Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Greetings, Ax Readers. Long time no Blog! 4.5 months to be nearly exact. Alas, it's not for lack of issues to address, nor thoughts to express. No, not that. I was busy writing the 3rd book in the Get a G.R.I.P. series, Get a G.R.I.P. on Remote Work, now available through Enlightening Press on Amazon.wherever-you-are (.com, .co.jp, .uk, etc.). Kindle and Paperback. And I've been recording a podcast series that'll drop later this winter or early spring–and I was interviewed for another podcast last November on the Dan Nestle Show (here). Throw in a big physical move (to Akasaka) and other family forays into the unknown, and the result? The Ax sheathed during the last quarter of 2020.
But here we are, contrary to some dour predictions, beginning a Brand New Year. If you're like me, you're spending more time in front of a screen than you did at this time last year. So I'll make this one brief, even though it's been too long since we've "communicated" this way. I want to introduce you to what may be the most important concept for 2021, or at least it's my most important concept for this New Year: Creativity.
I'm in the middle of reading two books right now, one of them Becoming Kareem by Kareem Adbul Jabbar, and the other What Do You Want to Create Today?, by my friend Bob Tobin. Bob left Tokyo for Okinawa a couple of years ago, and I'm getting to know him even better through his book. And getting to know the "origin story" of one of my childhood heroes is fascinating. Both of these books, and two recent podcasts I've listened to, focus on the "creation" part of our existence. Clearly, "Creativity" is a theme that's knocking on 2021's door.
No More 2020 Visions
None of us wants a repeat of 2020; that we know. And yet, there's almost of sense of dread in the air, and the fanatics' siege on the U.S. Capitol, along with record-setting Covid-19 cases and new States of Emergency haven't helped ease that sense away. If anything, they've given us more pause.
And pause we must, as commas instruct us to do when reading. But we don't stop. We think about what we want to create in our work and personal lives, and ask, as Bob does in his book, "What do you want to create today?"
Answering that question's a great way to kickstart my 2021 New Year's Resolutions. Instead of my traditional resolutions, which all too often have meant biting off more than I can chew, I'm going to resolve to keep doing three things I started this year: 1) Every day, write 10 or more things I'm grateful for; 2) every day, practice physical fitness, which most often means jumping with Crossropes® for 15 - 30 mins; 3) every day, deepen my Qigong and TM (Transcendental Meditation) practices. That's it. 3 TTDs (Tom Peters' "Things to Do") for 2021.
The "Ten things I'm grateful for" combines elements I've learned about gratitude and creativity over the past couple of years. Writing "10 Ideas a Day" comes from James Altucher, the podcaster and author who introduced 10 Ideas as exercise in his book Choose Yourself. Pushing myself to "10" works the creativity muscle. The fact that it's 10 things I'm thankful for build up the "gratitude armor," as shared by Dan Harris on his 10% Happier podcast, where he and several of his guests talk about how gratitude itself can lower states anxiety, fear, depression, or any of the other negative emotions that threaten us.
The physical fitness commitment stems from my desire to (always and all ways) get into better shape, and along with three friends who are also using Crossrope® regularly, I've learned the benefit of checking in each day with others on the same path. We happen to be tennis mates as well, so it's even easier to keep each other motivated as we regularly hit the courts. My favorite motivational phrase on the Crossrope® app says something like, "'I'm so bummed I did that hard workout'....said nobody, ever." How true!
The third one's easier and more important than I ever thought, having just re-read for the third time Roger Jahnke's The Healing Promise of Qi, and seeing at the end of his work a reminder that practicing Qigong starts with heightened self-awareness and gratitude, both necessary for–you may have guessed it by now–Creativity! I often write out Jahke's 10 mind-focus affirmations, having memorized them a few years ago and wanting to keep them top-of-mind, and I will be sharing them and some thoughts on Qigong's role in creativity more in upcoming blog posts.
This New Year I sense a keen desire to see "something new." Toward the end of last year, I was convinced the Talking Heads were right, that "heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." Maybe. But achievements on Earth require something to happen. To change. Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement requires a change.
Maybe you have heard about the three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder "What happened?" Reflecting on 2020, I, along with you perhaps, was definitely in that third category, and I'd much rather be in the first.
How about you? Are you going to write out any "resolutions" this year? What do you want to create in 2021? For me, it all starts with asking "What do I want to create today?" (Special thanks to Dan, Kareem, Bob, Tom, James, and Roger, and my Crossrope® buddies whose words and work inspire me to rock this year and to write this blog.)