commitment to your creative practice that you reap benefits.  It’s no good to practice just on Thursdays, just when it’s convenient, just when you feel like it.  Sporadic creativity can be fun, but it’s a mere hors d’oeuvre, and will not energize.  You have to eat the whole meal to be truly nourished and satisfied. 

As usual, these thoughts are addressed to your personal self, but they are also addressed to your business.  The occasional show of creative endeavor is better than nothing.  But if your organization commits to creativity as a daily discipline, exponential progress is not only possible, but likely.

More on focusing

Yesterday’s focus on focus raised a big topic, which I’ll continue just for today.  We human beings struggle mightily with the question of focus.  Inasmuch as we have private rights to our own thoughts, we like to think we each individually decide where to place our focus.  To some extent this is true, and by applying stern discipline, we can select and cultivate focus that brings rewards we seek.  We can focus on work, and see some profit increase.  We can focus on losing weight, or building muscle, or learning a new skill, and earn rewards for our efforts.

Indeed, we have tremendous power to achieve through intense focus.  The difficulty surfaces when we see, however, the limitations of focus.  The tool is only as useful as the choices we make.  We may chose, for example, to focus on increasing business profits through hard work.  And while we may achieve our goal to some extent, we suddenly realize that by focusing intently on working harder, we have been blind to new methods that provide shortcuts to the same success.  Focus, in other words, can obstruct clear view of opportunity.

Maybe you focus hard on losing weight, and indeed the pounds drop away.  But in the process, you turn a deaf ear to your soul’s lonely outcry and ignore the oppression you feel from dieting.  You end up thinner, but now there’s a new problem: chronic depression.

So focus is a handy tool, but it can be deceptive.  It can trick you into thinking you’re in charge and invincible.  Which is a great feeling for the short term, but simply untrue in reality. 

Focus is like the drugstore magnifiers we aging boomers all use to boost our fading eyesight.  It’s a wonderful tool that lets us pretend we can see with accustomed clarity.  We do well not to forget, however, that the larger truth is that we’re slowly going blind, no matter how powerful the tool makes us right this instant.

In the end, practising focus and learning to use it intensely and well is a seriously helpful way to achieve your goals.  And then, letting your focus go, dropping it completely in order to open to new information supercedes your focus.  Focus, like the rules of a game, is best practised and then forgotten.