Tag Archives: #flow

1. Try to be surprised by something every day.

It could be something you see, hear, or read about. Stop to look at the unusual car parked at the curb, taste the new item on the cafeteria menu, actually listen to your colleague at the office. How is this different from other similar cars, dishes or conversations? What is its essence? Don’t assume that you already know what these things are all about, or that even if you knew them, they wouldn’t matter anyway. Experience this thing for what it is, not what you think it is. Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences – the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.


Starbucks making a dragon with hula hoop.

8 tips to make your life more surprising, from Tania Luna, Surprisologist

2. Try to surprise at least one person every day


My brother surprising us with an Octopus mask.

Yesterday I had a prompting to gift a friend E a Egyptian perfume flask. Turns out it was her birthday, I didnt realise it. I didnt heed my instincts and will pass it to her next week.

3. Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others

On my blog?

4. When something sparks your interest, follow it.

Really takes effort. Before being surprised, you live with the mundane.

5. Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to


Every morning my goal is to water the custard apple tree. Three fruits spotted.

6. Spend time in settings that stimulate your creativity.

My garden. What setting stimulates you? I find learning and reading stimulates me. Doing my Precepts homework. I’m covering the Book of Daniel and Acts.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention


Sunbird on my balcony

Sunbird on my balcony

I’m interested in the subject of creativity. Singaporeans are known to be uncreative. Can we teach creativity?

We look at the entertainment field where creativity is de rigeur, the Korean drama and pop stars are today ruling the entertainment scene where the Japanese once reigned. Next in line would be the Taiwanese/ Hong Kongers.

Those of us who are old enough to remember, will recall, that not too long ago, the Japanese were the source of cheap manufacturing parts.  [In those days, we buy German products if you want quality.] Then, came the Koreans.  You go to Seoul for cheap, imitation Coach bags.  Then, came the Taiwanese. Today, of course, China rules the counterfeit market. Will China move out of this stigma and develop their own range of products.

In “Creativity – the psychology of Discovery and Invention” by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, from interviews with exceptional people, biologists, physicists to poets, artists and business leaders, he puts forth that the “tortured genius” is largely a myth. There’s a description on Anthony Hecht, a lyric poet, who among many awards, won the Pulitzer in 1968. 

“Like all other writers, Hecht learned to be one by reading extensively. He memorized poems until they “became part of my bloodstream”. Then he spent years writing in the voice of various poets he admired: John Donne, George Herbert etc.”

“Poetry is whatever poetry has been, with any new inventions that a new poet cares to add to that. But he can’t add to it without knowing what it has been.” 

Stephen King’s “On Writing” shared similar points about his journey. 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, he discussed at length the same point, but named it “The 10,000 hours rule” citing Mozart.

Nothing is original, says Kirby Ferguson, creator of “Everything is a Remix”. From Bob Dylan to Steve Jobs, our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform and [put a trademark logo on it?]. Listen to his TED talk:

So how does one enhance personal creativity?

Some suggestions by Prof Cz:

1. Cultivate curiosity and creativity.

2. Cultivate flow in everyday life

3. Practice Habits of Strength

4. Internalise traits into your personality


Photo credits: Photos of sunbird outside my balcony. Taken by my husband, L who spent quite some 1000 minutes building rapport with his model.