Much of this post will be gleaned from the book “Food Not Lawns“, by Heather Flores. I have been reading through this book for the last couple weeks, just flipping back and forth between interesting and inspiring parts. She addresses a variety of issues related to sustainability, community building, and revolution, and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out!
In my own journey as an activist, writer, and human being, I often find myself stonewalled when trying to accomplish a task, or solve a specific problem. I find myself thinking inside a small box and not exhausting all the possible options. I tend to think one dimensionally until something rips me out of that rut and allows me to see possible solutions from different perspectives. Changes in my thought patterns almost always occur as a result of bending (or breaking) certain rules and acting spontaneously and creatively. As it happens, Ms. Flores devised a nifty list of 17 ways to “get creative”, to think outside the box, to function outside the dominant paradigm, and achieve or accomplish just about anything. By no means is this list exhaustive, and I encourage you to twist and jumble anything you read here to fit your needs. As Ms. Flores says, “creativity is our most valuable and versatile tool”, and we should all use our abilities and means it whatever creative ways we can!
1. Take risks. Do not fear Failure – not succeeding allows you to learn from you mistakes and provides you with another opportunity to try something else.
2. Look deep. Look past the proverbial trees, to recognize and attribute value to the subtle details of the forest. Be aware of the big puzzle, but also recognize small pieces.
3. Ask, What if? Speculate, ruminate on possibilities and wait for options to manifest themselves.
4. Go to new places. Refresh your mind, your settings and your relationships. Meet new people, find new paths, see something new.
5. Go to old places and expand. Return to old ideas, inspirations, and colleagues, finding new qualities you may have missed before.
6. Be willing to relearn. Question old habits and be willing to unlearn what is no longer useful to you.
7. Change the rules. Evaluate assumptions, questions convention, and change often.
8. Switch roles. Put on a different hat and swap tasks with others. Step out of the spotlight, or move toward center stage, as appropriate.
9. Make work fun. Laugh or quit. Life is too short to waste on suffering and wringing your hands, especially if there are other options.
10. Rock the boat. It can be fun, as long as you don’t tip over in dangerous waters. Know your boundaries and be willing to challenge them.
11. Look for more than one right answer. There is often another solution.
12. Spend time thinking. Not working, writing, talking, or meditating — just thinking.
13. Spend time NOT thinking. Let preconceived ideas go, and allow for spontaneity.
14. Ask dumb, impractical, repetitious, questions. Your own ignorance is a blank canvas, and each question provides a new hue.
15. Write everything down. Carry a small notebook and use it every day. Make lists, then go back and check off your accomplishments.
16. Write everything down. Review your notes and file them for future reference.
17. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. Keeping a record of your thoughts can help prevent future mistakes and leaves a legacy for others to follow.
Take all of these and make them your own. Change them to fit your needs, desires and dreams. Share them with other people and then work together to achieve and accomplish your shared vision. Check out the Food Not Lawns website and I encourage you to pick up the book with the same title and learn something. Drop a comment or tell me a story . Until next time…