Is Your Lifestyle Killing Your Creativity?
A few weeks ago, I finally finished Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles, which I started on Christmas Eve! I read it at the recommendation of my editor, and while there was a lot of solid information and useful advice, I had to slog through a swamp of repetition and unnecessary anecdotes to find it.
I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, which is essentially at the heart of aaalllll these principles. What you focus on is what you attract. The energy you put out into The Universe is what comes back to you. It all makes sense.
The principle that resonated with me the most was #39: Stay Focused on Your Core Genius. The philosophy here is: We all have one thing that we love to do more than anything else and are great at, it’s something we hate to even charge people for because we enjoy it so much. The goal then, is to arrange our lives so we have as much time as possible to focus on what we enjoy doing, and nurturing our Core Genius. This also makes sense.
We all have to do things we hate, right? Yes and no. You don’t have to do anything. What you do is, choose to endure the unlikable thing because the alternative is a)Expensive b)Difficult c)Scary because it involves giving up controls d) Simply habit
I was recently whining to my dad because I’d heard of a freaking amazing app called Filld (a gas delivery service for your car) but it isn’t in our state yet. * I must add here that my friend Kate had this idea years ago and her business name was much better —> Night Gas)
I don’t use the H word often, and I HATE putting gas in my car. I despise it, and I have since I first got a driver’s license. It’s always inconvenient.
“I would happily pay 2-3 times regular price to have someone put gas in my car while I’m at the gym,” I lamented to my dad, while dreamily reading the details in the app.
“Boy, this generation is getting so lazy,” he laughed. (He’s old school all the way)
I was almost offended, because I know “lazy” is, in his view, one of the worst insults he can deliver.
“No, no, no, that’s not it. It’s the opposite of lazy,” I tried to explain, getting fired up. “It’s about wanting my time to be as useful as possible, get it? If someone puts gas in my car while I’m at the gym, I don’t have to stop on the way home and I have more time for other things.”
He shook his head at me as ate his lunch. His philosophy is “We all have to do things we don’t like, it’s just part of life.”
“Okay, sure. But why? Who decided that? And why would using the Filld app make me lazy? It’s a thing already, so obviously I’m not the only person who would use it. It provides jobs. Maybe there are people out there who LOVE pumping gas as much as I hate it. I’m actually doing them a favor! ” (He’s still not buying it)
My point is, how many things are we all doing day after day after day that suck the life out of us? That take away time from our Core Genius? My guess is a lot.
he next step is to identify this soul sucking tasks, and either eliminate them or delegate them to people who are excited to do it.
Earlier on in The Success Principles, Canfield says the average American watches 6 hours of television a day. I figured that was probably a figure from previous decades and would be a lot lower now. Wrong.
According to a 2016 Nielsen Survey, the average American adult is watching five hours and four minutes of television per day. (Four and a half hours are live TV, another 30 minutes are DVR.) That’s just television — When you add it in with all our other screens and media options, the average is 10 hours and 39 minutes. Holy moly.
Canfield challenges readers to eliminate one hour of television per day. Let’s call that “screen time” here. One hour per day comes out to more than nine 40-hour workweeks in one year. Isn’t that incredible to consider?
We’re spending all this time pumping gas, watching TV, scrolling on Instagram, mowing our lawns, and doing who knows what else that is preventing us from focusing on the things we love to do. So what can we do about it?
The answer is different for each person. When I took Jen Sincero’s Badass Habits course back in January, I spent a lot of time pondering this question. I realized my days left me frazzled and maxed out, yet feeling like I’d accomplished very little.
I asked myself: What are the things I need to include in each day in order to be healthy and productive? and here’s what I came up with:
A good night’s sleep. For me this is 8-10 hours. In order to get that, I need to go to bed early and get up early. And in order to do that consistently, I need structure in the rest of my days.
Exercise. I work out with a personal trainer/fitness coach twice a week. I also use Aaptiv, an iPhone app that provides audio coaching workouts. These expenses add up, but are more than worth it for what they add to my life.
Reading. Part self-care, part research, reading is incredibly important to my mental health and creativity.
Writing. Same as above. Writing is a muscle. The more I use it, the stronger it gets, the more ideas I have, and the better I am at it.
Work. I must carve out time for my “real job” to make money. Money equals freedom. The more money I make, the more I can focus on creative pursuits and self care. But that doesn’t always serve as motivation for getting work done. So I must block that time out in my planner at the start of every week. It’s a non-negotiable.
When I prioritize these items, I’m making the most of my days.
Now let’s think about what isn’t on that list: Watching TV, checking social media, housework, running errands, perusing thrift shops, eating out, drinking booze. Those are all things I enjoy, but they do not need to be in each and every one of my days.
I challenge you to to make a similar list. Ask yourself: How do I want to be spending my days? Then compare that list with how you actually spend your time. Sure, your proprieties will be different than mine, and your Core Genius is going to be different as well, but I know you will have a lightbulb moment like I did!
Tell me what you think about all this! Have you read The Success Principles? Do you think you are using your time in ways that serve you best? Let’s get a discussion going!