Newsletter, July 2016: Creativity and procrastination, upcoming events, and suggested reading

Productivity is difficult. Productivity when it involves any sort of creativity might even be more challenging, if you don’t already know exactly what you want to write/draw/invent. And the hard part is there is no way around the fact that if you want to become better at creating, you simply have to do that thing. A lot. Sometimes, you will spend hours working on something, only to have 10 or 20 people read it. This can be disheartening. It can make you wonder if it’s worth it, or why you are doing it. But if you change your perspective and look at creating as a way to make you better, to enhance your well-being, it takes the onus off of who sees it and makes it about the process. 

When I first began writing my blog, 7 years ago, nobody read it. Nobody knew about it, and I didn’t promote it because I wasn’t confident in my abilities. I still wouldn’t exactly say confidence it exuding out of me, but every time I write, I learn something, either about the topic I am researching or about myself. Once I realized this, it no longer mattered whether anyone read my words. I began looking at my writing as a gift to myself, and I figure if I’m learning from my writing, maybe somebody else is too. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy, and there are definitely days I don’t want to do it. It’s sort of like running. Even if I dread the first few steps or keystrokes, I never regret having done it once I’m finished. 

This morning, in fact, I had a newsletter to write and a profile piece to begin. Rather than get to work on these things, I went for a 6 mile run, surfed the web for about 20 minutes, and then did a full mobility/arm balance workout, complete with video. I went down to my favorite coffee shop without my computer, instead editing the video, put together a little clip of my workout, and posted it on instagram. (This is procrastination at it’s best. You find yourself doing things you don’t normally like doing, but in the moment it sounds better than the work ahead of you). Finally, I made my way home, opened the computer, and began to write. Research actually shows a little bit of procrastination might lead to increased creativity.* It gives ideas a chance to percolate, maybe allowing something that hadn’t been there before to show up. 

Too much procrastination, however, leads to a rushed product, something that isn’t as polished as perhaps it would have been had the work been done in a less hurried way. Ultimately, if you want to produce anything, whether it’s strength, mobility, writing, video, you have to step on the mat and do the work., figuratively speaking.** And once you focus and begin doing, the ideas will show up and production will begin.

*This came from Adam Grant’s TED talk on procrastination and creativity. It can be found here: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=ted+talk+creativity+procrastination&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

**This idea is found both in yoga and in martial arts. Tony Gentilcore recently wrote a blog on becoming a better writer which ties these ideas up neatly. It can be found here: http://tonygentilcore.com/2016/06/5-ways-to-become-a-better-writer-written-by-not-stephen-king/


Suggested reading:
This month’s reading is a little bit different. I am sharing resources I put together for a workshop on stress and resiliency I taught a couple of weeks ago. While a couple of the book suggestions have shown up on here before, all of the articles are new and worth checking out if you are interested in how stress works.

Kelly McGonigal:
TED talk- 
https://www.ted.com/speakers/kelly_mcgonigal
http://ideas.ted.com/how-to-be-good-at-stress/
Book: The Upside of Stress

Mindset (Carol Dweck):
https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/
http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en
Book: Mindset

Survival (Lawrence Gonzalez):
http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/2008/08/everyday-survival/laurence-gonzales-text/1
Books: Deep Survival, Surviving Survival

Flow:
http://time.com/56809/the-science-of-peak-human-performance/

Mindfulness:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/crisis-knocks/201003/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-what-it-is-how-it-helps

Sleep and learning:
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/11/20/365213989/sleeps-link-to-learning-and-memory-traced-to-brain-chemistry

Sleep and stress:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-m-barnes/sleep-and-stress_b_3415480.html

Nature:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/call-to-wild-text

Altruism and emotional well being:
https://www.verywell.com/benefits-of-altruism-3144685

Breathing:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/ways-relieve-stress.aspx

 

Upcoming events:
Introduction to Arm Balances and Handstands, Saturday, August 13, 9:30-11:30
Location: Be Well Personal Training
Cost: $30 before 8/6, $40 after

Joint mobility: We will utilize a variety of concepts, including somatic practices, controlled articular rotations, and concepts from GMB to enhance joint awareness and mobilization.
When: Saturday, August 27, 9:30-11:00
Location: Be Well Personal Training
Cost: $20 before 8/20, $25 after

Body, Mind, Nature: an all inclusive weekend retreat
Where: Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga
When: June 2-4
Cost: $495-$875 (depending on room selection) before 3/1/17; $560-$940 after
(Registration and more information will be up on my website by the end of July. This event is capped at 24 participants and is expected to sell out. Please contact me if you would like to be advised that registration is open). 

All information and registration is available at www.bewellpt.com. My stress workshop might be coming back up to the Bay Area. Information will be posted as soon as a location is determined.