This may seem a contradiction right there off the bat, and you’d be right to think so. I advocated for establishing a daily routine and sticking to it just a few days ago. Hear me out, though.
You find what’s good for you at a particular time and place in your life. Experimenting, you try out and create certain daily habits; then things change, circumstances around you, the job you’re doing, the weather, age, and stage of life. Because we live our lives, we are on the inside; we’re like fish who don’t notice the water, as David Foster Wallace so eloquently put it. It takes someone from the outside telling us we’ve changed or a critical event that brings an aha moment.
We like the habits we create for ourselves, at least I do. I really do. I put a lot of effort into establishing them in the first place, sometimes moving around schedules, expectations, etc. And then reality changes, sometimes even because of these habits, like my daily training routine, my bodily needs change; what was hard a year ago is now easier. Still, it takes me time to get out of my comfort zone to evolve to the next level.
One of my favorite things about the circus is that constantly, there is where to grow; it’s evident that the moment you achieve something is when you see what else can be possible. You find new routines to get you there. You develop not only bodily flexibility but also mental flexibility, a growth mindset that keeps propelling you forward; your body and mind adapt, following each other. You become increasingly better at what you do and so can get better results, creations, and technical ability of expression with your body. It’s inherent in the profession.
The secret is in the flexibility of mind to not get stuck in one place.
I’ve been playing with intermittent fasting in the past two weeks, which was a joy, I highly recommend it to anyone who cares about health. The most significant benefit of this game this far was the level of energy I get from not overeating; I have that tendency, I love good food, and when I eat, I tend to eat quite a lot. Finish from my plate, one of those habits from childhood that no longer serve me… To give a typical example.
I’ve been using Dave Asprey‘s new book Fast this way to start these experiments, and he says clearly the following: “Creating an obsessive habit is never a good idea, you can overdo it (intermittent fasting) just as you can do with any behavior. Don’t fall into the fasting trap… If you teach your body to exist in one constant state…You are training for weakness.”
And lastly, he says: “This is real life, it is full of curveballs and unexpected pleasures. You have to be ready for anything.”
I agree, and neither he nor I am the only ones to say this. That’s where creativity comes in.
In his book The Element, Sir Ken Robinson states, “No other period in human history could match the present one in the sheer scale, speed and global complexity of the changes and challenges we face… The only way to prepare for the future is to make the most out of ourselves, on the assumption that doing so will make us as flexible and productive as possible”.
In his book Creative Calling, a must-read for any beginning creator, Chase Jarvis says: “Many of the most creative jobs today are intrinsically creative. They involve doing things that didn’t even exist when the people doing them were still in school. The prescribed paths are crumbling away. The textbooks are moldering. It’s never been more necessary or less risky to pursue your own path.”
Pursuing a creative path, as opposed to the general convention, seems to be the best way to practice flexibility and, consequently, a sort of resilience in the face of an unknown possible future. If we can’t foresee the future, we have to find ways to develop our physical, mental, and spiritual flexibility and resilience in the face of what may come. In other words, be ready for anything.
As Ken Robinson says about people in their element: “If the world were to turn upside down tomorrow, they’d figure out a way to evolve their talents to accommodate these changes. They would find a way to continue to do the things that put them in their element because they would have an organic understanding of how their talents fit a new environment”.
I find that this is precisely what I am doing with this blog. I believe my best work is here now. Whoever wishes to follow my work will find the best of it here.
This is my flexible, resilient self talking. What about you? How are you adapting?
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Comment below, and if you can spare 5 minutes, take the assessment for leaders; it will help you assess the role of creativity in your work.