Why do we write?

Photo by Aaron Burden

Why do you think people write? I’ve been thinking about this this past week, as my writing has increased, well, exponentially since the shelter-in-place order went into effect. And, now as States and Counties all across the United States start to reopen, I am wondering more about my own intention to write, and how it may or may not change in the coming weeks and months.

As we get busier doing things that we’ve not done in some time, we will all need to set our intention to continue to do those things we’ve picked back up again during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders were put into effect. For me, that will be continuing to write.

Writing is an outlet. It is an outlet for many things, such as creativity, innovation, passion, inspiration, and so much more. It is interesting to reflect upon my writing the past 10 years, most of which involved writing in school. Though I did not take the “traditional” path to and through higher education, without it, writing would not be as present for me as it is today.

Factually, I did take time away from writing, as, for a long time, I did not consider it an endeavor that would yield much for me. However, that was long ago. Today I realize that when I am writing about something that inspires me, or moves me in some way, the words are not hard to find.

There are many reasons people write, and have written for centuries, across all cultures and geographies. I believe most people write today, and wrote throughout history, to communicate their ideas to other people. Writing is no different than any other art form. When someone creates a painting, or a sculpture, or a piece of ceramic stoneware, they are communicating a passion for that medium that lives deep within them. Writing is the same.

Even the most simple writing is elegant. I love to read. It was not always that way. I did not grow up reading. It was not until I was in my 30’s that I picked up reading as a habit that would last until today, and will continue until I am no longer on this earth.

I’ve said many times that it is harder to write something simple, than it is to write something complex. It is difficult to write something in a very simple way, with less words communicating the same idea that it might take someone else many more words to convey.

Take the current book I’m working on. Lot’s of language, too complex, and yet, I will endeavor to continue writing that book. Anything less is not an option. Yet, in the editing phase, when I someday get there, I will take the time needed to simplify the complexities. Simpler is better. Yet, remember, simpler does not mean easier. In fact, often times it may mean it is harder to do.

I think people also write as a way to work through their inner selves. Digging deep within to get in touch with their humanity. Sometimes these people write for the masses, sometimes they write in their own personal journal. Know that either way, both are considered writing endeavors, and those that do them, are writers.

You do not need to be famous, and have sold millions of copies of a book, or books, to be considered a writer. If you write, you are a writer. Simple. Do not let anyone tell you different.

#communication, #covid-19, #creativity, #innovation, #intention, #writing

Finding Writing Amidst the COVID-19 Health Crisis

To find something insinuates that you’ve lost something. Now, I’m not sure that I ever lost writing, however, I am sure that writing is back in my life in a way it was not previously.

Throughout my day I reflect upon the writing I’m now engaged with, and find myself grateful for the time the COVID-19 health crisis has provided me. Not grateful for the health crisis, mind you, grateful for the space provided to slow down, take in all that is surrounding me, and engage with things I enjoy.

It started with a conversation I had with my oldest son just prior to the shelter-in-place order being put in place. We were talking about the additional time people would have, being removed from their daily routines, and that with that extra time people might begin to imagine and create new things to do. I believe my son actual said something like, we will probably look back on this time as one of the most creative times ever. I agree.

I’ve noticed a lot more creativity in the world, from people creating new routines to keep themselves busy, new hobbies and activities to stay fit and healthy, new business models to engage shoppers in new ways, and much more.

I created a site called covid-19creativity.com as a place to warehouse my own creativity during the health crisis, and beyond. I just added the4catalysts.com website, and one other on youth development, to covid-19creativity.com so that all of my creativity is in one location.

Writing is pure creativity. As pure, I think, as any other artistic medium. It is a space created intentionally to communicate through language to both the intellectual and emotional parts of ourselves. In fact, I think the best writing is that which addresses both the head (intellect) and the heart (emotions). Not an easy task.

I never did lose writing, then. It was simply laying dormant within me awaiting the right time to reemerge. And, that time is now. So, if there is something you like to do, and you’ve had that inkling to give a try, do so. Take that first step, and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you get back. I sure was.

#artistic, #business, #covid-19, #creativity, #hobbies, #intention, #writing

Creating Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence: noun

  1. the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is not something that we are born with, though we are all born with a set of emotions. Emotion, like thought, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell are one of our major senses.

It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve been working on getting in touch with, or, rather, understanding my own emotions. Many people believe they are in touch with their emotions, yet they are, in fact, simply covering them up with other things.

For instance, I used to cover up my emotions by overeating and drinking too much. Of course, at the time, I was not aware that I was engaging in those destructive habits as a way of denying, or refusing to accept, my emotions.

And, like many of you, I was not aware of nor was educated about my emotional self. For instance, I was not aware that when anger arises, today at least, it typically means that I am suppressing another emotion, which is usually sadness. Sadness, and the desperate need to cry.

I have read, and have taught, about masculinity in regard to emotions, and have commonly said, little boys are not taught how to deal with their emotions. In fact, they are taught to suppress their emotions. I thought at that time, I was in touch with my emotions, because I was able to theorize the accuracy of the information about masculinity and emotional intelligence.

However, theorizing about a subject, and actually knowing and understanding that subject on a visceral level are not the same thing. At the time I was teaching on masculinity and emotions, I was severely overweight and drinking heavily. Not in touch with my emotions at all.

Fast forward two years, and I am now just beginning to get in touch with my emotional self, which is both a painful and liberating process. Doing so has taken seeing someone once a week, and doing the internal investigation necessary to understand my emotions, and the events in my past that I am still holding onto.

Creating EI then is an intentional process of inquiry and investigation into parts of ourselves that we may want to leave well enough alone. Yet, what I am beginning to understand is that inquiring into, and investigating, our inner selves is part of being human, and our shared humanity.

#emotional-intelligence, #emotional-self, #emotions, #intention, #psychology, #theory-and-practice

Finding Comfort in Being Uncomfortable: Part 1

There are countless quotes, books, and movies about “living outside of your comfort zone.” What this actually means, however, is open to great interpretation, and, I think, changes for people over time. How you view the idea of living outside of your comfort zone is a product of how you were raised, how you think, the context you live and work in, and those that you surround yourselves with.

Further, the idea and actually experience of a comfort zone, and the corresponding uncomfortableness that comes with being outside of it is different for everyone. As there are over 7.5 billion people on the planet, we can actually say that there are over 7.5 billion different comfort zones.

Growth is the byproduct or result of living outside of your comfort zone. In fact, the only real growth there is is found outside of your comfort zone. There is never any growth inside of a comfort zone. This may seem like common sense, and it is, however, most people have a hard time realizing this truth. Why? Simple. If feels really good inside of our comfort zones.

Who would want to intentionally create situations or contexts that challenged this comfortability? Really, not many. Most people are perfectly content inside their comfort zones. Yet, if these people were to examine themselves on the inside, they would find that this contentment is covering up other issues.

Sometimes being outside of your comfort zone happens unintentionally, which can happen when we are faced with a very stressful situation or life event that we didn’t see coming. If we are open to it, there is also growth in these experiences.

Learning how to find comfort in being uncomfortable is manifested by doing things that we find uncomfortable often. When we are open to getting outside of our comfort zones often, there is a comfort that comes as a byproduct of the continual practice of being uncomfortable.

As with most everything else, it takes practice to realize this kind of comfort in the uncomfortable. By practice, I simply mean creating intentional contexts that we find uncomfortable, and engaging in these contexts until they no longer feel as uncomfortable. Ultimately, until they feel comfortable.

If you are reading this and thinking, nope, not me, I like my comfort zone and have no need to create intentional contexts of uncomfortability. Very well, that is your choice.

If, however, you are thinking, maybe, or yes, sign me up. Then go out and do one thing today that you’ve been avoiding or putting off because it makes you feel uncomfortable, and see what happens.

If it’s anything like the many experiences I’ve had, yes, you can count on being uncomfortable. Yet, you can also count on that experience providing you a whole lot more, which is only possible by doing things that you find uncomfortable.

Until next time….

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#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #covid-19, #growth, #human-development, #intention, #life-events, #psychology