Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by a group called Creative Mornings PDX. According to their website, "Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community." They supply breakfast, coffee and an inspiring speaker. Each month they choose a theme and chapters all over the globe. SCORE!
How have I never heard of this before? Especially since upon further examination I saw that Brad Montague (of Kid President fame) has done one of the breakfast lectures. Let's just say I knew exactly what my weekend was going to be spent doing. (I mean, I of course have other scintillating plans as well so this will just be an addition to the already wild and crazy weekend I had planned.)
I was doubly excited because the person speaking this month was none other than Kevin Carroll. You may recall me mentioning Kevin in a few past posts.
Yeah, if it isn't obvious, this guy is inspiring. For this session he was speaking on the theme "ACTION". As a person who calls herself the "Chief Ideation Officer" of her own endeavors, the idea of action is a must have. As creatives, we tend to be people full of idea and inspired by the things around us, which is amazing. The struggle, sometimes is putting those ideas and inspirations into action. Dreamers can daydream non-stop. Often times we need to be prodded to keep moving forward on one project instead of jumping around to the next.
I often speak to this idea of putting action towards your purpose and the question that always comes up is "HOW". It isn't always easy. If you search hard enough you can find lots of obstacles to block your path. Nobody is going to stand and hold your hand. The truth is that you have to have "a thrust of spirit to do this, you have to want it" according to Kevin. Think about that for a minute... a "thrust of spirit". If you really want something you should be feeling some kind of emotional, physical and/or visceral thrust towards it. You have to feel deep in your spirit. That is what passion is all about.
Passion isn't about liking something a little more than something else. It isn't about something being cool or popular. Passion is something that cannot be ignored. Surprisingly, passion isn't always sexy. It is a bully in a way. It gnaws at you if you ignore it, sending things in your life time and time again to smack you over the head until you notice it. Most people seek out their passion for a long time but ignore it when it comes to their door. You see, here is the thing, passion isn't just the love or the spirit of something, it has to include the thrust or the chase. Without an action, passion is becomes something different. It's spark starts to dull and it becomes something you yearn for from a far which causes pain.
Your passion should never be the cause of your pain. Sweat, blood, tears and exhaustion, YES, but pain?Kevin's grandfather often spoke of this idea that "you can't do anything with a broke want." I have heard him say this a number of times and I like the idea more each time. We live in this weird time where "wanting" has become more important than "doing". It's as if we don't realize that if you want something YOU have to go get it. We actually expect other people to satisfy all of our wants and needs and when they deliver we become unsatisfied and can't figure out why.
I'm going to tell you why. We are unsatisfied because if something is truly OUR passion, we don't want someone else to wrap it up in a pretty bow and give it to us. Having a passion is about way more than wanting, it is about the journey. So cliche right? Maybe. Who cares, I happen to believe in the truth of it. You will never truly embrace your passion if you didn't do anything to bring it to life.
There are a lot of talkers in the world (I should know I am totally a talker), but we need more doers (which I just realized is the tagline of a Home Depot commercial). If you are a talker then use your voice for something, talk about SOMETHING REAL. That is the way to be a doer. If you are a doer, make sure people see it, it will catch on. If you are both, then share what you have learned and how you have found your way.
There's a quote you have probably heard a hundred times;
This implies that everyone is born with a purpose. Regardless of what you believe. I believe it is our duty to find that purpose and use it to make the world a better place. It is time that we stop being complacent with our purpose, it is time we put it into ACTION. Don't know what your purpose is yet? Time to get moving and find out.
I can't thank Creative Mornings PDX and Kevin Carroll enough for an inspiring morning and for reminding me to act towards my purpose.
P.S. After finding out Brad/Kid President did one of these as well, I immediately ran home and watched his. Since the one I went to is not yet up online, I thought I would share Brad's. It is truly inspiring and actually kind of follows the theme of "action" so it is a good addition to this post.
I pride myself on being a curator of positive content both online and off. It is for this reason that I like to share and promote other people, brands and organizations that are doing the same.
Let's face it, the world seems pretty hell bent on shouting out the negative and only whispering the positive. With the intrusion of social media and internet, this type of negativity becomes easier to spread and it spreads fast. So how do we keep our head up and see all of the amazing things that are happening around us. Because I am here to tell you,
"THEY ARE HAPPENING!"
So why do we shout negativity so loud? My original assumption is that we are hardwired to be negative. And guess what? It is true. During my research I discovered something that researchers call the "negative bias". Turns out we are hardwired for negativity. Our brains actually respond to negative situations as much as three times more than positive situations. A lot of it had to do with the fact that we had to respond to negative stimuli in a quicker way in order to stay alive. It was the ability to respond to negativity that kept our ancestors positively alive. So if we have evolved in other areas why not in this one?
I could not find a specific answer to this in my research but in reading how to tackle it I think the answer is related to the fact that we respond to the negative bias instead of trying to correct for it. We accept negativity in our lives and don't demand something more productive. We glorify being busy, dismissive, aloof and sarcasm, all of which actually begat negativity, Why do we think this is so cool?
The other thing that isn't working in our favor is the fact that we think everything is equal, that we respond to emotions the same but we don't. As I mentioned it takes 3x the amount of positivity to impact us. So how do we keep the negative out and invite the positive in?
Research gives a few options that I am going to simplify for us all.
Pay attention to positive things. Did you read a feel good story on your Facebook feed? Did you just read the first paragraph or did you read the whole story?
We can register negativity right away, which makes sense because feeling bad sucks. With positive emotions/events it takes 5-20 seconds. You know all those diets that tell you to savor your food by chewing each bite multiple times to make the flavor linger and slow down your eating, which in turn allows your brain to get the message of fullness? This is the same concept. Let positive things linger in your life.
Seek out positivity. Too often than not we turn on the news, radio, or read online about all of the tragedies in the world. I am not saying we should ignore what is happening around us but the problem is we don't balance the coverage. Not only do we not give equal time to the negative and the positive, we actually give so little time to positive forces that we have an even bigger hill to climb to feel positive emotions. So watch a video of a baby or kid laughing and hit repeat. There really is no better sound in the world. Don't believe me?
Lastly, be still. You read that right. Be still, and give your brain time to appreciate all that is happening around you. There are so many beautiful things that happen to us every single day but we are rushing through our lives focused on the things we have to fix instead of things we should be enjoying. Many suggest things like gratitude journals to help create this focus.
I am sure there are other ways to combat negativity from other researchers. In the end though I think it is really simple. We have to work to create and accept positivity. Before you let that bum you out and go negative. Take it in, because the research actually proves that working at it works. Watch this amazing Ted Talk called The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance which explains how you can re-wire your brain to be more positive.
At the end, the speakers offers up a 21 day challenge. 21 days is nothing. I'm putting it in the universe right now. Let's do it together. Tell me in the comments below if you are in and let's spread the positivity around.