Motivation is the driving force behind all our actions, from going up when the alarm clock rings in the morning to climbing Mount Everest.
Motivation is our desire to do things or to achieve results. Motivation is what makes us act, whether it is to eat a sandwich to still the hunger or to read the morning paper to know what is happening in the world. Motivation is the deciding factor in achieving your goals – and research shows that we can influence both our motivation and our self-control.
Have you ever been absorbed so completely by an activity that you ended up in a positive state where you completely lost the sense of time? Then you’ve probably been in “flow”. This state of total presence is accessible to everyone.
One of the most powerful state of minds we can experience is when we work on the peak of our abilities and everything works. Everything just flows in a state as its foremost explorer, the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi (pronounced: Mihaj Tsjiksentmihaji), has described as “getting into flow”.
Awareness that our volitional actions (karma) always have effects, for better or worse, gives us keys to living a happier life.
Few words have probably been so misinterpreted as the Buddhist concept of karma. One often thinks of fate – something that is predetermined and which we cannot do anything about. When someone suffers from an adversity in life, we can hear that “this was his karma”. If we are rich or poor, healthy or sick then this could be a result of our karma. Nothing could be more wrong. Karma (Sanskrit) simply means action and actions, as we all know, have consequences.
Ideas from two intellectual and spiritual giants could serve as a daily inspiration almost 2,500 years later.
One of the many joys of working in an international environment is the opportunities for discussions with colleagues and friends from all over the world on diverse issues as culture, history, food, politics, philosophy or just the best way of spending a day in a city other than your own.
I especially treasure the discussions with Greek friends, which after a while often tend to gravitate to how profoundly the thinking of ancient Greek philosophers has influenced our modern views. As a practicing Buddhist, I find it intriguing to see the parallels between the Hellenistic and Buddhist thinking, and how the great philosophies of the “axial age” (the centuries around 500 BCE) still are living and guiding people’s thinking across the globe.
With the brain in autopilot mode, we can perform many everyday tasks without any conscious effort. But as for anything else in the world, we pay a price for this ability to filter out the impulses that reach us.
With the autopilot turned on and the filters at the max mode, we simultaneously deprive ourselves from many experiences that both could enrich our daily lives and increase our creativity. Instead, this void is filled up by an endless monkey noise of thoughts that control us as much as we control them. Sometimes this may be good for creativity, but as often it is unwelcome thoughts focussing on problems and negative things.
Creativity, like all other processes in life, needs fuel, and the fuel for your creativity is your experiences.
Any one that wants to boost his or her creativity, in whatever field, therefore needs to be a collector of experiences and stimuli that could later either be used directly in the creative process or as a trigger for new associations. A music composer is collecting sound experiences, a painter is collecting images, an inventor is collecting ways to solve technical problems…
An acctive listening is the basis for true understanding.
All human progress starts with communication. Without learning from others, understanding challenges and problems, receiving constructive input and feedback that make us grow, and getting our points across, we can never reach our full potential as creative human beings.
Yet, we are often bad at communication, and what we may perceive as a meaningful dialogue, is too often parallel monologues where two persons are talking, and no one is listening.