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June 6, 2021
Jim, one of my mentors, who jokes that he’s a recovering pastor, writes in his book about a spiritual discipline called momentology.
It’s the practice of making a big deal out of the moments one experiences in life. He says when we develop the art of noticing, and learn not to let those moments slips past unnoticed, we milk them for all they’re worth.
His discipline has profound implications in the creative process. In fact, many of the tools in the personal creativity management system hinge upon moments.
A simple one is the victory dance, which is the act of loving ourselves by acknowledging moments when we feel proud of our completed work. If you want to bolster your artistic confidence, celebrating small wins is essential.
Even if you don’t think bragging about your work is appropriate, do it anyway. Do a fist pump. Give yourself a high five. Do a little shimmy around your room. Come up with a corny catch phrase and say it aloud. This little moment goes a long way in building momentum as you create.
Now, some moments, on the other hand, will be more dramatic. Like when you get laid off from your awesome job and it makes you feel like you just got kicked in the nuts by life. Or when a friend or family member suddenly passes away. Or when you have to get surgery and lay bedridden for two weeks.
This tool is what’s called a good low. It’s when life hands you a pile of shit, you strategically convert that experience into creative resources of energy, fertility and happiness. Initially, you feel depressed and immobile and worthless.
But eventually, you get so low that you uncover efficient fuel sources to energize your work and generate something remarkable. You actually grow profitable new ideas in the fertilizer of your own failure. It all depends on how you notice and leverage the moment.
Okay, here’s one last example of how an important and influencing instance can become a galvanizer for the creative process. Have you ever had a small role in a project, but still wanted to make a lasting impression on the team?
There is a way to do this without annoying people or exhausting yourself. The tool is called scrapping, or, creating an intentional point of over delivery and generosity. You deliver your work in a way that creates an imbalance of effort and care, where the people around you have no choice but to remedy that disparity with some kind of reward.
Like when you attend your first meeting as the newest member of a team. Don’t say a word, just take notes. Like, amazing notes. The best notes anyone has ever seen. Notes that make people feel seen and heard and energized by all the brilliant insights and ideas they have. Then send those notes out to everyone on the team sixty seconds after the meeting is over.
That’s scrapping, and it’s a moment your team will never forget. Don’t underestimate the power of this type of tool.
Remember, momentum is a word that originates in the field of mechanics, aka, momentum. It means a product of the mass and velocity of a body. Aka, your body of work.
If you want to become more prolific, use moments strategically to gain force and power.
If that’s not a spiritual discipline, I don’t know what is.
How good are you at noticing and leveraging the moments of your life?