Tag Archives: creativity

Provoke Thought

Sometimes, your thoughts and emotions are going to flow naturally. If you’re a creative type, you’ll be able to write a story, take a picture or compose a song with little effort. Other times, it’s going to feel like it’s impossible and you’ll never be able to successfully create something full of emotion again. From what I’ve experienced, this unfortunately happens all too frequently.

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This is something that happens not only when you’re creating art but also in many other aspects of your life, whether it’s performing well at your job, maintaining your health or loving someone special. Some days are naturally going to be easier than others. You’ll wake up ready to go and everything will seem to go your way. On these days you’ll wonder why you ever struggle…and then it happens again.

On the tough days it’s important to remind yourself that struggling is a natural part of life. It’s those that are able to make a conscious decision to work through this struggle that are ultimately able to find success. If your spouse is just getting under your skin, start by taking a deep breath and realizing you’re in control. Realize how important this person is to you and make a conscious decision to love. Be open and honest about what may be bothering you and simply say “I love you.”

If you’re having a tough day at work, start by taking a deep breath and realizing you’re in control. You may not be in control of everything at work, in fact there may be very few things you are in control of. But most importantly, one thing you are in control of is yourself and your reactions to the things happening around. Don’t let something out of your control get under your skin. Focus on what you can control and do that the best you possibly can. Soon, you’ll find that the other things that were bothering you naturally fade away and improve due to your positive actions.

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Whatever the case may be, you’re going to have good days and bad days. On the bad days, take a step back and find something that helps you provoke thought, regain control and right the ship. One thing that works in my life is music. Music can alter feelings and emotions almost immediately. A few beats below are some of my favorites to throw on to just get me thinking. Thinking about what’s going wrong, thinking about what’s going right…just thinking. Find what works for you and use that to gain control of your life and your happiness, especially on those tough days we all have.

J Dilla – “Feel The Beat”

DJ Premier – “B-Line”

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Laws of Power

I came across Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” last summer and was blown away. In his book, Greene describes 48 “laws” that various figures throughout history have displayed that led them to a position of power. While reading it, I found there were a number of different “laws” I could apply to my everyday life. Sure, I’m not (literally) fighting any battles or involved in politics, but these lessons can be applied to just about anything if you frame it correctly. He gets pretty detailed so if you’d like hear some more about what Greene thinks, I strongly recommend picking up the book on Amazon.

The book led me to Greene’s blog, Power, Seduction and War. Here, I came across a speech that he gave at Yale (I think it took place in late 2010 according to the post date). There are plenty of things to take away from the speech, but here’s one part I found really interesting:

“It’s all material. Everything that happens is material. Material for a book. Material for a novel, for a screenplay. I want to be the master observer of this world.”

This line fits the vibe of this blog perfectly. To observe the world is to learn about the world. To learn about the world is to learn about people. To learn about people is to learn about the relationships between people, including yourself. This can open many doors…Observing can help improve the relationships in your life, whether you’re looking to improve the relationship with a loved one or make a change at work. Observe how people are acting around you and how different actions can lead to different results. Learn from these observations and use that to improve your own life.

On a creative note, these observations can lead to inspiration for anything. Like Greene says, “a book…a screenplay.” Art is life and in order to create art, one must observe life. If you do have a creative side to you and ever find yourself hitting a wall, go outside and observe life. The smallest thing can lead to a thought, which can lead to a feeling, which can lead to a memory, which can lead to a lyric, etc. Keep your eyes and ears open. Become the “master observer” of your world.

The full transcript of Robert Greene’s Yale speech referenced above can be found here.

An mp3 of the speech can be found here.


Simplicity

Keep it simple.

It seems like something so obvious that it just can’t be right, but experience has shown me time and again that it’s true. Take a look at any part of your life and you’ll find some good examples of this advice coming into play.

Family.

When it comes to family, one of the worst things you can do is to complicate things by over-thinking meaningless problems. I’m sure you’ve seen many times when fights have somehow seemed to manifest themselves out of nowhere. Things can turn from nothing into something major pretty quickly. The next time you have a little squabble with a family member, or you see others you love squabbling over something silly, take a step back. Take a deep breathe and think about all the time and energy being wasted when there’s a good chance it means nothing in the whole scheme of things. Keep things simple and realize that at the end of the day, family is one of the most important parts of your life. They’re there to love and support you, so don’t waste that valuable asset on something meaningless.

Work.

Many careers require you to think deeply and spend a great deal of time preparing spreadsheets, presentations or documentation. I would never advise against any of this, but be sure to use your time wisely. Many times I’ve found myself wasting hours and hours thinking about a possible solution to a problem while the answer was staring right at me the whole time. It’s natural to think that some problems must have a complicated solution or else they would have been solved already, but I’ve learned that this usually isn’t the case. All it takes is some clear thinking to realize that the problem you’re dealing with isn’t as big as it seemed at first. Keep things simple, break down the problem at hand and apply some logic to resolve it. People will take notice and soon you’ll start to hear, “Oh that was easy, I should have thought of that!”

Creativity.

Different people are interested in different types of art. Some like the more complicated and really deep types of music, literature and photography. I’m sure a music theorist and fan of classical would argue with a fan of hip-hop all day about what constitutes music and how something more complex is simply just better than something more simple. It really comes down to taste with art and what people can feel a connection with. Personally, I’ve always gravitated to the simpler forms of art. I can appreciate all forms, but I can really understand and feel a simple kick and snare with a chopped sample. Too many synthesized noises or layers upon layers of instruments and I’m lost. Not to say there is anything wrong with more complex forms, but when it comes to art, I’d always use the same advice, keep it simple and people will be feeling it. If you hit a drought of creativity, keep it simple. Go back to your roots and you’ll always find that inspiration and creativity coming back when you need them most.

In his jam “Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice),” Kendrick Lamar puts it oh so eloquently…”Some rappers using big words to make their similes heard, my simplest shit be more pivotal.”