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18 principles for highly creative living

“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.”— Osho

1. The purpose of education is no longer to fit yourself to a career, which might or might not exist (at least in its current form) by the time you are ready to enter it. The purpose of education is to give you the foundation to enable you to create your own path.

2. Study human nature. You understand others through understanding yourself; you can understand yourself through understanding others. Without that understanding, your art will probably suck.

3. Life doesn’t happen in sequential order (build career/find mate/have kids). The version you carry in your head of how your life should be was probably cobbled together from movies, TV, other forms of fantasy handed down by a culture that wants you to buy stuff. So junk it. Redefine success. Embrace the mess. There’s beauty in the imperfection.

4. You need the struggle to transform you into the person you’re required to be in order to carry out whatever you were born to do. Have faith in the process. The darkness is rich, carries its own rewards, and gives birth to light.

5. Spirituality is not the same as religion. You can embrace the former and reject the latter.

6. When we’re kids, we get punished for being different. For being ‘too much’. We tamp ourselves down and shape ourselves to fit in. As an adult, your power is in your original point of view, so long as you a) have the courage to declare it and b) can make it relevant to other people.

7. Creativity happens in the edges and intersections (where different ideas can meet up and have sex with each other): between disciplines, and also between people. You need your tribe. Your mind craves the stimulation of other minds. We shape ourselves according to the people we hang with (we can’t help it) so if you don’t like the person you’re becoming, slowly change out your tribe.

8. At the same time, we need to actively carve out spaces of silence and solitude in order to do thedeep thinking and real art-making that creates meaning from chaos. Emptiness is powerful and sacred: the birthplace of new possibility. Make those spaces for yourself. Build in your own periods ofdigital detox. Protect and defend them.

9. Use the word ‘yes’ to connect with people; use the word ‘no’ to protect your space, work, time and relationships. Inside every ‘no’ is a ‘yes’ to something else. Know what that is.

10. Cultivate fierce listening skills.

11. Have fierce conversations. Step out from behind the social mask. Show your core.

12. Risk-taking is the new conservative. Live off your ragged edge. Grow. Or the world will leave you behind.

13. Pain and joy come together.

14. Good change builds. Bad change destroys. But sometimes you need to burn everything down in order to rise from the ashes.

15. In order to rise from the ashes, you first have to be in the ashes. That’s the sucky part.

16. Don’t think outside the box. That’s too easy. You need limits to chafe against; limits trigger and release creativity. So climb inside the box – and find ways to kick the edges way the hell out.

17. Some roads are lonely roads. Walk them anyway.

18. Figure out your soul signature: a statement that crystallizes the essence of who you are and what you can be when you’re at your best. Live it out every day in order to communicate it to others. As Gandhi pointed out, your life is your message. Make it epic.