Self-reflection

Doing a self-reflection analysis has never been my cup of tea. I have never been so mindful about myself and did not treat this type of evaluation a major milestone of my life. But if you are a regular follower of my blog, you may know that 2015 was a very challenging but indeed meaningful year of my life and it is a must for me to reflect on this year’s happenings with the aim to identify the most remarkable aspects of my personal development.

Self reflection can be seen as a ritual where you are determined to be extremely honest about your main achivements, to understand and get over your losses and clear your head in order to treat the upcoming year as a fresh start with endless possibilities.

It is important to make sure that you don’t start making any resolutions for the next year before doing your reflection on the last as the gained insights of your last year can provide an invaluable raw material for your future goals and personal development. Having said that, it is easier to make a resolution to do something great that you discovered and benefited from in the last year and, in parallel, identify the things that did not work for you and you want to avoid them like the plague.

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I would like to point out that it is imperative to think through the most challenging times not just the best ones. Life is definitely not black and white and you most likely experienced difficult times: maybe you were diagnosed with an illness, lost something meaningful or somebody wronged you. But I do believe that every bad situation can functionate as a catalyst for further progression and our biggest lesson is to find the silver lining in these happenings.

Self reflection can be a valuable tool to discover the major milestones of your personal growth and to figure out the main obstacles that you encountered in your path. This ritual is best achieved if you have the right answers to ask.

Here are my questions:

1) What was the single best/most challenging thing that happened to you this year?

2) What blessings have you found in your challenging times?

3) In what ways have you stepped outside of your comfort zone and grown?

4) What was the biggest thing you learnt this year?

5) How well did you take care of your body and your soul?

6) Where were you feeling stuck?

7) Who do you need to forgive?

Do you have any meaningful questions to ask? Please share it with me in the comments.

Book review: Writing Away from Lavinia Spalding

“When travel is viewed through a lens of personal development, it becomes more than a getaway and more of a gateway; we travel not just to change location, but also our perspective. Yet it’s only when combined with active observation and self-examination that a voyage truly change us.”

I have been procrastinating this blog post for quite some time as this book made a wonderful impact on my writing but if you are a regular follower of my blog, you may have noticed that I am referring to this special writing in some of my previous posts. The purpose of procrastination was to allow time to ripen the gained insights.

Writing Away should be every travellers’ bible: both on their selves and in their backpacks. This profound piece of art is not just about how to chronicle our travel experiences but also about the way we behave, feel and perceive the things that are happening to us outside of our comfort zones as unfamiliarity is something that can truly change us and the way we look at the world. Its aim is to show how to observe the new environment – and our role in it – and preserve the meaningful aspects in a more conscious approach. Having said that, this book has psychological and anthropological meanings: we can learn how to slow our cognitive process down in the moment and learn to preserve the newly gained insights in a way which would not only help to re-experience the written world again but also to provide a profound story for our future generation.

The author recommends having a blank journal in order to not feel limited between the lines: it helps you to spice your story up with pictures, drawings in order to truly preserve a memory. Creating your own creative world without being restricted is the core thing in travel journaling as “an absence of lines leaves room for imagination to take over.”

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The end of Chapter 3 focuses on writers’ block and provide some ideas on how to move on from this limiting period. As far as I am concerned, I don’t believe in writers’ block. Chances are that infertile days, weeks or months occur without chronicling anything meaningful, however, it does not mean that there aren’t any ongoing war in the wild woods of a writer’s soul. So my core theory that a writer’s mind is never empty, it is always observing and analysing something, it is unstoppable. And the silent periods are indeed and inseparable part of any creative process where the purpose of time is to ripen any meaningful realizations into something innovative.

I am not a highly experienced traveller, like Lavinia Spalding, but since I live in London, I have first-hand experience about the forming effect of leaving our familiar environment. Wherever we travel, wherever we relocate, one thing remains the same: our inner barriers, the never learnt lessons, the insurmountable obstacles that we are carrying with ourselves to everywhere. Chances are that a new environment won’t reveal these things for a short period of time because of a new experience, but as the new becomes a well-known routine, we will soon face the problems that we have not solved in the past.

Writing Away functionates as a profound life-discovering journey and it is highly recommended for every traveller for an exciting journey throughout the world and into ourselves.

Offline introvert – online extrovert?

I have just recently came across to a blog where I have found the description of my entry title. It made me wondered a little bit regarding the forming effects of the digital world.

This description introduces the forming effects of improving technologies in the online context which has an influential outcome on the self and emerges some kind of identity crisis. Being an extrovert online and showing the distinctive introverted personality traits in the real world implies the existence of an undescribed boundary. The maintenance of this boundary is completely up to the individual; choosing to rely on their real identities or staying in an anonymous state as well as practicing a different form of behaviour with regards to self-presentation.

It is easy to admit that the Internet is an enormous place for self-expression and its digital platforms provide different types of interactions. In terms of online context, Introverts are free to decide their own term of engagement outside their primary social environment which basically requires some form of structured interaction. This can possibly be a pressure for people who are literally “in their head’s” most of the time. That is the reason why the term “anonymity” provides a suitable form of online existence for Introverts who would like to exploit their maximum potential without risking the possibly awkward recognition of their primary social circle.

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It is worthwhile to consider the role of creativity regarding the anonym online context. Having known that anonymity enables people to operate in a virtual world without no exact rules and boundaries, it is safe to admit that this kind of blossoming environment is the basic root of creativity. Staying unknown can functionate as a motivational factor with its unrestricted form of possibilities which is beneficial for the ones whose primary goal is to save face.

Under these circumstances, I have started my own English blog 3 years ago as an anonym Introvert. As time has passed, I have received enough positive feedbacks and some enquiries regarding my non existent “About me” section so it clearly showed that I haven’t been judged. It literally boosted my confidence to be proud of my own emotional brand so I no longer continued my blog without a name. I have never liked writing about personal happenings in my own virtual space, however, I have let others know what is really going on in the wild woods of my soul.

Of course in the beginning, I just wanted to escape from the real world and build a digital space for myself like a defending shelter but my goal has continuously changed with regards to the blogosphere. I have just realized recently that the digital frontier between my real and online self is not too strict to be able to split my personality as I treated my online participation as a creative self-extension and not a separate form of existence in another world. And that is why I have come to the following conclusion:

As beautiful as anonymity may seem in the online context regarding the enormous amount of possibilities of creative self-expression, it can never functionate as a suitable substitute of true self-extension. Chronicling your most remarkable theories in the digital world can only be true if you have the courage to create a distinctive framework for your writing with revealing your invaluable personality as it adds more value to your online brand.

Having known that my long-term goal is to conduct some kind of social experiments regarding my special writing called Outside the Bud, I am keen to discover several kinds of methods to enhance my theories further. I am particularly interested in the behavioural patterns of Introverts in the digital world as well so it is not a surprise if I admit that I would like to invest more time and energy in this issue.

The end of dreadful eroticism

Things which can be figured out easier will soon have a vividly grey shade for us as it is not needed to think them further. On the contrary, complex things create a deep thought-flowing process in us and can activate our brain’s excitement factor – which should always be the goal of any creative artwork.

H. R. Giger who just recently passed away at the age of 74 was obviously able to accomplish this goal with his genuine contribution to the art world. The swiss artist has become famous with his weird design of the Alien movie which has made a downright disturbing effect on millions of people. However, he has created much more than that.

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As far as I am concerned, I have always been attracted to complex things which basically means that it is a must to wonder about the hidden meaning.
I was a member of a writing circle in my country a couple of years ago and I clearly remember the day when I have got my first task. There was a painting exhibition in a small hotel in Budapest and the leader of the circle asked me to write a poem about a particular country painting. I have found this task a little bit daunting as country images for me are way too hard to annotate as the seen things are quite obvious and it is really difficult to grasp the enormity of the seen facts. In my opinion, an artwork should never be too obvious as it kills the excitement of the thirsty act of discovery.

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This problem would never happen in terms of H. R. Giger’s work as it possesses the basic illogical attributes of a surrealist art. And these unusual visionary ideas are the ones that can force us to wonder and figure out what is going on deep down.

His work can be defined as a rare and genuine combination of dreadfulness and sweet erotics and this strange contradiction is indeed the great beauty of it.

On the black and white board

Chess has always been the center of attention of science regarding its enthralling effects on human thinking and is indeed a serious dose of inspiration for artists.

People in my environment knows that I rather quiet than bubbly so whenever I open my mouth it means that I have something important to tell or ask. Maybe that is the reason why I am deeply attracted to this silent logic game where your steps are literally speaking instead of – and about – you.

It has been statistically proven that the white wins the majority of the games simply because its advantage with the very first step. However, I would argue with this statistic as I am usually playing with the black on my phone and I am regularly beating the computer – I know its not the same as playing with a human being but I don’t really have a partner who would like to take part in this intellectual game.

What fascinates me really is the initiative-reaction parallel which is able to make my creative juices flowing in terms of Outside the bud. I mean, the goal of the game is to checkmate your opponent – and the way to achieve this task is indeed an art.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the famous Hungarian professor who spent years on researching his innovative principle of Flow, said that if we would like to create something new which has never existed before, learning the particular field in a thorough way has to be our paramount principle. And then, when the basic lessons have been properly learnt, our own visions and initiatives have to be added to the picture creating a more productive outcome.

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In chess, it is quite obvious that we need to be aware of the basic rules, however, the art of chess is indeed to smuggle creativity into the strict aspect of this game. Starters usually play in a defensive way which is indeed a hindrance of exploiting the creative functions of the brain. Being a passive participant on the black&white board literally kills the chance to challenge your opponent. On the other hand, taking initiative and forcing your partner to be reactive rather than an active participant in the game is the only way to win. Being in charge and thinking ahead more steps in a cautious way basically requires us to get out of our comfort zones…

So it is not a surprise if I admit that this game is an invaluable raw material for Outside the Bud so I will carry on playing and examining my thinking will be my biggest task in the next couple of months.

The 40 comfort zone postcard project

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I am one of the most grateful people in the world right now. I have finally started working in financial services again after 1,5 years in retail and successfully finished my qualification. Being extremely strong and perseverant has finally paid off and now I am full of with energy and would like to concentrate on my next goals.

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This postcard is from my colleague who wished good luck for my final exam.

I have already started studying towards the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning in my not so much spare-time, however, the so called ‘literary gipsy’ which is indeed my creative self has desperately started screaming again to be taken into account. I mean, my e-book about the comfort zone (Outside the bud – A guide for Introverts) is still just a draft but I would like to take a new approach to my ideas and will continue living in a close symbiosis with my special writing. My all time inspirations which are able to make my creative juices flowing (Writing Away from Lavinia Spalding and the album Division Bell from Pink Floyd) will be my loyal companion in the future as well if the writer’s block syndrome eventually starts knocking on my door.

And what is so fascinating about the comfort zone?
If you know the story about my arriving to London 2 years ago, you might say that I was extremely brave as I have jumped out of my rusty, old-fashioned cage what I had been creating for myself in the last couple of years. It’s true, it was a big challenge for me. However, it does not mean that my comfort zone has completely changed as I have found myself reacting in the same way to common or unfamiliar situations like before in spite of the fact that the faced challenges were downright rewarding.
What I am trying to say is that jumping out of your defending shelter and creating a new, more productive personal boundary is in fact absolutely not the same. The previous is just a one-time experience which is indeed a successful battle with the ‘Beat about the bush effect’ (check out this entry of mine for more information). The latter on the other hand requires a constant feeling of discomfort for a particular amount of time while your old, obsolete responses are continuously being replaced by a new, more conscious approach. This new approach soon becomes an automated involuntary action so the next time facing with a similar challenge, your response will be consistent with the newly learnt habit and this is the real sign of a new personal boundary.

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A quick glance at my past entries shows some great ideas and remarkable raw materials in terms of this issue, however, I find them insufficient to create the core principles of my theory. So a more flexible and opened approach to study this topic further could even enrich my understanding of its essential attributes – the smooth defending mechanism in parallel with its invisible limiting effect.

I just recently came to the conclusion that conducting some kind of social experiments could be a beneficial enhancement to my research. As a person who’s mind is never empty and constantly pondering on several kinds of issues, I started wondering what would be the best researching method to be able to add more value to Outside the bud. 

I had a lot of concerns about approaching people on the street with the specific attitude of objectivity as it tends to be insufficient and less informative if the major aspect of my research is to gain thorough insight of personal boundaries. On the contrary, bombarding people with too intimate questions can even lead to awkwardness which can functionate as a hindrance of examining true behavioural responses. The venture of this research could also play an important role in creating my final theory: the centre of my attention is basically restricted to introverted people as the main subject of my research is to prove that introverts are all able to overcome any obstacles of their comfort zones and can create a new one with a more productive but safe place.

The mentioned aspects all need to be taken into account which makes this research a little bit hard to accomplish not to mention its time-consuming existence. Having known that Outside the Bud is a voluntary self-discovering journey of mine, I would like to keep my research as easy (and creative) as possible.

Under these circumstances, I have just invented the idea of the 40 Comfort zone Postcard Project. It means that every single month of this year, I would like to create 40 creative postcards and hide them in bookstores (within best-seller self-help books) so as somebody with a same interest buys a book will eventually have my postcard as well.

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The first creative postcard of mine.

The idea is to create an online questionnaire in terms of the psychological attributes of the comfort zone and advertise its availability on my postcards. It is quite obvious that the result will not be as representative as it should be because not just introverted people will find my postcards, but taking into account the fact that the majority of the self-help book buyers are introverted, it has to be efficient enough to be used as a suitable source for my research.

Truth is, writing an interesting book has always been my biggest dream. However, I am not highly experienced in terms of the English language and projects in general so any kind of comments or advice in terms of research methods, online marketing or design would be very much appreciated from anybody.

The art of observing

Spending some time in the sunshine at Box Hill, Surrey was something I needed now more than most. I usually work on Saturdays but I just gave a day off for myself because of the great weather. For a big dose of inspiration, the book, Writing Away was with me and I was thinking about what nuances I can capture and preserve around myself in the nature. But the blunt truth is that I am not good in chronicling the basic attributes of nature in a high-toned way, so writing about the gentle touch of the wind and the song of the crickets in the grass is literally not my strength.

I am not a highly experienced person in terms of traveling like Lavinia Spalding, but since I live in London I had some realizations about the forming effects of leaving our familiar environment. Wherever we travel, wherever we relocate, one thing remains the same: our inner barriers, the never learnt lessons, the insurmountable obstacles that we are carrying with ourselves to everywhere. Chances are that a new environment won’t reveal these things for a short period of time creating exciting experiences, but as the new becomes a well-known routine, we will soon face the problems what we haven’t solved in the past.

suitcase-book-travelI always had a theory that it is not necessary to make something happen in the outside to be inspired or to create something special. However, it does not mean that it cannot be a raw material in our creative process. Sometimes my most precious writings were born in the complete silence when I was just standing still and focused entirely on my thoughts rather than relying on the spur of the moment happenings. But soon I realized that in terms of my e-book about the comfort zone, it is a must to not live just inside my head but to deliberately force myself to do something in the outside and let my senses overflow with the help of the new experiences. Being unmoved and calm is still something I most need in order to capture and understand the world around myself but this has to be changed in the future if I really like to widen my horizons and enrich my e-book with meaningful insights. In parallel, conducting various kinds of experiments in terms of social interactions will be my major task in order to spice my current comfort zone up with more productive attributes. Without this action, I will definitely face the same obstacles, the harsh lessons and unconsciously jeopardize my chance to create a more demanding and rich comfort zone.

Book review: Creativity from Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

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Due to the famous Hungarian professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the prerequisite to create something innovative is to learn the particular field in a profound way where you would like to add value to. And then, if the core lessons have been learnt, spice the classic issues up with your genuine realizations.

Creativity based on a more than 20 years long research where the major raw materials were the profound interviews with managers, actors, artists and psychologists. The book covers the basic principles of creativity including the psychological process of creative achievements and it literally captures the major personality traits of a creative person. Most importantly, the author increases this special experience with some proven tips on how to unlock our full potential and facilitate our creative ideas in terms of daily activities.originalWhat I found really interesting is as the way the author introduced the professional life of a painter. He wasn’t successful in the beginning and just experienced setbacks given by the professional circle who judged on him in a downright harsh way. That was the point when the author emphasized the blunt truth that a success of an artwork highly depends on the artistic maturity and the ‘think outside the box’ approach of the judging professional circle. Knowing this issue, the painter has finally found another experts who ‘got his message’ in terms of his artwork, so he soon became famous.

I highly recommend this book for everyone who deals with something creative and keen to stand out from the so-called average. This interesting research about creativity enhanced with nourishing attributes is able to maintain your enthusiasm in the competition of creating something innovative.

How to be a creative writer

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If you have ever had the desire to play with words and create precious worlds with your imaginative mind, this post is definitely for you.

Everybody has a story to tell and I firmly believe that we are all able to facilitate the creative artists within ourselves. I would like to share with you some basic tips what can help you to unlock your full potential in terms of creative writing.

1. Read, read, read…

Reading different type of books and blogs what are in connection with your interests are beneficial in the path towards creativity. In addition, exploring the secret tips from professional writers are an indispensable part of this process.

As far as I am concerned, I used to ignore other authors’ writings in my native language because I always felt that I unintentionally lose my own voice and I was desperately trying to maintain my own style and create a distinctive emotional brand.

But the book about Creativity written by a Hungarian professor, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, emphasizes the fact that your first step towards creativity is to learn the basics in an effective way then spice it up with your own, genuine ideas in order to create something innovative. Most importantly, reading professional writings helps to learn more complicated sentence structures what could be a beneficial lesson and helps to be seen more professional.

2. Be inspired…

In order to be creative almost all the time, we need constant inspiration. Everybody is different in terms of that, but you have to discover what really makes your creative juices flowing. It could be an interesting book, a professional conference, an art exhibition or just a long walk in the forest but you will definitely know which one is able to facilitate the creative activity of your subconscious mind. Try to deal with them regularly and you will see that the hidden doors of your creativity will soon open.

3. Have a notebook with you all the time…

As strange as it may sound but my most creative writings were made on trains and buses. The first time when I saw the word ‘Symbiosis’ in an advert from a bus it immediately made me wondered. Unfortunately I didn’t have any paper or journal with me so I had to write my ideas into my phone. Since then I always carry a notebook with myself and pay close attention to my muse whenever she wants to tell me something.

On the other hand, a beautiful journal can help you to feel creative whenever you take a quick look at it. I am really obsessed by colourful and artistic journals so I usually buy new ones.

Lavinia Spalding, the author of Writing Away advises to have a blank journal in order to not feel limited between the lines. It helps you to make drawings and create your own creative world without being restricted.

journal4. Practice…

In order to find your own voice and distinctive style, you have to stretch yourself and jump out your familiar boundaries. It basically means that you have to try a lot of things so that you can distinguish what is really you.

5. Don’t be afraid of the blank page syndrome…

As I mentioned in my earlier entry, I don’t believe in writer’s blocks. Chances are that infertile days, weeks, months or years occur without chronicling anything meaningful to the outside, however, it does not mean that there aren’t any ongoing war in the wild woods of the writer’s soul. So my core theory is that a writer’s mind is never empty, it is always observing and analyzing something, it is unstoppable. And the silent periods are indeed an inseparable part of any creative achievement where the purpose of the time is to ripen any meaningful realizations into something innovative. And the voice of the sacred muse can only be heard if the basics have been learnt spiced up with the ripening effect of time.

Being context sensitive

There is something uplifting and downright coaxing about entering to a book store. The bookcovers wink at you and invite you to an inspiring journey: the classical covers just stand still in a moderate way on the shelves while the naughty ones are trying to seduce you with their extremely vivid and sensuous feature. The abstract covers are also competing to win your undivided attention catching your eyes with their artistic attribute in a fraction of a second. So the demand is absolutely rich and writers definitely try to convince us with the help of the covers but the main thing is essentially the discovery of the content.

As far as I am concerned, I like to be influenced by an enthralling bookcover but the main thing for me is to check what can be found in a book that I would be able to benefit from, so I am figuratively context sensitive. I spend most of my spare time at book stores seeking something interesting that functionates as an inspiring tool for my thirsty soul. Sometimes I start reading the books that catch my eyes and I just find that while the thoughts are quite interesting, I am not able to benefit from all of the chapters. That is the reason why I don’t like ordering any books from the web without knowing the main contents and the main purpose of the book. Going to a store and turning the pages is not just an obsession of mine, but an effective habit to figure out which ones are able to engage my whole attention and able to inspire me further to gain more thoughts about a particular issue.

egeszsegIn these occasions I try observing myself. While I am in this exciting process and reading the pages I deliberately observe how the book is able to give me more thoughts and watch out whether the writing is able to take me away from my own reality to a different place where the writer’s and my thoughts can merge into a new insight.

But in the last year, there was an exception. I was desperately searching for Lavinia Spalding’s book, called Writing Away, what is dealing with travel journaling. The blunt truth is that I wanted to buy it for a long time but unfortunately, it cannot be found in the bookstores, so I had to take some risks and order it from the web. It was completely out of my comfort zone but I ordered it and finally, after one year planning, it is in my hands at the moment.

I just started reading it and just realized that its not mainly about travelling and journaling but an entirely different experience. It deals with the pscyhological aspects of our journeys and the way we experience it. Most importantly, the writer describes some aspects that entirely change our rigid and obsolete thinking and shows the path to the ultimate creativity. I just finished with the first chapter, but I started to feel that this woman inspires me so much and her thoughts are spiced with genuine grandiosity. I have new ideas about my ebook in terms of Introversion&The Comfort Zone, so in the end, finishing this book will definitely be a beneficial experience. So out of my comfort zone, there was a special reward again…