7 Brilliant Blogs to Help You Get the Most Out of the Year Ahead

“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.” ~ Hillary DePiano

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the festive holiday season. Time marches mercilessly on, and 2017 has arrived with the usual flurry of fireworks and fizz.

I’ve had a wonderful, whirlwind time with my family, especially since Emily and Ruby’s aunt, uncle and cousins were over from Connecticut between Christmas and New Year. It’s been a reminder of what’s truly important to me. I’ll probably share some of our travels and escapades in another post.

But to kick things off for 2017, in the time honoured tradition of taking stock of life – of scrutinising circumstances and getting in-tune with hopes, goals and dreams at the beginning of a new year – I have been scouring the web for some inspiration.

magic-and-dreams

There are 7 particular articles which have inspired me and helped me to start 2017 as I mean to go on.

I’ve done away with resolutions. They set you up to fail. Last January I wrote two detailed posts (Part 1 & Part 2), on goal-setting.

The biggest achievement for me in 2016 was that I revolutionised my health and helped others to do the same. I started a new business focusing on elite health and I’m now on the right path and following its evolution.

person-at-summit

This year I’m concentrating on themes, which will encompass all my goals and guide my decisions for 2017. My main themes are presence and productivity. By increasing presence I can be more productive than ever. It’s a tricky combination because if I focus too much on either theme at the expense of the other it could prove counter intuitive.

Presence will infuse every decision as awareness (or lack of), underpins all thoughts. Productivity has connotations with big business and bottom line, but when it’s achieved through a conscious work/life balance and not at the expense of health or other priorities, you can truly make the most of your time; however you spend it.

surfer

For instance, it takes time out of my busy schedule to play my violin, but it’s something I love doing, and after a violin practice my creativity is usually buzzing and I’m generally more productive. Productivity isn’t only working, it’s being able to enjoy and accomplish the activities and objectives that are meaningful to you…

I have big goals this year. It overwhelms me a bit, but I usually bite-off more than I can chew, so why change the habit of a lifetime? I need to feel inspired otherwise what’s it all for? I’m open and ready for new opportunities and spontaneous action!

I hope you can find some golden nuggets out of these 7 brilliant blog posts:

  1. You Will Not Be Denied — Develop Your Daily Inspirational Routine
  2. 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face
  3. Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives
  4. Intentions
  5. 3 Principles for 2017
  6. 9 Ways to Kick Ass and Conquer the World in 2017
  7. Buckle Up for a Reality check! 11 Things We Can’t Change This New Year

As always, at the start of a new year, I like to watch ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ by Carl Sagan:

I hope 2017 brings you much joy, health and success.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The Eureka Effect – Where Does Creativity and Inspiration Come From?

“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” ~ Bruce Garrabrandt

Can you remember being at the receiving end of an enlightening or illuminating idea that flashed into your mind like an incandescent light bulb? Perhaps you’ve had quite a few moments of erudition? I’ve had a few too; and who wouldn’t want to have more of those those elusive but cherished aha! moments?

creativity lightbulbsUnfortunately the moment doesn’t tend to hang around long, you have to use it or risk losing it. I have taken to keeping a pen and pad by my bed, in my office and buried in the murky depths of my handbag, ready and waiting for rapid note taking… You never know when such blessings will infiltrate your consciousness, so it’s wise to be prepared! There have been times after stirring from slumber, when I am still in that twilight zone between lucid dreaming and being fully awake, when my subconscious mind has been streaming ideas into my conscious mind. Sometimes it’s so fast I just jot down whatever is in my head so as not to forget anything later on. I can always ditch the stuff that I may not use in the future.

In a minor aha! moment I thought it would be interesting to investigate such ephemeral phenomena, and try to understand how we can better manifest these fleeting gifts from the universe.

Etymology and language is constantly evolving, but essentially the definition of the word inspiration hasn’t changed much from its Latin roots: inspirare, meaning divine guidance, or in a more literal sense, breathing in spirit.

Creativity-takes-courage-Henri-Matisse-inspirational-quoteIdeas are everything. Ideas fuel man’s progress and make life better for humanity, especially in the areas of the arts, literature, health, science and technology. However, our ideas don’t all have to be on the same level as E=mc2, we can achieve smaller-scale wins by solving our everyday challenges, or, in my case, figuring out how to multi-task having a career alongside motherhood and running a home… I’m still figuring that one out!

Ideas are the intangible, ethereal side of our being. We cannot force them, but perhaps we can increase their frequency by learning a bit more about how they come about. Of course, they are nothing but useless data if they are not followed up by meaningful action.

Thomas Edison famously said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

And here’s the rub: although that moment of glorious enlightenment may appear to be a bolt from the blue, it’s most likely the result of many smaller steps over time, and at times, a seeming impasse as to how to proceed. We do what we think we should, we hit obstacles, we try again, hit the repeat button a few times, and then, if we have the right mindset, the answer we have been seeking miraculously presents itself to us. We could be standing at the bus stop or be out on a hike, we could be in the middle of reading a book, we could be cooking, we could be drifting off to sleep…and ding! A passing, but profoundly brilliant thought pops into our heads.

Giovanna Mingarelli from the World Economic Forum highlights her take on the Eureka Effect:

The word ‘Eureka’ was coined by Greek polymath, Archimedes, after he had an epiphany about how to measure the volume of an irregular object.

Barry Evans gives an enlightened TED talk about Archimedes and his all important principle:

There are various theories about how creative insight works, this is my perception garnered from my personal experiences: I concentrate on a problem, mull it over, write down my ideas, follow the ones I think will work best, tweak if necessary, and then later try to empty my mind of it completely. Sometimes I forget about it for a long time, and then an answer or solution usually comes to me. I know that may sound simplistic, but it’s worked for me in the past.  I just have to get out of my own way. And of course, some Eureka moments are more recondite than others, but the fact that any kind of inspiration is flowing is a positive result. I have also found that meditation has greatly helped me to relax and clear my mind, to have that space when I have no thoughts and no content in my mind. In the right conditions I can easily go into the alpha brainwave pattern, and this seems to support my intuition and the mental settings needed for insight to take place. I find other than my meditation, nature and music are wonderfully conducive.

Transcendence seems to be key, as stated in this talk by author and entrepreneur Bernardo Kastrup (if you can put up with the audience coughing):

Here’s my previous post about meditation.

An absolutely brilliant presentation about the process of creative insight and why you need grit:

Again, they both draw the conclusion that eventually one should stop looking and focussing. Jonah talks about those all-important alpha waves again…and about the obsessive revisions that Beethoven made to his music to attain the level of genius that he is loved and admired for. Perseverance is half the battle, which reminds me of a famous Calvin Coolidge quote…

When worthwhile ideas come, it’s up to us to stick with them, hone them and improve them, and ultimately, to have faith in them.

Fabulous article by Eckhart Tolle on creativity.

CreativityI’m really getting into this mnemonic lark! Cognitive Random Ephemeral Attributes Transformed Into Valuable Expression

Wherever they come from, (perhaps it’s the infinite field of consciousness that all humans have access to), ideas will flow to you if the conditions are favourable. The Eureka Effect isn’t a domain just for the chosen few… Pay attention to the answers you seek, and then let it go. That song from Frozen sums it up perfectly! Take a walk, empty your mind and get ready for the influx…

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

P.S. Any takers for the problems facing the Middle East at the moment??