The following list is what I have learnt in the last 10 years of my Yoga/meditation practice and of my career. It took a lot of good teachers and lot of faith in myself to let some things go and cultivate others. I think they made me a better designer.
If you are working on any kind of problem, to solve it effectively:
- Be prepared to learn
- Be open to the circumstances
- Don't let your conditioning get between you and a good solution
- Act, stop thinking
- Be humble
Know what it means to really learn:
You need to acknowledge that learning is not accumulative. it happens in the now, you have to experience it. Not remember it. You still can read a book that tells you all about someone else's experience of learning and all the wonderful things they did as a result. For you to be able to gain anything tangible from reading this, other than huge inspiration, you'll need to try things out for yourself. You'll need to experiment and go on that journey too. Only an open mind can learn: you need to be willing to go into the unknown, and leave the safety of the known behind.
You have been conditioned by schools, institutions, organisations, and even by your family and friends to see the world in a certain light. You need to figure out what is conditioning and what is you. You can't find that out by asking other people, by reading any books, or by going to some exotic place. You need to go inside rather than outside, and spend some time with yourself. Creativeness comes through self-knowledge. Creativity is not just the product of your thoughts. Until you know yourself, you will continue to have the same ideas again and again. You might not even realise that they belong to others. By knowing yourself, you access the world in a different way.
Give up on your beliefs:
Beliefs prevent us from really understanding anything. They get between us and ideas, and stop us from exploring new things. Having values is quite different and allows you to draw the line between what is acceptable or not to you. Beliefs on the other hand whether they are about religions, design, rearing children, typography, gardening or anything else will put walls up around you. Next time you hear yourself say "I believe ..." stop right there and try on something else for size. There aren;t very many rules that you can apply to every single situation. You need to adapt easily to new circumstances by being open to what they offer.
Stop having ideas, take action:
Ideas are not real, action allows you to experience things immediately. It's very possible that you cannot actually have any original thoughts, because they are always a product of your conditioning. Creativity is completely original, and comes from embracing the world around you and being open to it. To embrace it, you must be a part of it, actively playing a role. You cannot be thinking away for ever more. Your mind will lead you astray and you will miss the obvious along with the ingenious
There is no "learning to become humble", you either are or you are not. Humility opens up other people to you and the world around you. If you are unable to find humility, you need to start back at "learn" and work your way through the list. You will never know everything, and you will never be the best at everything. If you are the best at something, someone will eventually be better than you. When you land on a really brilliant solution, you have a lot of thanks to give: to whoever worked with you, to those who had all the ideas that you build on and stole from, to those who you observed and listened to, to those who taught you, to those who believed in you when you weren't so great. Give thanks where it is truly due and humility will find you.
Lastly, bonus quote for those who read:
"Happiness cannot be pursued: if you seek it it will evade you. It is not a sensation, a memory of the past, a sensation needs gratification". (Desikachar)