To do or to talk about doing

Donald Trump

Sometimes our ego gets in our way of actually doing things!

The creative process often begins with a first brilliant idea, and then in our inner dialogue we paint in brilliant colors the amazing things we want to achieve. This is an important part of creativity, because if we fail to formulate our intention to ourselves, we have little chance to realise our dreams.

Often this is the easiest part of the creative process, but it feels so good! Because with this, we have actually left the starting blocks and are out on the track – at least that’s what we think. The “feel-good hormones” are flooding in our body and we feel at our creative peak.

The feeling of being on the way and the need for confirmation (that inner ego that has to be nurtured and watered all the time), means that we immediately begin to share with others what great deeds we have ahead of us.

Say that we have an idea for the plot of a new novel. A Facebook posting about our new author ambition immediately gets a lot of “likes” and encouraged by this, we continue to describe in detail our masterpiece to be. The confirmation we receive encourages us to continue – but not to do, but to talk about doing.

Eventually however, comes the moment of truth, when we actually sit down to get started with the actual creative work. But panic! Nothing comes out! That amazing plot for our novel suddenly feels quite thin, and the words are not flowing as we had expected.

Well, we can always go back to our social media and continue sharing our author efforts, because then we have achieved something. Our self-esteem is restored!

PS. Sometimes it is not a bad thing though that ideas remain as words and do not materialise. 🙂


This blog post was inspired by Cory Arcangel’s book “Working on my novel“.

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Att göra eller prata om att göra

Donald Trump

Den kreativa processen börjar ofta med att vi fÄr en första briljant idé och sedan i vÄr  inre dialog i lysande fÀrger mÄlar upp det fantastiska vi vill Ästadkomma. Detta Àr en viktig del av skapandet för om vi inte lyckas formulera vÄr intention inför oss sjÀlva sÄ har vi liten möjlighet att kunna gÄ vidare.

Ofta Ă€r detta den lĂ€ttaste delen av skaparprocessen, men den kĂ€nns ju sĂ„ bra för i och med detta sĂ„ har vi ju faktiskt kommit ut ur startblocken och Ă€r ute pĂ„ banan – tror vi. “MĂ„-bra-hormonen” pytsas ut i kroppen och vi kĂ€nner oss pĂ„ vĂ„r kreativa topp.

KÀnslan av att vara pÄ vÀg och behovet av bekrÀftelse (det dÀr inre egot som hela tiden mÄste vÄrdas och vattnas) gör att vi direkt börjar dela med oss till andra om vilka stordÄd vi har framför oss.

Vi har kanske fĂ„tt en idĂ© till en roman. Ett Facebook-inlĂ€gg om vĂ„r nya författarambition fĂ„r genast en massa “likes” och uppmuntrade av detta sĂ„ fortsĂ€tter vi att beskriva det kommande storverket. Den bekrĂ€ftelse vi fĂ„r sporrar oss att fortsĂ€tta – men inte att göra, utan att tala om vad vi ska göra.

SÄ smÄningom kommer dock sanningens ögonblick dÄ vi faktiskt sÀtter oss ner för att göra slag i saken och pÄbörja sjÀlva skapandet. Men panik. Det vill sig inte! Det dÀr fantastiska romanuppslaget kÀnns plötsligt ganska tunt, och orden vill inte riktigt komma fram.

NÄja, vi kan ju alltid gÄ tillbaka till vÄra sociala medier och dela med oss av vÄra författarmödor, för dÄ har vi ju i alla fall Ästadkommit nÄgot. SjÀlvkÀnslan Àr ÄterstÀlld!

PS. Ibland Ă€r det inte alltigenom negativt att idĂ©er (romaner eller andra) stannar vid ord och inte övergĂ„r i handling. 🙂


Detta blogginlĂ€gg har inspirerats av Cory Arcangels bok “Working on my novel.

united-kingdom-flag-1-  This blog post in English

Take help to find your blind spots

blind spot

We all have a point deep inside our eyes, just where the optic nerve reaches the retina, where we do not have the ability to “see”. This is our “blind spot”. Also as humans, we carry blind spots in our personalities. These are peculiarities and behaviours that exist and prevent us from fully developing ourselves.

Although these blind spots can be completely obvious to the surroundings, it is meaningless to expect the persons in question to be able to to cope with them and adjust their behavious without help because they are actually blind to them.

You, like everyone else, have your own blind spots, and these can put obstacles in your way, not least if it is a behavior that other people find annoying. Knowing their existence, you should therefore take every effort to identify them. But as you don’t see them yourself, you have to rely on the help of others. If you are driven by an effort to constantly develop yourself and grow as a human being, you need to be prepared to open yourself to constructive criticism.

If you honestly and openly can listen to what others can tell about you, without immediately going into defense mode, you can gradually increase your self-awareness and eventually erase your blind spots.

But this requires courage to acknowledge your shortcomings both to yourself and others, and be prepared to work with them. And I can from my own experience certify that this could be a painful process.

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Ta hjĂ€lp att hitta dina blinda flĂ€ckar

blind spot

Vi har alla en punkt djupt inne i vĂ„ra ögon, just dĂ€r synnerven nĂ„r ut till nĂ€thinnan, dĂ€r vi saknar möjlighet att ”se”. Detta Ă€r vĂ„r blinda flĂ€ck, eller ”blind spot”. OcksĂ„ som mĂ€nniskor bĂ€r vi med oss blinda flĂ€ckar i vĂ„ra personligheter. Detta Ă€r egenheter som finns dĂ€r och som hindrar oss frĂ„n att utveckla oss sjĂ€lva fullt ut.

Även om dessa blinda flĂ€ckar kan vara helt uppenbara för omgivningen sĂ„ Ă€r det meningslöst att förvĂ€nta sig att personen ifrĂ„ga sjĂ€lva utan hjĂ€lp ska kunna komma tillrĂ€tta med dessa egenheter – för de Ă€r just blinda för dem.

Du, liksom alla andra, har dina egna blinda flÀckar och dessa kan stÀlla hinder i vÀgen för dig, inte minst om det Àr ett beteende som andra mÀnniskor irriterar sig pÄ. Du har dÀrför allt att vinna pÄ att identifiera dem.

Men eftersom du inte ser dem sjÀlv sÄ mÄste du förlita dig pÄ hjÀlp frÄn andra. Om du drivs av en strÀvan att hela tiden förkovra dig och vÀxa som mÀnniska sÄ mÄste du var öppen för konstruktiv kritik.

Om du pÄ ett Àrligt och öppet sÀtt kan lyssna till vad andra har att sÀga om dig, utan att omedelbart gÄ i försvarsstÀllning, sÄ kan du ocksÄ successivt öka din sjÀlvkÀnnedom och sÄ smÄningom radera din blinda flÀckar.

Men detta krÀver mod att bÄde inför dig sjÀlv och inför andra erkÀnna dina brister och vara beredd att arbeta med dem. Och jag kan sjÀlv av egen erfarenhet intyga att detta kan var en smÀrtsam process.

united-kingdom-flag-1-  This blog post in English

How do you spend your life capital?

capital

Imagine that you have a bank account where someone every midnight deposits € 1,440. You can use this money just the way you want in the next 24 hours, but after the day has ended the remaining money is withdrawn and you will never get them back.

In such a situation, you would probably have thought carefully how to use this money in the best way possible to give you, your family, your friends and others you care about the greatest possible benefit, satisfaction and joy. You would probably not have appreciated, if by midnight they just disappeared without having given you anything of value. You would probably also not have liked to waste them on something that was not important to you.

Of course, you do not have such a bank account, but you have something that is even better and more valuable. At the beginning of each new day, you have 1,440 new and completely unused minutes in front of you until to spend the best way you can until the next day begins. It’s up to you how to use them. You can choose to use these many minutes for something that gives you and others joy, for something useful. But you can also choose to spend this amazing gift at the front of the TV or worse by doing something that will hurt you or someone else.

To make a habit every evening to consider the day that passed from the point of view that it was filled by time that will never return, could help us choose a richer life.

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Hur spenderar du ditt livskapital?

capital

FörestÀll dig att du har ett bankkonto dÀr nÄgon varje midnatt sÀtter in 1 440 kr. Du kan anvÀnda de hÀr pengarna precis som du vill under det kommande dygnet, men nÀr dygnet har gÄtt sÄ plockas de ej anvÀnda pengarna ut frÄn ditt konto och du fÄr aldrig mer tillbaka dem.

I ett sÄdant lÀge hade du sÀkert funderat noga pÄ hur du skulle kunna anvÀnda de hÀr pengarna pÄ bÀsta sÀtt för att ge dig, din familj, dina vÀnner och andra du bryr dig om största möjliga nytta, tillfredsstÀllelse och glÀdje. Du hade antagligen inte gillat om de vid midnatt bara försvunnit utan att ge dig nÄgot av vÀrde. Du hade nog inte heller velat slösa bort dem pÄ nÄgot som var mindre viktigt för dig.

Du har givetvis inte nÄgot sÄdant bankkonto, men du har nÄgot som Àr Ànnu bÀttre och mer vÀrdefullt. I början av varje nytt dygn har du 1 440 nya helt oanvÀnda minuter framför dig tills nÀsta dygn börjar. Det Àr helt upp till dig hur du anvÀnder den hÀr tiden. Du kan vÀlja att anvÀnda dem till nÄgot som skÀnker dig och andra glÀdje, till nÄgot som Àr vÀrdefullt. Men du kan ocksÄ vÀlja att spendera den hÀr fantastiska gÄvan pÄ att slötitta framför Tv:n eller Àn vÀrre nÄgot som skadar dig eller nÄgon annan.

Att ta till vana att varje kvÀll betrakta dagen som gÄtt ur synvinkeln att den har varit fylld av tid som aldrig kommer tillbaka kan var till hjÀlp för oss att vÀlja ett rikare liv.

united-kingdom-flag-1- This blog post in English

The power of a good story

campfire

With a background as a researcher in the field of epidemiology and infectious diseases, I have produced more than my share in life of tables, graphs and charts. Often a research project starts with an exciting issue. What is the cause of an outbreak? How effective is a new vaccine? Does a certain infectious disease increase the risk of developing cancer later in life? How does infections spread in the community?

Based on these research questions, designing a study that is both feasible to implement and really provides answers to the questions is also a fascinating challenge. Often it is a long, laborious and costly journey from the first idea to the moment when the results are finally ready and the interesting findings for the first time are to be reported to an eagerly anticipating audience at a scientific conference.

The PowerPoint presentation is prepared, and with all the interesting data we have, it is filled with just the kind of tables, graphs and charts I mentioned in the first sentence. And we have so much interesting data that we want to squeeze into the 15-minute-long presentation. Everything is set for an exciting moment, but instead the audience looks bored, more than half are fiddling with their smart phones, and the elderly professor in the third row seems to be deeply asleep. What went wrong???

We humans have evolved as a species on the African savannah, where our ancestors shared their experiences through stories told during long evenings around the campfire. As there was a long distance between the small groups of people, and encounters with strangers did not happen very often, the wanderers from far away could count on a grateful audience when they came with news and accounts of the exciting adventures they had been involved in during their travels.

The human ability to convey experiences from generation to generation through oral tales has been decisive for our ability to survive, spread across the globe, and develop the communities in which we live. To tell and listen to a good story has been a survival advantage and is therefore deeply engraved in our genes.

An effective story touches the listener emotionally. It contains events and situations where the audience recognises themselves and it often follows a familiar narrative.

Perhaps the most famous narrative is “The journey of the heroe”, describing an ordinary person without any obvious abilities, who is drawn in a situation beyond the own control where he or she encounters almost superhuman challenges and times of deepest despair to towards the end be able to mount both physical power and personal character and strength to win over evil and gain a well-deserved reward in the form of gold and the heart’s love.

The power of this story is so strong that it has survived from the antique tales more than 2,000 years ago (and certainly significantly longer before that) to today’s Hollywood movies.

If we are naturally and emotionally absorbed by the heroic journey and afterwards easily can remember both the story and the learning point, the same does not happen naturally when we are fed with facts and statistics. Embracing the meanings of a story happens automatically and without any effort, while interpreting a chart requires a good amount of mental energy. And if we are drowned by several tables or charts in a short period of time, we will quickly drift far away with our minds.

If you want to convey an important message to an audience, it may therefore be useful to connect the message to a story where you may want to be personal. The story does not necessarily need to follow a particular narrative, but it should be sufficiently interesting and relevant to capture the interests of the audience. Once you get their attention, you can then pick two or three specific items that you want to stick in the minds of your audience and connect these items to your story.

The main points may be supported by your facts (and must be done so if it is a scientific lecture), but expect it to be an exceptional event when someone actually will remember the exact figures you presented. But don’t let that discourage you. The important thing is that you have reached out with your message – not the figures behind.

With a good and engaging story, you can make a lasting impression on your audience and get them committed for your cause that may even be long-term. Without a story behind your facts, the result may instead stop at a yawn. I wish that this was something I was taught during my research education and not through my own experience.

If you want inspiration how this can be done in practice, have a look at Hans Rosling’s fascinating Ted Talk about the magic washing machine.

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