We're heard it said time and again that an "attitude of gratitude" is one of the keys to a fulfilling life. You might already practice this, or it may not be anything new to you. But sometimes we need a reminder -- or a gentle nudge. So here are some ways you can experience more love and gratitude every day:
Little by little, I was feeling better, more able to get out of bed, more in control of my own emotions. I was, quite literally, drawing myself out of depression -- the deepest depression I've ever known. With these drawings, I was trying to make sense of how to live with cancer, but I was also trying to work out how to go on living with joy, wonder, and especially hope.
Canggu is a visually stunning paradise where rice paddies meet ocean. Like most of Bali, it is full of kindness, and very relaxed. Out on the roads, cars, trucks, buses and scooters press up against each other, snaking through black exhaust in an unhurried manner, everyone just emanating this "we'll get there eventually" vibe.
Want to know a little secret? My novel focuses on sex, violence and money so it's near impossible for me to publish it without offending someone. So I thought, f*ck it. I'm going to write whatever the hell I want, and once it's out into the world, I let go of the outcome. Criticism, praise, or worse, crickets -- I'll take it all on the chin. As long as I know I've written what I wanted to, that in my mind equals literary success.
Some people are extremely creative and productive. They're prolific writers, painters and musicians; they're visionary designers, architects and speakers. It's as though they experience no obstacles to producing a constant flow of high-quality work. Some people are just lucky and their productivity comes naturally. The rest of us can learn their secrets and discover, for ourselves, that amazing state of flow.
If an idea comes from your brain, and you haven't looked at or compared or copied anyone else's work in order to conceive that idea, then guess what -- that's an original idea. What usually happens though is we get all excited, think the idea is brilliant, and then we Google it like a crazy person and our hearts sink when we see something similar has been done before. But here's the thing: The fact that someone has created this before doesn't mean your idea isn't original.
My dad is artistic. He creates really beautiful fishing flies. Just mention his work of fly tying and watch his eyes light up. Sit a moment as he winds his threads and here him talking to himself passionately about what he is doing. When he says otherwise, it makes me wonder: Who told my dad that he's not artistic? What made him think that?
The trouble with innovation, though, is that it isn't easy. Creating the next big thing requires the stars to align. Hard work and luck are both parts of the equation, but there's another trait that makes innovation possible -- creativity. Creativity is the key to innovation, and it's what makes entrepreneur culture so enticing.
Instead of trying to do something massively challenging, you try getting yourself where you want to go one little step at a time. A friend of mine has been unwittingly proving how well this works. He wanted a chance to play his bass guitar, so he set up a space in his house for the necessary amps, mics and a drum kit. And here's what happened.
I consider throwing on the same T-shirt and jeans or suit and tie -- day in, day out -- a missed opportunity to improve your productivity before you head into the workplace. That bit of mental energy and time you may devote to finding something new to wear every morning can very well pay off dividends, I find. It's meditation by menswear.
Humanity is seen to be independent from nature, even above it. This has been the Western vision of the world. In poisoning the earth, we were led on a self-destructive path. But I try to invoke here an alternative vision, expressed by Islamic (Sufi) arts, which finds that the way humanity relates and depends on nature can be renewed once the creative life is reclaimed.