Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being Creative and Being Happy

Do we know what really make us happy? Most often I do and there are times that I don’t know. With a background in psychology does help me to connect and piece the concept of happiness; understand mind over matters that filled my thoughts with confusions and the experiences I have seem oddly connected.

A college professor of psychology once said, "Happiness seems less a matter of getting what you want than of how you feel about what you have."

Happiness means different things to different people; many people may agree that things that make us happier like money, physical beauty, and social prominence do matter but that there are also other things that cause that little bounce.

Imagine just for a moment, put yourself first. You can’t be in the backseat to become Mother Theresa. You cannot love others if you don’t love yourself first, so start loving yourself instead of someone else. One most important thing which I’ve learned in life is not to short sell myself. When I hear my friends determine their own life's priorities, I am amazed at how many forget to make themselves a priority. If we do not take responsibility for our own happiness no one else will. If it’s to be, it’s up to me; if we are not happy, our relationships will not be satisfying and our other priorities will suffer. Don’t be sucked into the can-I-get-it-all-done daily hustle and be buried under an avalanche of concerns. So really knowing what makes you happy is as important as how it affects your whole life. In basic 101 coaching philosophy is "extreme self-care."

I have observed my youngest boy in physical pain and emotional stress while sparring with kick boxing and realize he is enjoying every moment. His enjoyment is a mix of spiritual and emotional while his happiness is rational judgment of physical conditions. So happiness is very subjective. I love the abstract of context and content of living in which it allows me to enjoy my life more with what I like to do which is more important than asking if I’m happy.

Ask me what makes me happy or sad and I’ll tell you these:

1) Happy: My two boys. Because the eldest is so full of life, graduated with a degree, financially independent and has a girl friend while the youngest is almost a young adult, makes good grades, is intelligent beyond his years, is respectful, isn't mindlessly gal crazy, stays in touch with me on a regular basis (a single dad), and asks me questions about life (everything!!).
To give and receive is a huge word with less effort. Happiness to me is to be constantly connected with friends and buddies, good music and someone to share it with. A quiet place to find myself when I get lost in the world.

2) Sad: People being killed and maimed in ridiculous wars. Wars occasionally have their place, but there are too many childish, greedy folks leading countries nowadays. Losing a friend to an accident. Knowing that a friend with cancer and just waiting for time, knowing I cannot truly save those people I love.

Happy may be as obsolete as the gold standard. Psychologist would argue that happiness is all about everyday activities but I believe we also need to understand how we can increase happiness too. I tend to apply creativity while finding the strategies to increase my own happiness.

I have a personal take that is influenced by creative terms like inspired by something, hit by an idea or struck by a thought. What these have in common is the idea of something coming from an outside thought that leads to a bigger idea. First, it’s the orientation that leads us to start seeding the thought with an idea and then the energy to magnify the channel of ideas. Creativity doesn’t occur in a vacuum. How it works for me is from conceptual to realization; I can feel the words, images, thoughts, forms, structures, relationships, notes or rhythms are coming from every corner and else where.

When I need to start something like writing a brief or develop a concept from nothing, I try to locate a creative hook, line or sinker. I would stare at my computer screen and wait for a muse to visit me, an idea to strike, or some other vaguely conceptualized kind of inspiration. Usually it doesn’t work. I end up feeling frustrated or leaving my computer and the blinking cursor, still looking for an inspiration. The truth is, there is no muse, there is no right frame of mind and there is no perfect moment. There is only now, here, right in front of you.

The language of inspiration has to do with excitement, being taken over by a strange force, which is when you can feel the creative juices flow through the self conscious self, enabling a beautiful flow of expression.

Nowadays, my way of approaching creativity is not by waiting for inspiration to strike but simply by starting with whatever I've got right here, right now. Creativity is all about action and the end result is happiness. I know there are some who enjoy drawing nudes in crayon that makes them happy or write poetry. Do whatever makes you happy and, as Maria von Trapp knew, simply remembering a few of your favourite things will bring a lilt to your step and a smile to your face - and then you won't feel so bad after all!

1 comment:

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