Last weekend, I got to spend some time with some wonderful people in Nashville (and enjoy some great food and coffee!) On the way home, I was listening to an NPR affiliate station, and “On Being” was on. The host was interviewing Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings (which I have come to thoroughly enjoy.)
When checking out the website and a few of the great, thought-provoking articles, I saw under the “must-reads” sidebar an article titled “Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living.”
I would encourage you to click that link and read the whole thing. I found it to have some really good wisdom in it, much more depth than you’ll ever find in any “listicle” on some click-bait website.
All seven things are very good, but two of them really caught my attention as being relevant in my life right now, and I wanted to share them with you:
Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
Look at that line: “It’s easier to be a critic than a celebrator.” Be genuinely happy for others’ successes. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and jealousy, and most people can spot it quickly. But in my opinion, that aspect really goes to everything in life: be genuine; be you; be real.
Remembering that there is a human on the other end of every exchange is also important. Be kind. Try to understand, and communicate clearly to be understood.
The next one:
Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.
I have come to realize the importance of this in the past couple of months. Walking, meditating, just the act of taking deep breaths – all of these can help you both physically and mentally. Clear your head, calm down, focus on the moment. Find the beauty in the world.