Relax, Don’t Do It: The Ultimate Way Forward
Let’s face it: we all go through dry patches. Despite the assurances we may proffer at networking events, and the knowledge that our work cycle may be wavy, not straight, it can get stressful if the gap between jobs stretches beyond our comfort zone. And I’m talking about real, paid jobs—not the talking, meetings, researching, browsing and other ‘legitimate’ distractions we employ in the fallow times.
Conditioned responses, automatic reactions
The learned response to such times is to take a deep breath, organize things and get busy. And it’s comforting, too.
- Frenzied action allays the feelings of guilt around not actively earning money.
- We can justify our existence; and we can blame the economic climate, the government, technology and even the weather, if things appear to have stalled.
- As long as we stay busy, it’s okay. We’re doing our best.
If the brain freezes, check emails, take a hike on Facebook (there are plenty of platitudes there to comfort even the most cynical of souls), maybe even do some housework. Anything to keep the mind occupied.
And does this all help?
Hell no! It’s a downward spiral when all the doing is based on a fear of not getting. In this mode, we become tense, unattractive and unproductive, usually disconnecting from our intuition and from our authentic, creative selves. All the talent, wisdom and ability that we’ve spent a lifetime accumulating gets drowned out by useless, deafening, numbing noise.
Sometimes, the hardest lessons are really the easiest ones
Whenever my wife Olga experiences a lull in her work, she takes a counter-intuitive approach. She suggests we take time out, spend a day on the beach, go on a shopping spree, book a holiday. “But what about work?” I say, alarmed at the idea of spending money when there’s not much actually coming in. “Surely we need to secure more work first and then we can enjoy ourselves.”
I should really know better, by now. Over the years, I’ve seen that whenever I go along with her idea and we actually go out and enjoy ourselves, work floods in. At times when I’m consumed by the idea of getting money, this is bizarre and can even be slightly annoying. After all, I’m the one being serious and responsible here, am I not? Surely I deserve to be rewarded for that! But it seems that the universe doesn’t operate according to my petty fears and concerns, which is just as well, if you think about it.
The rules of creativity need to be re-learned
Luckily for us, the universe operates according to the rules of creativity, and I think we can all agree that creation is pretty amazing evidence of power of creativity. One of those rules is that creativity happens when we are relaxed, not when we are doing, trying, pushing and getting stressed. I also believe that this elusive, much-ignored faculty is our best and most powerful asset.
When things aren’t going the way we think we want them to, the best thing we can do is:
- allow ourselves to integrate
- process and receive.
Only then can all that good stuff stored in our subconscious mind start to work its magic again. After all, our subconscious has its own agenda, and it harbours far more power and creativity than we can imagine. If we push too hard and try to make things happen, with our conscious minds, we override that deeper, creative part of us that has the power to create synchronicities, opportunities and new doorways, without any effort on our part. So when things stall, we just need to stay out of the way and allow our subconscious to bring us what’s required—whether it’s a new idea or a new client.
When doing things the ‘accepted’ way no longer works, we must discover new ways. They won’t necessarily make sense to us immediately, but in allowing them to percolate and establish new neural pathways in our brain, we can move forward in unexpected ways. Things start to open up.
When we re-connect with this magical part of ourselves, we can reverse the downward spiral of tension in an instant, stimulating inspiration, creativity and its practical partner—innovation.
It’s a lesson that we would do well to remember. As we innovate, our automatic tendency is to establish processes to avoid the discomfort and ambiguity of staying in a creative mode. We think it will make things easier. To some extent, it does, but if we hand over all responsibility to a process, we risk getting caught up in the same old cycle.
Everything is in a dynamic state of change, so we must keep our creativity alive.
Nowadays, when everything is moving so fast, the need to embrace change, enjoy the creative process and cultivate a flourishing culture of innovation has never been greater.
Ultimately, we are all best at being our authentic selves. Trying to be something else isn’t a long-term solution to even the greatest of challenges. Every journey we take ultimately leads us back to ourselves, so resistance is futile! In order to access our best, we simply have to stop doing, despite all our resistance and our fear of not knowing what comes next, and just relax.
The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot.
The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.