Unlocking Creativity

 

creative-confidence-equation
Source: Taraleaver.com

 

I am currently facing the usual writers’ block. As most of us do, I started asking myself whether I can really write, or produce something so good that my readers would come flooding to my blog. It is still a dream. So while I was here staring blankly at my screen, making out the letters on my keypad, tossing up ideas in my mind, I decided to read something. And not my usual sci-fi, fiction or fantasy! I laid my hands on Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelly and David Kelly.

I consider this blog as homework after reading the first chapter.

How do you define creativity?

Most of us don’t. We just associate it with anything arty, like design, painting, decorating, handicrafts etc. As I did, we all need to get one thing straight. Each one of us is creative. And being creative is not being artful. Creativity is not restricted to the realms of art and craft. It seeps deeper than that. It is a state of mind, a way of thinking that shows up depending on our surroundings, our activities and what situation we are in. Circulating money in stock market and making a profit out of it is creativity in itself. Not everyone can do that. Creativity is an extension of one’s imagination. The power and the ability to do something, differently.

Creativity is a hereditary trait. Hell No!

There is no gene defined for creativity that you inherit from your forefathers. Einstein’s father wasn’t a stalwart of relativity. While we were kids, we did not just grow up crunching numbers or analyzing reports. Most of the complex things start simple.  We scribbled, babbled, made vague noises testing our vocal chords. Intelligence is a creative state of mind. Many of us raise our hands up and say, “Oh no, I am not creative at all!” Many others cringe to accept that they have a creative side to them. Today, the number one quality required in most c-level positions is creativity. Ability to think and act out of the box.

How to develop Creativity?

There is no crash course defined to develop creativity. It is either you want to be creative or you don’t want to be. Unrestricted, boundless ideas flowing through your mind and a free approach to ideas around you, is the first step towards unleashing your creative aura. Get out of your comfort zone, try something that you have never tried before, learn a new skill, do something freehand or as they say, let your “chi” flow freely :D.

It is all in your mind. Research point to the fact that we humans use only about 10% of our brain (yes, I watched Lucy). So why are we wasting the remaining 90%? Is there a biological or global restriction on using the remaining 90? No.

Entrepreneurs are creative. Period.

They think differently and they dare to act upon it. We live in an age of entrepreneurship where a modestly skilled – not educated- but skilled individual devices a solution to the most common problems that we face. Organizations are moving out of the corporate bureaucracy to motivate their employees to think creatively and harness it to design amazing products and solutions.

So, next time you enter your mind palace, remember that you are creative. It’s just a matter of bringing it into action.

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Escaping into the Serenity of Sikkim

“It feels great to be back home right?”

I never said yes. Because I had just come back from a place that felt closer than home.

Sikkim, oh you small wonder!

Sikkim has breathed life into my stagnant self. It is amazing the effect that a place can have on you. The breathtaking Himalayas, the gentle locals, the tiny and close-knit city, the peaceful monasteries and ambient nature. One tends to turn into a poet upon visiting this place or even a monk ( I am actually weighing one of those options).

Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim
Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I decided to make a travelogue about Sikkim, but that has to hold on for a bit. I first want to relish every single feeling that erupted in my mind upon arriving at this tiny eastern thumb of India. This place has etched something so deep in my heart, even the most delightful red velvet cake can’t counter that effect.

Most of the people around us are not even aware that Sikkim is a state and not a city. For those who have never explored the opportunity of a vacation at this place, here’s a real life experience straight from the horse’s mouth for you.

General Information

Map of Sikkim
Map of Sikkim

Sikkim is a small eastern state surrounded by 3 countries – Nepal, China and Bhutan and consisting of 4 zones, marked by 4 major cities –

  1. East Sikkim – Gangtok –State Capital
  2. West Sikkim- Geyzing
  3. South Sikkim – Namchi
  4. North Sikkim – Mangan

Temperature

Summer: Max 21 C and Min 13 C

Winter: Max 13 C and Min 5 C

Best time to visit: Sept-Oct (Summer) | March – April (Post winter)

Languages: Hindi, English, Nepali, Bhutia and Bengali (scarcely)

State Tree: Rhododendron niveum

Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

Culture

Sikkim as a whole package is a winning combination. The culture here is heavily influenced by Buddhism which is evident by the beautiful monasteries surrounding it, maroon clad cool monks sprinkled in the population and the general discipline and humility exuded by the locals here.

A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali
A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Let me ask you, what makes a place or a city perfect?

I say the sound balance in thought and conduct of each and every individual who lives there makes even the remotest place serene. Sikkim is one such rare beauty. The people, no matter what occupation, caste, creed or religion they belong to, live by the same principles as the others – modesty, cleanliness, discipline, humility and honesty. In-spite of the variety in background and occupation, everyone takes the onus to keep their surroundings clean. Even the public toilets are clean here! I have never heard of the concept of a clean public loo in India!

Social Life

In Sikkim, there is a complete absence of gender bias. I have crossed paths with more women police than men in Sikkim.

The laws are strict and people follow them. The most interesting and a healthy habit that makes these people so adorable is that they give equal importance to work and enjoyment. Their day starts at 6-7 AM and the streets are empty by 8 PM. Every evening from 1600 hrs onwards, the entire city of Gangtok is on MG Marg enjoying the picturesque view, the fountains, coffee and endless dishes of momos and rolls. Oh, I have had more momos in the 4 days I was there than in my entire lifetime! 😀

Evenings at MG Marg
Evenings at MG Marg. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Old, young, working class, children everyone spends time in the evening talking, taking a walk, meeting their friends or just doing pranayama on of the wooden benches.

What you won’t find here is eve-teasing, robbery, spitting or defecating in public, throwing trash on the streets and physical fights.

Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting
Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting

I miss my morning coffee at Baker’s café, at my favourite table overlooking the Kanchendzonga mountains and daffodil shrub growing on the rooftop below.

View of a cloud laden Kanchendzonga from Baker's Cafe, MG Marg, Sikkim
Kanchendzonga from Baker’s Cafe. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I miss this lovely city of Gangtok where Football is more revered than God and where, roads are connected by hidden staircases.

I miss this state of world biodiversity heritage where orchids line the streets and even the most deserted bus stop looks like a mural monument 🙂

I miss the prayer flags, the saintly cats…the ropeway, the bakhut clad elegant women scurrying to work, the Tata Max sumos cruising through winding roads and above all the fresh air.

Sikkim, here is my humble ode to you and your people. I am coming back soon.

Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level
Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level. Picture Credits: Nidhi

All the pictures are clicked by me on my visit to Sikkim. Being original media, any form of plagiarism, editing or reusing of images and content without my prior permission will be treated as an infringement of copyright and bear legal consequences.

Content Writing 101: How do you define content to the dummies?

To all the beginners out there. Welcome to the free world of writing.

Better, earning from what you write and being your own boss. Given the startup age, everybody wants to start something of their own. Disparate from their boss’ limited view at things and with an urge to make a mark.

Earlier, there was a single school of discipline called Marketing that included, Sales, MARCOM and Business Development. Now the picture is altogether different. Enter Internet. We gaze into the 13-inch screen longer than we have even spoken to our colleague sitting next to us during the day. Today, internet has, I would say, spruced up the business and market scenario and made it a tad bit complex. 2 sides of the same coin. Given the shift of customers towards internet, business followed them and now we have online shopping hitting $2.29 billion in sales this past Cyber Monday. (View more internet marketing stats here)

I have specifically named this post in a very “textbook” sort of way so that I can add to it, plus, you can relate to it better as a step by step guide for learning the art of crafting content.

So what do you say when someone asks you ‘What exactly is content?’

Content is anything and everything that the sea of internet junkies, customers, businesses, job seekers, artists and you would want to read, watch or listen to. Content is the base on which any business or individual draws attention over the web through varied media. The most widely used forms of content are: blogs, articles, websites, videos(both product and brand message), podcasts, case studies, white papers, online seminars.

Here’s an excellent content matrix designed by Distilled, that very clinically shows, what are the different forms of content being used and at what level/purpose of communication. The levels being marked as: Awareness, Purchase as a function of Emotional and Rational tone of communications. The purposes being classified as: To – entertain, educate, persuade and convert.

Embedded image permalink
Image Source: Distilled

Phew! I could on and on while there will be some more unique forms of content taking birth in the minds of those crazily awesome Digital Content stalwarts! To sum it up – The more, the merrier.

In my next post -‘Content Writing 102’ ( I won’t divulge the title just yet ;)), I shall tell you how to arrive at an acceptable and usable marketing content from resources across the internet. In short, how to filter out all the noise around you to refine and collect usable content.

Meanwhile, if you like this post and would want me to write about any particular topic of your choice, please leave your comments below. I would be more than happy to hear from you.

For content project inquiries, please leave your details in the form below or write to me on nidhi@wordhoot.com!

Cheers and stay tuned!

Is Our Mythology Responsible For The Gender Bias in Our Society?

Television production companies are coming up with new tele-serials and movies that circle around our mythology. The colourful drapes, the horses, caravaan, huge spread of food and lavish lifestyle with a heavy touch of culture and values. The focal point of every such story enclosed in volumes of our Indian mythology and history are – a brave and intelligent prince and a beautiful but courageous princess who after the entire “leela” ended up being one of the most worshipped deities that we Indians rever. Just to be clear: I do not intend to malign the religious sentiments of my fellow beings. I only wish to put forth a valid point, which, I really hope makes you think.

This thought crept into my mind based on similar such tele-feature. The feature is based on one of Lord Shiva’s incarnation as Malhari Maartanda in the religious land of Jejuri in Maharashtra. He was known to be just, law abiding and a very noble king far and wide. Not many knew about Malhari until this feature was aired. I must say, it has added to my meagre knowledge about our regional mythology. The crux of the story is that Malhari(Orginally Lord Shiva) was under an oath, with the desire of his wife, Goddess Parvati ( The Ultimate form of energy ) that, when Shiva would incarnate as Malhari, Parvati would be his wife but her best friend, Jayadri would be his second wife. She makes him promise this to her, inspite of him warning her, of the extremities to which she would go to stop his second marriage.

Parvati, when she wanted to marry Lord Shiva, had undergone a very tough and difficult form of penance and meditation for years to please Lord Shiva. Similarly when she was born as Mhalsa, she underwent many “tests” so as to prove worthy to marry Malhari. The same repeats when Banu(Jayadri) is set to marry Malhari. She too undergoes streneous and unimaginary assessments only to be approved by the Gods as fit to marry Shiva. Don’t you think this is biased?

I have been boiling to spill out my thoughts here, that why have the male deities, kings and princes always put the female deities, queens and princesses to test under extreme conditions to prove worthy? I shall base my thought on another such example. In Ramayana, after being rescued from Lanka by Ram, Sita was asked to prove the purity of her character by walking into a pyre of fire. Why wasn’t Ram asked to do the same? He was also living away from his wife, in the woods! No questions ever raised here because he is the GOD. Same applies to Lord Shiva. In all his forms, he tested his wife -forever Pravati, to prove worthy to marry him, inspite of knowing all along that she is the one?? Either my logic fails me or this was maddening.

Even today, when a prospective groom rejects a bride, the fault is of the girl. She lacks somehwhere but not the groom. The recent uproar on Deepika Padukone’s video, #MyChoice, all the men haven’t left a single opportunity to make a rip off or mock the message. Did you guys try to understand the message?? You just went by what the script said. Did you try to read between the lines? That project, had only a single message. Women have equal choice to live the way they want, as per what deems fit to them. And immaterial of anyone reading the riot act to them. You men have always had a choice to do what YOU felt was right. Even if it was ethically and morally incorrect. But you still did it. I won’t point fingers at anyone. Those who are reading this with a fair neutrality will know what I am trying to point here. Women too have a right to do so, but not many realise their rights and their right to make a choice of life. That’s what the video intended to convey.

I can only deduce one thing from this. That, this male dominated, patriarchal society gained seeds from our mythology. Male superiority stemmed from there and none of our glorious historians or religious preachers ever took note of this(rather decided not to).  I would have liked to extend this to global history, but I lack sufficient knowledge and citations to do so.

I shall conclude my monologue with a question.

Is Our Mythology Responsible For The Gender Bias Today in Our Society?

Yearning..

Is it being nervous or is it resistance to change? I am not too sure yet. But never was it so severe. The gut tightening, stomach clenching feeling….it leaves me out of breath the entire day. Days are moving faster than I thought they did.
They say I am paranoid. I overthink. I allow it to get to me and faster. The complex web of being brutal and manipulating is not blending in well with me.
I am gasping for breath every single moment. I hate the nightfall for it leads to a new dawn. And the cycle continues. All of what I am pouring into this pensieve is oozing of negativity. They say I should let it go. I can’t. I choose to think of it like I am thrown in a deep swimming pool. I hate water around me. It is scary and drowning. I want to go to the mountains. Again.
Yes. The mountains. The peaceful serene mountains. Amidst the cool breeze, fragrance of nature and the stillness of life. I hate this pace.
I want to write more. Read more. Travel. I don’t care about how the sudden shift might affect me. Right now I feel like I am running blind in the dark.
Tha pressure to excel in an unsavoury environment will kill me. It’s not false.

I yearn for the air. I yearn for the freedom..

Apprehension

 

The last few weeks have been a blur. The usual daily grind seasoned with many other contingent issues have kept me away from my pen. I have missed the blank. I have missed the Pensieve. Have missed writing to myself.

 

I have come to believe now that everybody goes through this phase of self-hatred (too strong), maybe…self-disgust? (Too demeaning)…self-judgmental phase (yes. More or less). You somehow start hating everything around you; stay painlessly mum for eternity not responding to anybody. Your own conscience becomes your sworn foe. All you long for is respite. A time out.  From hating yourself and staying hopelessly aloof.

 

It feels like, all the negativity in the cosmos is storming to engulf you and you for some reason welcome it with open arms. Whether time has turned its back on you or you are falling short somewhere suddenly, the dilemma deepens. You wish a lot, you long for a lot more. Nothing seems to budge.

 

Hope, they say, should be high. But then it starts creeping towards neutrality. IT’S JUST SO EERILY NOISY EVERYWHERE. Silencing it, has become a life’s worth a wish.

 

“Hope” things change, for good!

 

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