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You’re a human if you’re unveiling some crap. You don’t have to like it.

25 Jul

A significant misconception exists among many newbie mindfulness adopters.

It may sound mystical and I think it frequently turns people off because of its perceived leanings toward Eastern religion, but mindfulness isn’t about becoming religious. Perhaps for some, that’s important, but what I find is it’s much more easily accepted when it’s looked at for its tools toward becoming more in tune with one’s self and acquiring skill in concentrated awareness.

wpid-20130718_115011.jpgMindfulness meditation, while it has been around for thousands of years, has been garnering tremendous interest among fitness, health, and medical communities of late. Described by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a researcher and founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at UMass, as a compassionate, non-judgmental focus on present-moment experience, mindfulness meditation is among the top six most recommended therapies of complementary and alternative medicine. And it’s evidence-based! According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in 2006 slightly over 9% of Americans engaged in meditation. That same year almost a million children meditated, and school districts across the country are now teaching mindfulness to children in the classrooms.

If you believe meditation in its various forms, and mindfulness in general, is just a rather fruity way of achieving some sort of transcendental spacing out, think again. It is being used  by millions to achieve optimal wellness; to cope with anxiety and stress; to manage emotional pain; to decrease the debilitating effects of depression, insomnia, and chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease; and to manage the psychological effects and treatment of disordered eating and substance abuse, just to name a few. The children who practice it are more emotionally aware, concentrate better in class, and exhibit greater resilience in the face of setbacks. Spacing out has no place in mindfulness—it is all about tuning in!

ReflectIn a lecture I gave recently, while discussing the benefits of “leaning in” to our discomfort– taking a curious approach to it to peel back its layers and discover its underbelly– I was met with a concern from an audience member. She said, “Kori, how is that not wallowing in the pain?” A valid question. The story she had written as a young girl through experiences by her caregivers held the message of “don’t show your emotion, it’s inappropriate to feel, and if you express pain, you’re weak.” Great. So pain = wallowing? Except, we all experience pain- it’s part of the human condition. Can you imagine the difficulty this woman was having as she attempted to navigate difficult circumstances in her life? Mindfulness doesn’t mean wallowing. It means taking notice of what’s there, observing it, acknowledging it. There’s a responsibility-taking in this. An acceptance. And when you accept it you may not like it! Whatever you discover could be like stepping in crap- ew, yuck, gross! But the important piece of this is in the non-judgment of the result. So you don’t like it. Are you bad because you don’t like it? “SHOULD” you be experiencing it differently? I could give you a million examples of self-judgments and recriminations that I’ve heard throughout my work with clients, and I’m no stranger to them in my personal life. “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” Except you do.

“Because of the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion, almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain… ~ Eckhart Tolle from A New Earth

Another client email exemplified this well. She said, “As I was digging to the bottom of the issue, I was not proud of what I found…” I got stuck on this statement of hers. It was honest, real, and captivating to me. Her disappointment, anger, and fear were all over the place. As I read her description of the situation though, these were the words I got hung up on.  She wasn’t keen on the issues she found at the root of her emotion…

Herein lies that which is at the heart of mindfulness. Being aware, non-judgmentally. Discovery isn’t “supposed” to be enjoyable all the time. Enlightenment doesn’t mean that we like what we find or that we illuminate beauty. Oftentimes we uncover some pretty ugly crap. But are we not blessed to have done so? The crap itself may stink, but it’s what we choose to do with the crap that matters. Attentive awareness brings to the forefront what we may never have been present enough to see before. It’s not just about inner peace all the time. It’s about understanding so we’re not being guided blindly by falsehoods and irrationality.

You’re a human if you’re unveiling some crap. You don’t have to like it.

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No new experience, no new insight…

23 Jul

Feel the PathNo new experience, no new insight. This is Halcolm’s Law of Induction. Until I was given the space to be out of my normal environment, it was my unthought known…or perhaps more accurately, my undone experienced.

And so I continue to travel, though my Week-Long Wanderlust has officially ended.

Learning need not come from books, but read, read, and read some more. Learning must come from the yearning and then acquisition of observation and inquiry when we are in doubt (which often leads us to books). But then when we think we are certain, we must realize this is a signal to observe and inquire even more.

Halcolm said: There is no burden of proof. There is only the world to experience and understand. Shed the burden of proof to lighten the load for the journey of experience.

I came back from my vacation feeling very different. And different is the best way I can describe it. “Different than what?” you might be asking. Different than my normal. Different than my to-do list making, regimented, scheduled, calculating, mapped out and planned self. I stepped out of the box. And while I’m back to doing these same things, there is a lightness about it.

20130718_115003(0)As I think about what being away was like for me, and the spaciousness that I walked into, the restorative benefits were so immense it just makes me pause to recognize the value of 1) nature (I was outside almost every day, in the sun, breathing in the fresh mountain air, appreciating the trees and the breeze); it was nourishing and revitalizing. And 2) walking headlong into opportunities, be them people, places, the unknown; or more so, seeing each of our moments as opportunities. The second one is not new to me, but it feels fresh.

My take-away:

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like

a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which

paint the world their own hue. . . . ”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Week-long Wanderlust: Day 1

13 Jul

At 2:30 am Central time,  yesterday morning, I arose from a not-so-deep slumber. Anticipating heavy eyes for at least the first couple hours before the sun would emerge above the horizon, I readied my mountain blueberry coffee and had a small breakfast while waiting for my friend to text her familiar, “Here” that would signal she was sitting in the driveway waiting.

A month, maybe longer, ago we planned a week-long trip to Vail. It was the furthest west she had been, she told me. I had moved from Colorado five years ago and had been through Vail many times. We him-hawed back and forth about driving or flying and finally landed on saving money by driving the 18 hours it would take to get there. I was just looking forward to not doing much of anything while we were away. I’d take my work with me, of course, but my intention was not to plan anything, and just take the trip day by day, enjoying not operating on a schedule. Find some fun restaurants, go on some amazing hikes, and enjoy the scenery.

And so we were off. The back of her jeep was stuffed with more than we’d need if we had decided to stay for a couple months, but we packed it because we could.

Leaving at 4am we made our way through the south-western most tip of Indiana and into Missouri. Seven hours into the trip when we stopped to eat lunch we both looked at each other and excitedly agreed that the first leg was easy. “Wow, it really doesn’t feel like we’ve been driving that long,” we mused. An hour later after a leisurely meal, we were off again. Every couple hours or less there would be a hesitant, “Uhh…just giving you a warning that I’m going to need to pee soon.” I know I’m not the only female who Kansas Windmills 7.12.13has taken a road trip wishing I were a guy who could easily pee into a bottle and just keep driving. So it was though– it was good to get out and stretch. My Thursday leg workout had caught up to me and a few times I awkwardly poured myself out of her jeep, hobbling into the gas station.

As we moved into Kansas it got hotter and hotter, reaching temps of over 107 degrees outside. I was brought back to my adolescence living in Nevada with the very dry heat, then to Wyoming, and finally to Colorado. So different from what is typical of the drenched air of Indiana. Passing through the rolling hillsides spotted with the wind turbines, I thought about the vastness of the terrain, the lifestyles of people tilling the soil of those fields. Some of the homes and the landscape surrounding them were tidy and neat, the tractors parked with precision and the barns, silos, and yards structured with thought. Other yards were strewn with dilapidated automobiles, the lawns unkempt, paint peeling from the sheds, looking as if whatever wasn’t needed over the last 10 years was simply thrown out the front door hoping someone rambling down the road in a beat-up truck would stop to peruse what might become his treasure. I thought, “what different lifestyles we all live…”

Sirius provided us with engaging listening material as we made our way through the western half of Kansas…ironically, I found a talk on religion vs spirituality and the truth we live through our openness to experience. When my friend and I weren’t conversing, my mind would drift to the familiar questions of how often I was spinning my experience into something outside of reality. Was I creating an alternate world that facilitated the blinders staying on, the biases being molded and solidified, and my impressions and expectations being approached not creatively and curiously, but in pushy Colorado Sunset 7.12.13and aggressive ways. This trip, this day 1 of my wanderlust journey was not the beginning of an acknowledgement of my truth, as that had begun years ago. But it was more an active treatise to it. Kristen and I didn’t talk directly of this, but the topics we were broaching were in line with it: our approach to relationships, our career paths and aspirations, what we’d come to understand along the way to where we were now, and reminiscing about how we had changed. We asked how our lives would be different had we taken even one varied step or made one minute decision differently.   And it was this conversation that brought me back to the importance of being here now–being mindful within each moment. Life is a highway– it whizzes by at a frenetic pace some days and a crawl others, but when you look back you don’t want to say you missed the scenery.

As the day wore on, and we were about 4 hours from Vail, each minute seemed to tick by with agonizing slowness. Kristen hadn’t complained once until she said that her neck was getting stiff. We’d been driving for 17 hours and it was time to kick into a new mode. I threw on the music- a bit of Rascal Flatts, some Jars of Clay, rocking BRMC, and I took her through a playlist of my favorites. If the music didn’t keep her awake, my shrieking would! I paused between songs to relish in the beauty of the sunset through the bug-spattered windshield. “How fleeting our lives can be,” I thought.

After a total of twenty-one hours  we arrived in that uncomfortable, desperate, I-so-badly-want-to-close-my-eyes-but-I-wont, sleep deprived stupor.  Day 2 was going to be a good day of practicing how to just “be.” All we could think of was rest.

The colors are there– you just aren’t seeing them…

29 Jun

Living in Full ColorI’ve heard a lot over the last week, “I’ll try, Kori.”

On the other end of the continuum I’ve heard, “I won’t _____________ (fill in the blank)” or “Every day I will _________________.”

On one extreme are half-hearted attempts at changing a behavior (perhaps unconscious), and on the other are absolutes that just might fall through the cracks and result in feelings of failure and discouragement (also often unconscious).

The middle ground? The space between the event and the response.

The space where breathing takes place, slowing down, critical assessment of what needs attention in the present moment, and an honest noticing of what is right here, right now.

It’s a space where we recognize what holes we’re dragging ourselves into through our distorted and unrealistic, completely off-base thoughts and perceptions.

A space that welcomes creativity and a turning over of our well-worn beliefs and stories that so often were not written by us but that we’re living out.

A space that reveals the fresh earth beneath the hardened and biased outer shell that we barely take notice of.

It’s a space of vulnerability that often unveils the shame driving our behaviors. It’s a gap filled with ‘aha’ moments we’ll never have unless we give ourselves permission to step into it.

It’s a time where we realize we’ve adopted someone else’s goal.

A moment when the fog lifts and even if painful we decide to let someone or something go that we’ve been clinging to.

A glimpse of our power and our courage.

A reach toward compassion for what we’ve left behind and forgotten, or actively thwarted and stuffed away because we erroneously believed it needed to be hidden from others.

This middle ground– the space– is always there. We rarely, however, give ourselves permission to experience it. It’s inside of us. Ever taken the time to finally clean off your computer monitor and you’re struck by the clarity of the screen? The vibrant colors that pop out at you? The colors have always been there- you just weren’t seeing them.

Behavior change is hard. Just thinking about being different or doing something different is exciting. Totally different ballgame when you’re in the throes of the intentionality and practice that comes along with it.

If you’re not used to looking for the colors, you have to start looking for them. And you have to look for them constantly. You have to stop running from yourself and what you give to yourself, be it a thought, a feeling, or a behavior. Each of these may be inappropriate, ugly, or incongruent from what or how you believe you should be thinking, feeling, or behaving, but none of that matters.

They are colors. And when you see them, you can paint with them. You as the artist. Your life as the canvas.

The middle ground is a place of opportunity. A place where we can ask “What if?” and see what comes up rather than an obstacle in our path. It may be fear. It may be doubt. It may be excitement. Or it may be anticipation. But with each of these also comes a choice. Will you give yourself permission to see the full spectrum of the fear? Can you walk from the deep, pulsating reds that screaming “Stop! Don’t take another step!” to the calming “Come this way, it will be okay” life-giving greens?

I think you can.

Don’t Kill the Messenger!

31 May

At the conclusion of my workshop earlier this week one of the participants expressed concern about the utility of a particular tool I’d recommended. I gave everyone 10 different tools to begin putting into practice that would set them on a course toward navigating the barriers we so often trip over and give permission (not often consciously) to minimize our goal persistence.

The tip, BOYCOTT THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, suggests that we would do well to become more open to experiencing what life hands us, to pay attention, to slow down, and to savor.

Open to ExperienceBoycotting the zombie apocalypse means we aren’t operating in the misconstrued land of “ignorance is bliss.” No. In fact, deciding to disengage from the automatic pilot mode that so many of us move through our days with, gives us hope for a new level of authenticity and importantly, choosing goals that actually resonate with who we are.

So my workshop attendee’s concern went something like this: “Kori, I’m getting stuck in the part where you talk about letting yourself experience emotion. Like pain. I’m worried that if I let myself feel it, I’ll just wallow in it.”

She related her perceived tendency to stay steeped in emotion, as so many of us do. But not because we’re consciously making a decision to invite it in and acknowledge it… when we get overwhelmed by pain, it is more a function of believing the thoughts that we’ve constructed about the meaning of our pain. And often the thoughts are distorted and untrue.

It is our nature to feel coherent and integrated. You know when you feel uncomfortable– like something is awry. Our bodies signal us through symptoms like an increased heart rate, lack of concentration or focus, or fidgeting. Our thoughts can clue us in to how we might be experiencing a situation as well, for example, “you’ll never finish this project”, or “he’s very angry with you right now.” These thoughts give rise to feelings that manifest in our physical bodies and can cause a host of behaviors. When we’re in zombie land, we move impulsively. We react. If we can slow down when we recognize these cues, we can respond in a more coherent, integrated manner.

It’s not our nature to tend toward wallowing and staying in the center of discomfort- we want to feel like we’re well oiled and calibrated. The body strives toward equilibrium as well. However, if, for instance, my workshop participant grew up in an environment where by staying emotionally engaged and emotionally intense she received attention and nurturing, perhaps her concern is valid. There were positive consequences for her to remain in the emotionally volatile place, despite its being uncomfortable and disintegrating.  Now, in her adult life, such behavior is likely not so effective. She gets to learn a new way of being with her emotion, and still “using it”, but in a different manner.

The pain is the messenger. When we try to push it away versus inviting it in and acknowledging it, we in essence, tell ourselves that we’re unimportant and that our bodies are misguided and we can’t trust them. I read this equation that is helpful to remember: Pain x Resistance = Suffering

Listen and LearnIf we resist the pain, we kill the messenger…and the message. And the messenger can be delivering some astoundingly revelatory and insightful information to us….if we’re willing to listen.

We don’t have to wish for pain or not-so-comfortable experiences. What I am implying is that through the adoption of a more open nature and a boycotting of the zombie apocalypse, you will experience a wealth of benefits including: greater emotional regulation and resilience in the face of difficult circumstances; higher thresholds for experiencing threats or stress; viewing all experiences as opportunities for growth and learning; fewer inclinations toward awareness distracting activities like television, video games, or compulsive behaviors such as binge eating; and the adoption of goals that are not only personally meaningful and relevant, but the ability to pursue them with persistence.

So don’t kill the messenger. The messenger is your friend. And as Carl Rogers once said, “All the facts are friendly” (1961).

Holding Tension, Letting Go of the Battle Cry, and our 3 Ways of Meeting Challenges

19 May

Last week I upgraded my computer. As I sit here writing this blog I’m loving the sensitivity of the keys, the backlit board, the clarity of the screen. I’m thankful to have the ability to purchase such a nice piece of technology. Being a student right now, I also have the ability to purchase the Windows suite with all the programs I need at a discount. Ever the bargain hunter, I was on it. Only, I hit a couple snags along the way, and I ended up talking to at least 6 people from tech support, Microsoft sales, and a few who sounded like they were in Bangladesh…or at least far enough away that I had to, and reluctantly, ask them to repeat almost every word they uttered to me.

After the 3rd day passed and there was no resolution to my issue, I could feel myself seething. I was angry. Pissed in fact. My first interaction with sales had gone well, I thought. I purchased the program with relative ease, made sure I wrote down every bit of information the associate spelled out to me, and all I needed to do was click on the link in my confirmation email and download the program. Much to my dismay, it didn’t quite happen that way.

Reach

Reach

Despite no pressing need to have the program immediately, the tension inside of me rose. Every time I thought I’d take another step toward figuring out the problem, I’d end up blocking the door of my co-worker’s office almost shouting what sounded to me like questions…cries for help…vitriol spewing from my mouth. But he couldn’t help me. He had no clue what I had done, the process I was in, who I’d spoken to and what they’d said, or what I needed in the way of information.  As I rattled on and on about the problem, again,  my voice getting louder and louder, I suddenly understood where my anger was coming from. I had, in that moment of explaining (yes, I’ll call it that), just realized what was festering inside me. The tension that was growing wasn’t tension I was holding with care or curiosity. No. I was adamantly pushing back against it, fighting it, and it was an epic battle. I stopped cold, my last words trailing off, and my friend looking at me like, “You’re finished…?”

“I got it,” I said. “I just figured out why I’m so pissed off.” I paused, taking in a deep breath, expanding my lungs like I had needed to expand my mind 3 days ago.

“I feel used. Manipulated.” I said. “When I called the first time I told the guy exactly what problem I was having, and he said that he could definitely help me. I hadn’t called initially to purchase the program. I called to get help with another issue. I believed we had covered the problem. The steps we took gave me assurance we had. Then he asked if I wanted to go ahead and buy it, and I followed through. When I hung up and followed the steps he instructed me to take, I was taken straight back to the part of the process I initially called about. I was back at square one. I feel manipulated,” I repeated and walked away.

Eventually I figured out what I needed to do, and I did it with a different approach. After thinking through the entire incident, looking at the alternatives, it was pretty clear that I Tensionwas jumping to conclusions about this guy’s motives. What reason would he have to pull the wool over my eyes? When I could hold the tension with an expanded view, rather than instantly tensing and retracting, hardening with defensiveness, I could approach the problem in a new way. I could get less worked up, take the issue less personally, and experience less stress. Like a rubberband, I was stretched so tight and rigid, I was about to break. Had I spoken to that sales guy I’d have….probably hung up before I’d allow myself to say anything unkind. But it was that intensity that was so uncomfortable, and more importantly, that I didn’t appreciate seeing from myself.

Can you grow through the cracksWe all tend to meet our challenges in 3 different ways: Absorb, Attack, or Approach

When we feel uncomfortable, anxious, or in that place where we just want to abandon ourselves because it just seems too hard we can:

1.)    Let the feeling absorb us and align with it

We may hear ourselves say “Forget it. I’m not going to fight it anymore. It’s just the way it is….or the way I am.”

We just sink into the self-beliefs we’ve been accustomed to experiencing, as well as the emotions.

Essentially, however, our level of awareness in this case goes to sleep then and we’re steeped in the negative.

2. ) We can fight, claw, and resist the experience

You might hear yourself say, “No! I can’t do this! Prepare for battle, self; you will overcome!”

Or in the case of when  you notice a negative self-perception and that voice that says, “What the heck is wrong with you– you’re doing it again!” and you follow it up with “NO! Figure this out!”

As a consequence of adopting this strategy, however, now you’re just in fighting mode, armor on and dukes up, glued to the battle.

(This was me, obviously).

3. ) Neutral Noticing and Observing

You don’t get lost in it and you don’t push back against it. You ride its waves.

In addiction literature they call this “urge surging.” Previous posts of mind have addressed how to watch your thoughts like they are clouds surfing across the sky of your mind. Same premise. In this case you might hear yourself say, “Wow, there it is again. Pretty incredible how often that thought — or emotion– comes up for me. I’m noticing that old familiar tightness in my chest.”

I wasn’t the only one who suffered through my inability to hold my tension with care and curiosity, and these circumstances created for me a necessary reminder of the need to transcend the stress response. Perhaps it happened on a day when responsibilities were piled high. Maybe it was a day I’d gotten a terrible night of sleep. Either way, I’ve forgiven myself. But I’m certainly thankful for being able to see how the events of my life can be opportunities for stretching and growth vs hardening, armor, and a battle cry!

Tell Me If I’m Wrong…Because I Want to Be Right!!- Part 3

15 May

Optimal ExperienceThe concept of “flow” is a useful tool to describe how moving toward opportunities of dissonance (discomfort) as well as being among others whom we can trust to hold our tensions as we practice holding them ourselves, is necessary for developing a more complex self. The “absent” friend solidly reminded me of our necessary journey toward differentiation and self-understanding and sufficiency– complexity. Examining the flow experience, it is not surprising why we crave it. Described as optimal experience, it’s a suspension of space and time and captures the most cohesive of moments when our “I”s disappear, self-consciousness and critique vanishes, and the activity is purely engaged in for the experience itself. Yet, in order to achieve it, we have to move out of the hiding, numbing, oblivious, undifferentiated cocoons that we live in.

This weekend as I sat in the movie theater preparing for the cinematic adventure of Iron Man 3, my 3D glasses perched on the bridge of my nose, I leaned over to the friend on my left to say, “I feel like I need to put on my seat belt.” The objects in the trailers were sneaking up on me, flying past me, exploding before me, and I felt like I needed to prepare myself in some way…buckle in and put on my armor?  Achieving flow demands a removal of our armor, a movement away from the belief that we have to protect ourselves or prepare for battle, or approach life like a mine field.  (If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you want to, don’t read this next sentence…) At the end of the movie, Robert Downey Jr. chose to remove the shrapnel from his chest, blow up every armored suit he had created, and live a more vulnerable, less fearful, more heart-centered life with his partner, and he stated, “We create our own demons.”

Epictetus agrees with him, “Men are not afraid of things, but of how they view them.”

And Marcus Aurelius, the great emperor, similarly wrote: “If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.”

I believe in all of these statements.

Creative and UnlimitingAristotle stated long ago that more than anything else, we move toward what will make us happy. Perhaps we perceive that as comfort, as rightness, as the hope of something great in the future. Any way  you look at it, however, the impetus toward the pursuit of happiness is not firmly seated in the present moment. Protection and numbing of vulnerability is for fear of what might happen. Further, avoidance of conflict and striving only for who and what agrees with us or meets our expectations is created by way of what we have experienced in the past and distorting how others might perceive us in the future.  Flow, however, depends on this moment, right now. Flow is conditionally attached to a non-worrying, unselfconscious, effortless energy when information filtering into our awareness is congruent with our goals. If we do pause to assess our performance, the internal feedback is positive, and our sense of self is strengthened. Through these experiences our grit, our determination, our resilience, our behavioral persistence, and the balance between differentiation and integration are fortified.

On the other hand, without awareness, if we live on automatic pilot, should we decide that it’s just too hard to go through whatever effort is required to meet the demands of our goals or learn the skills necessary to become more proficient, or if we base our behavior on what everyone else thinks we should be or believe, we miss the possibilities of flow. Like the question I posed at the beginning, “how does this relate to what I already know?”, Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow– The Psychology of Optimal Experience, explains how the information we encounter is filtered according to its importance to the self. We can perceive it as threatening, supportive, or neutral to our goals, and with this assessment our behavior follows suit.

Do you know individuals who persist in the face of adversity? Just this morning I saw another woman on the news being put through her paces in the physical therapy department of her local hospital after losing her leg during the Boston bombings. “This is the hand I’ve  been dealt,” she said with a smile. Comfortable? Not even close. Painful, arduous, and demanding. And yet she uses that energy to move closer to what is meaningful to her. Is it “right” that she lost a limb in the attack? Is that question even worth asking? It makes sense that we would. Our bent toward rightness and avoidance of conflict started almost immediately. We were rewarded at home for following rules. We were punished for doing something “wrong.” In school we receive grades for completing assignments the “right” way or giving the “right” answers. Surprisingly enough, my dissertation work is even graded. How can you grade a student on the level of understanding and synthesis regarding theory and conceptualization of a study? It’s not black and white, and yet because we need certainty, grades persist. Even in our places of work we are rewarded for following protocol, for staying true to procedure. Of course, value exists in many regards when it concerns safety, however, when it is expected that individuals not think for themselves or develop a sense of autonomy and competence in regards to their unique skills and assets, creativity and innovation is thwarted.

Keith Sawyer, Washington University creativity researcher, has shown that individuals who work alone are more efficient at creating innovative ideas versus those who work in groups. Understanding our desire for acceptance and relatedness, this makes sense. However, in a group environment, where individuals are actively encouraged to throw out any idea, no matter how ignorant, mundane, corny, irrelevant, or insane, and when quantity is the goal, creativity spikes! If every individual has had a different experience in life, and they have interpreted it in a different way, and they are asking themselves, “how does this bite of information relate to what I already know?”, can you see how the possibilities expound? This wouldn’t happen if we were focused on avoiding vulnerability, worried about making mistakes, or taking risks!

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