Sunday, 15 April 2012

Crisis - Solutions to a Lack of Fresh Ideas


Bruce Lee and his teacher, Ip Man
practising "sticky hands" - training
that leads to flexibility of thought
and action.



H
istorically speaking, martial artists have faced the same struggles for new ideas as other people. Let’s look at China for instance. Some Chinese emperors as well as many generals, war lords and government officials were also warriors. Because the mental training of the martial arts provided them with an edge, they relied on these skills in their day to day affairs.
    
The martial arts tell us that –

1.  Mind and body are one. What affects the mind, affects the body and vice versa. Imagine yourself as a complete circle…a system, so to speak.

2.   You and your surroundings are also one. What affects you also has an effect on your surroundings and vice versa. Another complete circle.


      Wudang Mountain. The flexibility and freshness of
      martial art thinking comes from a traditional openness
      to nature.



3.    If things aren’t sounding mystical enough for you, how about the following martial arts maxim – everything old is new and everything new is old. That translates into – if you want to connect with a fresh idea there are plenty of them floating around for the taking, inside of you… and out there.

4.   The state of mind that connects you with your surroundings (along with those floating ideas) may best be described by the Cantonese word song. The attributes of song are – relaxed awareness, a deep and balanced energy, sensitivity, etc.


Training near water opens the mind to the ebb and flow of ideas


5.   Song is literally the state of mind and body you have to access in order to roll with your creative juices. The creative juices haven’t really disappeared. They’ve been blocked.

6.   That reminds me about one of the main principles of traditional Chinese medicine – disease is the result of stagnation. Blockage causes stagnation. Starting to sound familiar? You – and your ideas – may feel stagnant. Part of your system is blocked. Something has interrupted the flow of creativity.


The city fills the senses. Its ever-changing rhythm,
sounds, colours, odours, tastes offer a treasure
trove of new ideas!

7.   Song recalibrates your mind/body/surroundings into a fluid system. If you’ve ever happened to be out in a park in Hong Kong or Beijing at 6:00 AM, you can see people standing still in various postures or moving slowly through Tai Chi sequences. They’re recalibrating…and preparing for the day.

8.   Once you’re recalibrated, song opens you up to what’s out there. A very good martial artist is aware of everything in her surroundings. She can taste the molecules in the air. That’s why the Samurai sword fighters asked the Zen masters to teach them how to empty and calm the mind. You want sharpness? Take a close look at a Samurai sword. In the world of the Samurai, a lapse in judgment that lasts longer than a split second can split you in half. Samurai always had to be “on”. The song brand of recalibration may help in allowing you to feel “on” again. Suddenly, ideas will come barging in from all directions. You’ll realize that those ideas were still out there while you were being blocked.

9.   A Jazz musician who is “on” is relaxed and open to the other members of the band. He can hear every pulse in the room. That’s when he improvises at his best. The ideas just roll through his instrument. He simply has to blow or strum or touch the keys. The notes just seem to be born on their own. Effortless is another way of describing this state.
    
When you’re “on”, anything around you or inside of you can spark a fresh idea...
   
a.  Ad copy you’ve just read on the side panel of a delivery truck starts a chain of ideas bouncing around inside your head which eventually leads you through the step by step process of setting up a new project. (I remember hearing that the song Bridge Over Troubled Waters was written in the space of a few minutes on the back of a napkin in a restaurant).

b.   Something you overhear a child saying on a swing as you walk through a park becomes the name for your new networking device. (The name for the huge number called googolplex came out of the mouth of a child).
    
c.     Dreams have once again turned into creative drivers. The recurring dream about endless clouds crossing over cities guides you into finding a way through tomorrow’s tough negotiations.

10.   Martial arts tell us that all things come from all places.

There's too much information on this topic. Allow me to write one more post on "fresh ideas" in the next few days!

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