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Your Creative Dharma

WEEK 3 : The THIRD Principle

“We are what we repeatedly do.”

ARISTOTLE

NOT JUST WHAT BUT HOW

Last week was all about Getting Your Mind On Board.

For this week’s focus, we’ll be welcoming your heart and soul into the mix.

I’ll be introducing you to an idea I’ve come to call Not Just What But How.

This concept has 2 aspects:

1. We don’t just want certain things, we want them in a certain way.

Our goals are conditional.

For example, we don’t just want to create our work, we want to do it in a way that expresses our uniqueness and creative spirit. 

We don’t just want to make a living from the work we love, we want to do so in fulfilling and satisfying ways.

We don’t just want to sell our work, we want to be valued and appreciated.

We don’t just want new clients or customers, we want to work with people that we feel honoured and devoted to serve.

We don’t just want to be competent, we want to be excellent, we want to learn and develop in ways that feel aligned with our strengths and make us feel good. 

We don’t just want to create our dream career – we want to enjoy life en route, we want to enjoy the process of designing and crafting a life we love. 

We don’t just want to take actions and make things – we want to live and create well, with excellence, with meaning and with joy.

In other words, it’s not just about the What, it’s about the conditions as well – the How – how we go about creating, how we want to feel and how we enjoy life along the way.

This is an idea that we’ll be incorporating into Your Creative Dharma journey, but it’s also an idea you can extend to all aspects of your life.

For example, travel can be about more than getting from A to B, it can be about intending to savour the journey.

Cooking can be about more than simply producing a meal, it can be about being present to the ingredients and the process of preparing them.

Relationships can be about more than just being a parent, partner, friend etc…, they can be about striving to be a great parent, a wonderful partner, or a true friend.

This is a call to getting the most out of the entire life experience and being our best selves.

Because life is mostly made up of the gaps between our achievements.

And so much of the creative process is the process, not the finished creation.

So we are missing out on a large portion of our precious lives if we value the highlights over the everyday journey. 

But this philosophy is not just for the sake of more enjoyment along the way – though as you’ll see, that is highly worthwhile and beneficial in its own right – but also because there is power in maximising and optimising the process. (Aka: our life.)

By embracing this concept of valuing the journey and the working conditions, we’re taking a stand not only for our quality of life but also for our potential. 

This idea is about crafting the optimum conditions to live, work and create, or at least, holding a vision for them.

We are raising the bar to what we know in our hearts is possible.

Because something inside won’t let us settle for less.

“The only way to do great work
is to love what you do.

If you haven’t found it yet,
keep looking.

Don’t settle.”

STEVE JOBS

I hope this idea inspires you!

I realise that this may seem like additional pressure to not only achieve our goals but to raise the standard of life and work along the way.

If so, fear not – I have one detail that should relieve any angst:

There is no deadline.

As we discovered in Week 1, Your Creative Dharma is about a vision and a way of living, rather than a box to tick.

We have our whole lives to master this!

In fact, I believe that our purpose for being on this planet may be to learn how to blossom into our best selves and create our greatest lives.

So, feel free to simply embrace this concept as a study into what’s possible, an experiment into How Good Can Life Get?

And to help, I have added incentives.

Because there are bonus side-effects of endeavouring to upgrade the quality of your life and work experience…

 

 

 

2. The second reason this idea is a key part of Your Creative Dharma can be summed up in this saying that I heard a few years ago:

How you do it is what you get.

Ie., the ways in which we do things impact our results.

Results are down to more than just the preceding action.

The Buddhists believe that the intention behind an action actually matters more than the action itself.

Lifelong student of the connection between the spiritual and the material, Deepak Chopra, says that intention alone has ‘organising power’.

Quantum physicists are also discovering that human expectations can influence the outcome of an experiment.

Doctors tell stories of the human spirit playing a miraculous part in healing physical symptoms.

Plants visibly thrive and grow faster with attention and loving focus.

Water molecules transform into beautiful crystal patterns when surrounded by positive emotion.

And millennia of devotees would assure you that there is power in prayer and that faith can move mountains.

In short, it’s not just what we do but how – the ways in which we do it affect the results.

I love this idea.

And as an eternal student of how life really works, I’ve been experimenting with it in my own life.

From my personal results, I have come to believe that;

Our results and outcomes, even the quality of our creative work, are not just a function of the action, but also the thoughts and feelings behind and during the actions.

For example, if I spend a day working on a project in fear and doubt, guilt or worry – the results tend to be lacklustre at best, and inexplicably disastrous at worst.

Whereas when I work on a project in joy, devotion, faith and gratitude – miracles happen.

Not only does my positive experience mean I enjoy the journey more – that positivity impacts the results!

Even if we take the exact same actions in the outer world, our inner world plays a part.

And contrary to the way we are taught the world works, ie that action is king, I increasingly believe the inner forces are actually the more powerful of the two.

And I’m not alone in this theory.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh puts it this way,

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”

Or perhaps a little less enigmatically, a certain 80s pop band puts it this way:

“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. That’s what gets results.”

(I know this song was originally by Ella Fitzgerald, but as a child of the 80s, it will always be a Bananarama song to me…)

And because I love the simple-yet-powerful truth and wisdom of this lyric (and because it’s a catchy tune that I highly recommend adopting as a new mantra) it is the inspiration behind the title of our third main principle…

Your Creative Dharma – Principle 3 :

 

It Ain’t (Just) What You Do,

It’s The Way That You Do It.

Again, is this true?!

The tricky part of a theory like this is that we can never test for sure, we can never know what would have happened if we’d done things differently.

All we can do is look for patterns and trends.

Do things tend to turn out better when you enjoy your work?

Do you find that good luck seems to find you more when you are happy and relaxed?

With what we now know about the mind, the power of belief and what happens when we seek evidence – you can see how merely considering this idea, just playing with it and experimenting can lead to its own beneficial ripple effects.

You know that simply adopting this theory can help it become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So whether or not this is a proven scientific phenomenon (though science is increasingly supporting this idea) for our purposes here, the only question that need concern us is this one:

Will playing with this idea support our purpose, our vision and our success?

Or to put is another way;

Will a faith in the power of positive thoughts and feelings benefit your creativity, your career and your life?

• • • 

 

The Third Principle and Your Creative Dharma

If you remember back to the vision of living in dharma from the Joy of Dharma ebook, you’ll know that this journey is about more than just creating a dream career.

It’s about being fulfilled, expressed, open to prosperity, aligned with life’s magic and magnetic to success, ease, good fortune and everyday miracles.

I believe the ways in which we do things are the true power behind these results.

And so we’ll be devoting all of this week to playing with this idea, experimenting with it in your own life and diving deeper into how and why it works.

In the days ahead, I’ll be introducing you to some of the key ‘Ways’ that I believe are important, maybe even essential, in living Your Creative Dharma.

We’ll be exploring the key ingredients that I’ve learned can powerfully and positively impact our results – even beyond our mere actions.

We’ve already studied how our beliefs can impact our results and outcomes.

Now we’re going to extend this idea to how our energy, emotion, enjoyment, happiness and heart-driven motivations can have their own creative influences and ripple effects.

For today though, your homework is to simply give some thought to this idea.

How much do you agree with it?

Would you like to find evidence that it is true?

And how could you incorporate this philosophy into your work and life to align both more closely with your vision?

I believe that simply spending some quality time considering this concept can impact not only the quality of your life, but even the trajectory of your path and your creative legacy.

It’s a powerful idea!

So, please take some time to really consider this concept, make some notes on your thoughts or journal your feelings about it.

Begin to imagine how it might benefit your creativity and your life – and your enjoyment of the journey.

And I’ll be back tomorrow with the first of these vital frequencies – one that I have come to believe is the most powerful.

It’s certainly my all-time favourite. 🙂

I know you’re going to enjoy it…

“God gave us the gift of life;

it is up to us to give ourselves

the gift of living well.”

VOLTAIRE

Till tomorrow!

YOUR CREATIVE DHARMA

EXPRESSION  •  PURPOSE  • SUCCESS  • JOY

 

Photo Credit : Matt Hoffman