Getting yourself out of the way: Creativity and play as tools of problem-solving and planning

I have been using this method of problem-solving and creative thinking for a couple of years and it has helped me to think outside the box and chart a path to unlock all kinds of challenges, big ones, and small ones. In fact, I use it even when I don’t have a “problem” — it’s perfect for planning and brainstorming, too, on any subject matter imaginable.

Mind you, I am a very practical person. I don’t waste my time on something that doesn’t work. There are many self-styled gurus and self-improvement experts who peddle complicated “methods” and “formulas” that are hard to learn, difficult to practice, and ultimately, don’t help you much. I’ve personally seen and encountered quite a few of them, but soon I found them to be either impractical or too difficult to internalize.

When we are in a stressful situation, or in a time of trouble, or when we are earnestly in search for a solution or an inspiration, the last thing we need to be doing is to be more self-absorbed than we already are.

Unfortunately, contemporary Western culture tells us to focus on the self.

Self-exaltation and self-actualization are the toxic pseudo-cult of our time.

The problem in this is that when we are stressed out, or when we are anxious and fearful, we are already subconsciously stuck with the self. We fear because of self-preservation needs. While it is a natural response, it blocks the flow of creativity.

In other words, we are in God’s way blocking the divine right action from occurring.

Often times, the first thing we have to do in such a situation is to get out of God’s way.

The religious language I had just used aside, what I have found over the years is that when I get out of my self-obsession (fear, desperation, and anxiety included), my creativity flows freely and soon I arrive at the best solution to whatever the issues I may be facing.

This is why the spirit of service to others is a requirement, not optional, even when you feel like it’s hard enough trying to take care of yourself.

Many people of faith know that praying for others even in the time of trouble can lead to a personal breakthrough in their own lives.

Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, the founder of the Gesundheit! Institute (and made famous by the late Robin Williams’ eponymous biopic), made this the centerpiece of his program of healing. In his hospital, patients were encouraged to do good deeds for the others and the community, thereby reducing their mental focus on their illnesses.

If you are an entrepreneur, a maker, or an artist who is experiencing a difficult time because of slow business, disappointing customer traffic, or financial challenges, the solution comes from bringing your focus back to service: what you are here to offer to the others, or your “value propositions.” As long as your mental obsession is on merely trying to figure out how to survive and pay another bill, you will be blindsided by your own anxiety and will be prone to making shortsighted decisions that will soon hurt your business in the long run.

One of the best ways to help get us “out of God’s way” and let the divine spirit lead you to the right path is to use the power of imagination and play. Several years ago, I literally lost nearly everything and I was hopeless. Paradoxically, though, when I stopped letting myself hoodwinked by the tyranny of urgency and obsession with immediate survival, new paths and opportunities opened up before me.

In January, I will be sharing the exact practice that I do to chart a path to unlock all kinds of challenges big or small.

Unlike most such practices that are being marketed online, this one requires no special objects, is devoid of no religious or spiritual woo-woo, is not a pseudo-therapeutic quackery, and quite honestly, it is like a game–it is very enjoyable and indeed, all sorts of silliness and playfulness are encouraged! And you will be surprised how it leads to some of the best practical solutions to whatever the challenges you may be facing in your life!