Monday, November 1, 2010

Striking sparks of interest

I've been lately musing on creativity and satisfaction - in work, at home, for fun, for business, for career. How do each of us find the thing where we feel connected to what we are doing, with a sense of purpose and meaning?

Many paths of exploring ideas around this have led me to the writings of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology who is very well-known for his work into "flow", including "human strengths such as optimism, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility". (his work was referenced in Dan Pink's recent book Drive)

(Side note: According to the articles I've read, you pronounce his name as "Mee-high CHICK-sent-me-high-ee". Apparently those that know Csikszentmihalyi, call him 'Mike'. )

In one of the articles I read, Csikszentmihalyi shared some suggestions on how to live a more creative life. And I'm thinking too, that through practising these tips, those connections we look for might be found also. So here they are:

Enhancing your creativity and happiness
  • Try to be surprised by something every day.
  • Try to surprise at least one person every day.
  • Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others.
  • When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.
  • Recognize that if you do anything well it becomes enjoyable.
  • To keep enjoying something, increase its complexity.
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation.
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life.
  • Start doing more of what you love and less of what you hate.
  • Find a way to express what moves you.
  • Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible.
  • Produce as many ideas as possible.
  • Have as many different ideas as possible.
  • Try to produce unlikely ideas.
I practised no. 4 today (When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it). It drew me through many paths on the web to the journal article where these tips were published, and I've shared them here, with you.