A study of children from 2 to 4 revealed 95% to be considered highly creative. This means these children are imaginative, innovative, they are curious and have tremendous capacity for abstract reasoning and for creating imaginative images. Those very same children were tested again at the age of 7. Only 4% were now considered creative. Between the ages of 4 and 7 children are repeated told things like “Make sure you only color between the lines.” “Don’t touch that!” “That is not the way you are supposed to do that.”
When I heard the numbers involved with this study I found it alarming, but not entirely shocking. Looking back on my formative years I can recall some of these same lessons. Without abstract thinking, however, most of the great solutions and leaps of growth would not have occurred. It is the ‘out of the box’ thinking that allows our scientists and entrepreneurs to bring some of the most wonderful things into the world
The wonderful news here is that creativity is not lost if you do not use it. What happens is that is becomes a latent talent, waiting to be dusted off and used again. Your creative muscles may have atrophied a bit, but fear not you can begin to strengthen them today. With the advent of things such as adult coloring groups, which I was just made aware they have at our local library, it is once again cool to be creative.
What is the big deal about being creative? It is really a two-fold win. First, it helps to create what scientists call brain plasticity. In layman’s terms, this means the ability for your brain to continue to grow. I do not think I need to go into much detail about why this is beneficial, but I will touch on a few of the big points. Exercising your brain in such a fashion can help keep degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia from gaining a foothold or at least slowing their advancement. It also leads to an increase in the ability of problem-solving. The applications for this is only as good as the areas of your life that have problems…that usually ends up being most of them.
An increased ability to solve problems and continued learning lead to our next benefit – increased self-confidence. Keeping your wits sharp will make you feel good about yourself. Tony Robbins, the famous life coach, said “It is progress that will lead to happiness.” If we think about that, isn’t it true? As we are working on and making progress towards a goal, isn’t that when we are happiest?
The final reason for being creative is equally important. IT IS FUN! As we grow older and take on additional responsibilities, it is the fun that often takes a back seat. That fun almost always includes the creative arts. This may stem from hearing “You can draw when your homework is done.” or “You will have time to play when your chores are done.” I can’t speak for all of you, but my chore list is often several days long. If I were to put off any creative or fun time until all of them were completed, my fun time would be far and few between.
Fortunately, the importance of play has come to the forefront once more. Those who have what we like to call a ‘work/life balance’ are often some of the most mentally and emotionally well-adjusted individuals. It is important to include some creative individuals in your inner circle. My beautiful lady, Margie, reminds me how important creativity is every day. I don’t know how she would test out in the well-adjusted scale, but I can tell you she has great taste in who she is dating.
If you don’t have creative friends in your circle, maybe you will have to take the lead and become one. Host an art night. Maybe form one of those adult coloring nights? Get a group together for one of those wine and painting nights. Margie and I host board game nights with friends that are not only creative, but always lots of fun. Your heart, your stress level and of course your brain will thank you.
While going through some of my childhood items my mother found cleaning out a closet in her house, I came across this little item. I found the irony in this because I could not have been very old, I am guessing 6 or so, when I wrote in this notebook. The thought bubble above Snoopy’s head could have very well been a warning from the universe. It could have been I was just a big fan of Peanuts and Charlie Brown. Although personally I think I am more like the character of Linus.
What this made me think of is how perhaps talents we have may be innate. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be at the age of 6, I highly doubt my answer would have been best-selling author and blog writer, but that is what I am on my way to becoming. Did I somehow already know that is what I was destined to do?
To add to the feelings of irony, found with this notebook was a collection of stories I had composed back in third grade. Other than noting my grammar has not improved a great deal since then, my writing style was oddly the same. The fact that these two items were found at this point in my life seems interesting to me. Sometime after receiving an A+ for my writing in third grade, I had transitioned to being warned by my teacher my senior year in high school never to pursue a career in writing. Had I come across these items at that time they would have totally meant something different.
Does timing and current life situations dictate what things mean or are we destined to find and become certain things in life? I guess that falls to a matter of opinion. As for me and my little Snoopy notebook, there are several ways in which I could view this. I could say that perhaps my grammar will never be good if it hasn’t improved in thirty years. I could say that my writing was better received in third grade than it is now. That may very well be true, but there is another way to look at it. A more positive way. I will just take it as a sign from the universe that being an author is really something that has always been a part of who I was. Also a sign and reminder that I am pursuing the write life path.
I think we have a choice as to how we interpret the things that happen to us in life. Whether we view them as positive and inspirational, or negative and foreboding is up to us and has a great deal of influence on the quality of our life.
This here a picture of myself and my good friend Johnny on St. Patrick’s day. I was working as a DJ at a local club that night. The story I am about to tell you serves as an example of several things. First, how small indeed the world is today. Second, how foolish things like racism and prejudice are. Third and finally, the benefits of being nice and sociable.
The back story is as follows. Johnny is a good friend of my lady, Margie. He has been a regular performer at her shows for quite some time. Before I met Johnny, Margie told me, “I think you are really going to like this guy.” She was indeed correct. Before I had the chance to discover that, however, there was some waiting involved. The reason for this waiting was due to the fact that Johnny lives in Mexico and only comes to visit at most a few times a year.
Through the last couple of visits he has read a lot of my writing and has found some things he can relate to. In fact, recently he has shared my book with people in the great state of Texas as well as other places. He has offered some very insightful feedback that has caused my writing to develop in ways it may not have otherwise. We have had some great discussions including sitting down for breakfast recently. These conversations has given birth to some great ideas that have been on this blog site and in my next book.
Speaking of books, recently Johnny has informed me that he is working on a book himself. He shared the plot with me and I must confess it sounds like a great story. I’ll update details as the situation develops. We discussed writing styles, publishing ins and outs as well as other ideas. There is no doubt his book will be a success. It is in a totally different genre than I write, but we certainly had a lot to discuss as the process and struggles of writing are the same regardless of content.
Johnny’s creativity is not limited to being a potential best-selling author. He also has several CDs available on cdbaby.com just search ‘Johnny L’. The style of his music is also something I am a fan of, classic standards from Elvis to Frank Sinatra. If you are a fan of this music or just great talent in general, I highly recommend giving him a listen.
The point of this post is several fold. If I were to make a sweeping judgment about people from the great country of Mexico I might not have the great benefits that my friendship with Johnny provides. If both Margie and I were not outgoing and genuinely friendly to the people at our shows Johnny would not have spent the time to become friends with us either. If it wasn’t for technology communication between all of us would be limited to just those few times a year. Whether you are from Mexico, Jamaica or Fiji shouldn’t matter. It is how you treat people and what you can bring to their lives. Technology is not limited by borders or culture, neither should your friendship be.
Below you will find a link to a video of my beautiful lady making one her divine cakes. Why am i sharing this? Several reasons. First, she looks far better in front of the camera than i do. Second, you can see the talent she has and the great cakes she creates. Third, it makes it easier to appreciate the hard work that goes into creating something we may just take for granted and enjoy the flavor of. Which, by the way was nothing short of divine!
Why is all of this on secret2anamazinglife? How does this cake making video help us to live our life better? Great questions. Here is how. No matter what we do in life be it bartender, postal worker, dj,author, or even blog writer there is an artistry to what we do. When you see a nice smooth driveway that’s been poured, or a house that is newly painted in addition to realizing all the hard work that goes into it appreciate the art that also goes into it. Sure watching this cake video it is easy to see the fished product as a work of art and if you tasted it that would be even easier, but know whatever you do on a daily basis you are creating your own work of art.
Whether i am writing these blogs or crafting a cocktail or even cutting my lawn if I understand I am creating my own work of art the results will be amazing. If you want to inspire others follow this website or like our Facebook page. Now click the link below and let your mouth water! If you think this cake looks delicious feel free to order one of your own from my lovely Margie!
“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love, or how you love, it matters only that you love”
A few months ago I had written about a class reunion I attended. I’ll spare all my friends and myself the year for purposes of imagining I am still young. After that a group of us wished to continue to get together. I invited a few people and one in particular was greeted with much chagrin. “Why did you ask him along? He is always such a jerk to everyone?” was pretty much the general consensus. I admit this gent was not the most enduring fellow and I could understand why people may feel as they do. Then I began to think, should we only show love and kindness to those whom we feel have earned it? True a seed grows the best in fertile soil, but is a garden not most appreciated in the city? I once heard a saying that I am about to totally screw up but the idea went something like this “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours they need it more than you do” In an earlier post I had written about two of my friends Kim and Stephanie who do so much for others I am often compelled to let them know that they are truly angels without wings. They usually accept these compliments as well as the ones they receive from others with modesty and grace befitting the wonderful people they are. Their kindness comes naturally and so quite often is taken for granted, so I find it important to stop and appreciate it. I know my life would be a lot less without them in it. Still I have a few people on the opposite end of the spectrum. They do not seem to do much for others, or show much concern for anything that does not serve them. As a general rule I do not have many of these people in my life, but I have learned a new an interesting thing about these people. Sometimes they have some of the greatest response to compliments out of anyone. Just the other day I was having breakfast with one of these people and had mentioned I was really happy to hear of a nice thing he had done for a mutual friend of ours. Just the mere act of being recognized as a kind person seemed to improve his disposition and foster a new sort of altruistic side of him as soon I discovered he had done the same favor for 3 other of our friends. My point is this, we all have a wide array of different people in our lives. Some kind and deserving of our love, some not so much and several in between. Show them all a little love. The ones who deserve it are often taken for granted for all the amazing things they do and a little appreciation and love will let them know it makes a difference and will make it easier to continue being the people who bring so much to our lives. Those who seem not to be deserving of any love, perhaps just a little will soften their hearts and bring the biggest change. So like the famous singer of the Beatles said “It matters only that you love” I encourage you to pick at least one person from each group this weekend and show them a little love. You always benefit by brining more love into the world.
Anyone who reads this blog or knows me personally knows that I am a big fan of keeping a journal. There are several reasons why. It is a great way to vent. It may be an easier way for someone who has trouble expressing their feelings. It is a great way to gain a little clarity when things seem overwhelming and confusing. All of these are true, but a friend of mine recently gave me a great idea of a new benefit you can gain from writing down your thoughts and feelings. Continue reading “A NEW USE FOR AN OLD FRIEND…”
There are often two great challenges in forming a more positive attitude and lifestyle. First, knowing what to change, much less how to change it. Second, keeping motivated in a negative world. A tool that goes a long way in addressing both of these concerns is a journal. If you kept a diary when you were younger you are familiar with the concept. A quick jot of your emotions on paper helps in so many ways. Not a fan of pen and paper? There are plenty of journaling software available. This idea was made popular by the TV show ‘sex in the city’. writing, or typing, your thoughts down helps in several ways. One, it helps with achieving clarity. Often when confused about what the right thing may be to do in a certain situation I journal about it. The answer doesn’t always jump out at me, but I usually leave knowing a little bit better where I stand. Two, it also helps see where negativity may be creeping in and what subjects you may not have the most pleasant outlook on. Being that your journal is only intended to be read by you, feel free to be completely honest and you may discover what is holding you back from living life in a more positively passionate way, and how best to move forward. Third, if you are a fan of going back and reading what you have written days, weeks, months or even years earlier it can be a great way to see how far you have come. I must confess this is not a practice I often do, but when I do it seems comical to see what I may have considered an impossible problem 6 months ago that I may have forgotten about already. It also helps me see how much more positive I have become or warns me that I may not be as positive as I should be. Trust me when I tell you a journal can be the kindest and cheapest therapist you will ever Love.
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”
Mother Teresa has always been a great source of inspiration to me personally. Her service to people most of the world would rather ignore is to me the definition of compassion. Like other aspects of her life, this quote gives us a great way to bring light and love to the world. A lot of people ask me “what’s the big deal with a smile?” I always tell them, if you feel a smile is no big deal then why not share one with everyone? Let’s be honest, can’t you remember at least one time when you received a smile at a most unexpected time? Maybe from a stranger? I must confess to being guilty of not sharing my smile as often as I should, but when I do, it never fails to amaze what doors it opens. I have made more new friends with a smile, then with most anything else I can imagine.
This little project takes a few minutes, but to be honest can offer years of rewards. Everyone, no matter how positive or enlightened has a bad day. Just the other day I was informed my job may be eliminated. It happens, sometimes outside circumstances throw us for a loop. What to do then? There are steps we can take to ‘soften the blow’ of these less than cheery days. Working with either your gratitude journal, or vision board is far more effective when you are in a positive state of mind. So I strongly suggest in being proactive and having several tools ready for days when we are just not on top of our game, for whatever reason.
Music has a strong influence over how we think and feel. Everyone has different tastes. In fact, my sister and I regularly debate the merits of different musical artists. Weather you like rock or country, jazz or hip-hop, there are songs we all enjoy dancing to and that make us feel happy and alive. Now I’m not talking about just songs like “Don’t worry, be happy” although if that works for you, use it. One of my favorite is “Toes” by Zac Brown as it makes me think of a tropical vacation. Whatever your taste, take time to compile a list of all the songs that inspire you. This can be done in an afternoon or over several days. Then either burn them all onto a cd, or add a playlist to your favorite mp3 player. My only caution is to avoid songs that contain angry or negative lyrics. Not to say that music does not have merit, I certainly find some to be great for working out to, but in this case keep it happy and uplifting. Then when sad, angry or anxious feelings come knocking, as they do for us all, you have an hour or so of music that can alter your state. Now I am not saying this will fix or even change whatever is the cause of your feelings, but it can but you into a better state to deal with them. Combine this with some of the other tools we have listed or that are yet to come and you will conquer whatever life will throw at you! Stay strong, stay positive my friends!