Creative Triggers

IMG_0513 IMG_0511

This weekend, I was at Six Flags when I suddenly felt creative.  I was by the Batman ride, and the theme music came on, and my imagination went wild.  I wanted to start writing immediately.

Movies, music and art can definitely trigger creativity for artists.  They can also provide distraction, like hours of mindless Facebooking or procrastination.  They key is knowing if you’re resting, triggering creativity or procrastinating.  It’s also important to know what your creativity triggers are because this is how you get things done.  It’s how you create worlds in your mind and then bring them to paper.

This isn’t just for art.  Art is a beautiful mirror for the real world.  It tells us truths about what’s around us in a more simplistic way.  Sometimes we don’t notice the superhero in ourselves until we see a film about it.  Sometimes we don’t see the beauty in daily life until we see artwork.  Creativity triggers can also trigger solutions in other fields and in personal relationships. In that moment, we are lifted of the ground to a higher plane.  We’re flying with the birds, sitting on a mountain top or gazing at the earth from on top of a satellite orbiting the earth.  We’re in a new and different place, and we see things from God’s perspective.  We’re at peace.

What we’re realizing here at Skyrunner Productions is that the worlds we create in our minds come to fruition.  We have to see it first in order to work toward it.  We have to see it first in order to make it happen.  And once we see it, we can act upon it.  Art helps us with seeing first.  Without this outlet, we’re often stuck on the ground, wondering how we’re going to get our feet out of the mud.

I think that science has a similar effect.  Science is like magic except real.  You can make things that you never thought possible using science.  New technology is amazing.  But lots of science was first inspired by art.  Think Twenty Thousnad Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.  It was published in 1870 when none of the underwater exploration was possible.  And it was created first by art and then by science.  This underwater exploration then inspired space exploration.  And much of the technology for space looks just like it did when artists first thought it up in their minds.

So what are you seeing in your life today?  What are your creative triggers which can help you see and then create your goals and dreams for now and the future?


Clear Mind

IMG_0050 IMG_0309

It’s said that authors write about whatever they need to learn.  This is so true.  Today, let’s talk about having a clear mind and my to-do list.  Sometimes, I have a million things to do.  It’s hard to have a clear mind.  So here are some organization methods that I’ve been implementing (and trying to implement) which are helping me have a clear mind and to perform at a high level. My first and favorite method is Google Calendar.  I have an Android phone, and so this calendar syncs perfectly with the phone.  I can have reminders emailed to me and notifications pop up on the phone.  It’s like having a personal assistant all the time.  I know where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.  Awesomely, my business partner = fiance can also be on the same page because he can check my calendar at any time.  I don’t just put meetings on there.  I put appointments with myself to do certain work so I know what I’m supposed to be working on, and when I’m not working on it, I don’t have to worry.  My calendar will remind me when the time comes. Going along with my favorite Google (which, by the way, knows too much about me), I love Google Keep.  I can keep lists on there, and the lists are accessible online and on my phone.  I’ve been to the grocery store way too many times and forgotten to get the one item I absolutely needed, so this wonderful device is keeping me on track.  It also stores a list of books I want to read, should I ever need to buy a book or kill time. My lab also implements Feng Office which keeps a list of tasks and their due dates.  It’s not my favorite method, but it’s nice to have a list that my adviser and I can be on the same page. I’ve found that I get more done by being organized.  That I worry less even if my list of things to do is high because I know my system will ensure that I do something. Other things I do is delegate or hire someone if I know this task will be better done by someone else.  And, if a task is not worth doing, I just don’t do it.  I used to feel guilty for this because usually the task would stay in my head somewhere, and I’d think, “I need to do this someday! I should do this!”  But now, I just don’t do it because no one can do everything, and I would rather get 10 important things done than 50 unimportant things. How about you?  How do you organize yourself?  How do you leave your mind open for creativity and more important things than your to-do list?  How do you sync with your significant other/boss/BFF?


The Team


Have you ever stopped to think of who is on your team?  Today I’ve been thinking about the people on my team.  I am doing a mental draft so I can choose who is a positive influence on me and who isn’t.  This isn’t the same as people who happen to be in my life.  It’s the people who cheer me on and encourage me.  It’s the people who want the best for me.  My fiancé is one of those people who always wants the best for me.  If he sends me a text, it’s usually to encourage me.  I know that he always means the best.  My sister is another person who’s on the home team.  She always wants the best for me, and I can show her my unfiltered self and know that she loves me.

I have co-workers on my work team who help me accomplish more than I could if I worked in an office alone.  I have friends who are on my home team emotionally and who physically make me get in shape by scheduling early morning runs.  Sometimes I can define who’s on my team by identifying who isn’t on my team.  I have a few friends who are gossipy.  These are friends still, but they’re not on the home team.  And I have other people who help me go along as long as I’m useful, but I have to filter out what they say for the useful things.  I can’t just accept what they say as true because it could be discouraging.  And I don’t have time for discouragement.

So today, I’m focusing on the team.  I’m focusing on the people who encourage me and help me get my goals.  How about you?  Who is on your team?


Working Alone


I used to have a theory that if I just surrounded myself with people who were go-getters, I, too, would become a go-getter.  While good influences are wonderful, I think this theory is just not quite sufficient.  Here’s why.

My first example was with working out.  I would just take every opportunity to work out that came my way when people invited me.  So this added up to working out two times a week when friends were around, and sometimes it would just be once a week.  Since I need to work out at least 3 times a week to be in shape and have something to build on, working out with other people just isn’t enough.  I need to be motivated enough to work out alone sometimes.

My second example is happening today.  Sometimes I am motivated by the routine of getting into the office and the sound of clacking keyboards everywhere.  This  morning, no one was in the office.  No one was there because, it turns out, it’s a holiday.  For graduate students, the word “holiday” means “work from home” or “do an hour less work.”  So I need to be self-motivated in this moment to get things done because I’m not surrounded by the go-getters at this very moment.

I do, however, find that systematic habits and accountability are really useful in achieving goals.  For instance, I’m much more likely to work out if I do it first thing in the morning because I’ve made this habit of working out before fully waking up.  I also downloaded a Bible app to read the Bible every day.  I also have a habit of working while I’m at work.

If I develop a couple of more habits, I think they will help me to be much more goal-oriented.  So, to kick myself into shape, I’m going to very publicly announce that I will no longer be snoozing in the mornings.  I find snoozing to be a terrible waste of time, and it keeps me from getting things done in the morning.

How about you?  What habits do you need to develop or do away with in order to become more goal-oriented?  Have you ever tried to ride on the coat-tails of someone else’s good habits to only find that you need your own to get what you want?


Going After What You Want


Have you ever tried accomplishing goals in your life but every time you try, something comes in your way? Obstacles are mental challenges to discourage us from achieving what we want in life. Obstacles are also building blocks to greatness. We have to decide how bad we want something to push through it. We all have an undying spirit within. We have to “just do it; feelings are deceiving.”

Sometimes we don’t feel like doing something but the grace or will to force ourselves comes into action. Today, I jolted myself into working out and playing basketball. I felt great afterwards. We can’t wait for the right feelings to come in order for us to do something that’s good for us.  If we wait, we may be stuck and never achieve what we are destined to achieve. There is no such thing as waiting for the right time.  Waiting is the same as preparing – it’s an action, not a resting position.  You keep trying till the right time comes. You will learn a lot along the way. Do not mistake this as not being patient.

What do you hope to accomplish and what is in your way of accomplishing it? What are the necessary steps to take in order to accomplish that goal?


Burn Your Ships


According to folklore, when Cortez came to the Americas, he had his men burn their ships. As a result, everyone was well-motivated to survive in the Americas because they had no other choice. Sometimes the problem we have is that we want something, but we don’t fully commit to it. We kind-of want to do this, and we kind-of want to do that.

This week, we were talking to one of our production assistants who has a goal to make it in the film industry. He told everyone he was doing it. The result is that he created this atmosphere of social pressure, and it hardened his determination. This guy is going to make it. He burned his ships.

It’s like Nike says, just do it. But how many of us waiver, and in waivering, we can never get anything difficult done? My friends and I sign up for races so that we have to work out. We’re already committed. No one can run a half marathon well without training, so we train because we are committed. Commit, commit, commit. You aren’t going back. Burn your ships.

When I came to school, I made that the only option I could do. I must get this degree. I am committed.

Amazingly, having lots of options and opportunities isn’t adding to our happiness. We have too many options, and so we never commit. The result is we can’t really take advantage of any of these opportunities. Then some of them pass us by, and we think, “Maybe that would’ve been great.” But, at the time, we weren’t willing to commit, and we are in a stalemate forever. I’m not advocating making hasty decisions. I just think that sometimes we’re unable to reach our goals because we don’t have the conviction of mind to commit, and then we don’t persevere and fight for our goals because we’re not fully committed.

How about you? What goal or plan do you need to commit to today? What can you do to burn your ships and fully commit?


Plan A


Today, I’m working on my plan A.  Recently, I was filming at a magazine launch in which a former mayor of Washington DC, Marion Barry, was the guest speaker.  He said something along the lines of, “Don’t make a plan B.  That’s just giving up on your plan A.  If plan A doesn’t work out, then make a new plan A.”  We love that.  Of course, we’re planning for the future, but we’re always working on our highest goals, our reach plans, our biggest possible accomplishments.

So today I’m working on plan A.  I’m writing, promoting, and working on this movie.  In Proverbs 16:9, it says, “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go (CEV).”  I think some people mistake this verse to mean, “Whatever happens, happens.”  And, “don’t make plans because you don’t know what will happen.”  I take a different view.  I think it means that when we’re in the will of God, then he’ll direct our paths and plant dreams in us.  Then, we need to work on those dreams, and God will make them happen if he placed them in us.

How about you?  What’s your plan A?  What are you doing to make it happen?