Happy Vs Flourishing episode 9 features Sid Chawla author of the book “Spark your inner genius” as we explore the world of creativity.
Sid has taken an immense amount of drive, creativity, and passion and paired it with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the worlds of personal development and self-help.
Sid has worked with some of the largest and most prestigious companies in the world including GAP, Dell, and J.P. Morgan Chase.
Some of the topics discussed in this episode:
- Sid’s identity crisis growing up
- We think other people are creative but not ourselves
- Why he wrote a book on the topic of creativity
- How he helps clients in his coaching
- How do you find innovative ideas
- How meditation helps the process
- Brushing your brain
Happy Vs Flourishing links:
Tony Winyard 0:00
Happy versus flourishing episode nine.
Tony Winyard 0:07
Welcome to the podcast where we give you ideas to have a more flourishing life, which is a longer term thing than happiness which can be very fleeting. Today's guest is Sid Chawla. He is written a book on creativity and we're going to explore the realms of creativity. What is it? How are you able to be more creative? How can that help you in your business and your life? Why not subscribe to this podcast, so you can make sure you receive the episodes every week? Leave a review for us that would really help to get the word out to more people. And hope you enjoy this week's show.
Tony Winyard 0:52
Happiness versus flourishing. And my guest today is Sid Chawla. How are you Sid?
Sid Chawla 0:57
I'm doing great. How you doing? Tony? Nice to meet you.
Tony Winyard 1:00
Yeah, nice to meet you. And you were just telling me you're in DC today.
Sid Chawla 1:04
I am in DC, unfortunately, I would love to be in New York. That's where I live right now. But, you know, with these circumstances out of our control, I thought being in the centre of the world for the pandemic is not the best place to be.
Tony Winyard 1:19
Yeah, New York has been hit pretty rough.
Sid Chawla 1:22
Yeah, unfortunately, it's a it's one of those places where there's so much influx of people from around the world coming in, and I lived in the centre of Manhattan. So inevitably, I would have run into someone with COVID-19, or some situation like that. And the other downside of it is that the hospitals aren't able to keep up with the amount of people that are getting hospitalised. So that's the main issue that we're seeing in New York. I've actually taken this quarantine as an opportunity to work on myself and self to what I guess what I've noticed is that during this quarantine time, there's two types of people, right, there's a type who end up sitting at home, drinking every day hanging out with friends over zoom and not paying much attention to themselves, right. And then there's the second part of these people, if we're coming out of quarantine with six pack abs and a mental framework from reading 10,000 books. So I'm gonna be really interesting time to see what the world looks like in another year. And I guess in my situation, since I wasn't in New York and visited my social life, I was able to actually, you know, move forward and finish writing my book and take time to invest in myself read more books, and, you know, get my fitness in check. And I think it's, I think an interesting time.
Tony Winyard 2:36
What is I know that you've got quite an interesting background, and as you mentioned, that you just finished your book. So what is your So you mentioned that you came over to the states when you I think in your teens, when we started talking before the recording? And how since you arrived in the States, what has your What was your journey? What have you been doing?
Sid Chawla 2:54
When I moved from India, it was I want to say one of the toughest yet looking back best experiences of my life. And being an Indian growing up in India, I was actually in America before then. So I'll give a brief history. I was born and raised in Michigan, for one to four years old, lived in DC. till nine I moved to India, and then six years later came back for 10th grade back in DC. And I guess I've always been this fish out of water right. As as an Indian living in India, I was looked at as an American. And when I was in America, I was looked as Indian. So I always had this identity crisis, like where Who am I? Where am I really from and all these things, and I've come to determine that, you know, I'm hundred percent American, but identify, you know, as Indian heritage. So, first and foremost, that's who I am. And when I moved to America, I went to high school. And I noticed I was different than others in the sense that I had bigger dreams and ambitions. But the education system here puts you through a certain rings of hoops that you have to go through to identify as smart or not smart, gifted and talented, we have all these different terms for programmes. Unfortunately, I have this quote in my book, and I love this quote so much is by our favourite genius Albert Einstein. And it's a if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will forever be thinking it's stupid. And that's essentially what large of our education system is here in the States and India is pretty much similar to but after high school, I went to Indiana University for college and that's where I started delving a little bit more into my passions. I was passionate about technology, passionate about information systems, how technology was changing the world. And from there, I ended up getting a job with JPMorgan Chase in New York, and that's what I've been doing for the last couple of years. specialising data strategy. But one key thing that I noticed this whole entire time throughout my journey was this. It was creativity because for some reason, when I looked at the greats versus the goods, or the legends versus the non legends, it always came down to creativity. And I guess the way sparked was one, since I was young, I played the piano as well. It's the in India was called Indian Mozart for a solid six months. But I remember thinking that we're playing these pieces by Mozart and Beethoven and Bach. And we have no clue how they came up with it. We mean, like, yes, we know that we have the script of the music, but what's the creativity aspect of it the creativity, something they could just draw from their psyche? Was it something that they could just pull out of thin air and playing their pieces for hundreds of years? And you would say why? And I would say, at least say to myself that why hasn't been there more development in this front, I mean, there's a new song on the radio every day from you know, someone on YouTube, but what's going on here, and that's when I started digging into the sense of creativity. And then throughout my life in different periods when I was in high school, I noticed are the creative ones are winning science fairs, even though their product is really not the best in college. Okay, technology, you can have the best technology adept, you know, system. But if it's not a creative way of introducing it to people, it's not going to help so. And then, over and over again, I noticed a sense of creativity. And then one day I was in New York and coming back from the subway, and I heard this amazing singer, and she was phenomenal. I would say probably the best thing I've ever heard in my life. And I go back to my room, and I'm thinking, I mean, there's people on the radio, people, musicians, artists, who probably sing just as good, if not, like, you know, equivalent to this woman I heard on the subway. But then why is the woman not? The Why is she not successful? Why is she not coming up in the charts and I think this is where I love your podcast, happy versus flourishing. Because there's such a big difference. You can be flourishing as an artist, but you're not happy if you're, you know, getting pennies and dimes. And it's not just a financial situation, but it's also a little bit deeper than that.
Sid Chawla 7:12
And what I started doing was just just consuming everything I could on creativity and understanding that, okay, this the only reason this this woman who is a singer, one of the main reasons was she was just not creative. She was singing other people's songs, right. And I kept find this pattern over and over again. And nowhere I looked was a book on creativity, there was science of creativity. But there wasn't a book for people like you and me and for, you know, your audience, or anyone who just wants a couple of actionable advice on how to be more creative in their everyday scenarios. And that's where I started thinking, well, there's no book written. Let me write a book. And I didn't know the ABCs of writing a book. But I'll tell you, that was the toughest part of writing the book, not the content, I came up with the the the Word document, many, many months ago, it was okay, finding the publisher, okay, there's no publisher than publishing yourself. And then coming with a cover editing, the XYZ, all of it, but um, I guess in a long answer, what I ended up becoming is a person who is obsessed about creativity and hacking people's inner genius. And that led to me documenting my journey of publishing my first book on on my social media. And people were amazing, really engaging with me, they're like, oh, tell me more, they want to learn more.
Sid Chawla 8:31
And I think this is a big problem. And a lot of the people in personal development, they read a lot, but they don't execute, they read, they can read how to win friends and influence your people, seven habits of highly successful people name any of these books, then they don't execute it. They don't do anything with it, it just becomes a nice piece of artwork on their bookshelf, right? So yeah, I wanted to create a book that actually was like, here are the key takeaways and do these exact things. And within it, I have these like light bulbs to which people are like, Alright, this is a light bulb, this is an actionable advice. So I want it to be the testament for that and say, Hey, I'm going to make myself a guinea pig, for example, and take all these things, and actually execute it. So I don't know if you're an early riser or not, but one of the things I had to start doing was waking up early, because I still had a nine to five job at the time. And I mean, I still do, but one of the key things was I need to create time for my genius to breathe in a metaphorical way. And I'll get more into that later if you have any questions about, you know, how to boost creativity and things like that. But I started waking up early and showing how it became an early riser and documenting that and then overall, the the response was overwhelming and becoming an early riser, hacking minor genius. These all are things that I'm so excited to start sharing to the world. So, um, I guess in a long winded answer, now my goal is helping elevate people's quality of life, all before 8am. And that's what I do right now.
Sid Chawla 10:00
And that's my whole goal and impacting and becoming a, you know, a influencer, a thought leader, that's my main mission and and impacting everyone's lives.
Tony Winyard 10:10
And is it just through the book that you aim to do that or are other ways that you are doing that as well?
Sid Chawla 10:18
So I'm still in the process of figuring out the next steps. But I really loved this early riser habit, and how I could actually organise my day to be more creative, how I could actually induce creativity and breakthroughs by waking up a bit earlier and actually having a ritual and systems like that. So I have, so I saw how powerful that habit was just waking up a couple of hours earlier. So I and me as a night owl, I would sleep till like one or 2am, right. And then I would always, even though I knew the science, man, early rising was valid, there's always that false belief that, Oh, I'm just wired to be a night owl. And Benjamin Franklin was wrong, right? Or whoever these people are, who always say wake up at 5am. But I started doing that. And I just noticed an immense difference in my productivity, adding three extra hours to your day, you know, that's 21 hours a week, it was just phenomenal what happened in my experience on my growth, and that's one key takeaway. So I noticed if I could do it myself, and there's a lot of science behind what I did, like, there 66 days to create a habit, and every day, you have to wake up, and there's a lot of life hacks. I'm huge on life hacks, I ended up creating this course that I announced, you know, I offer my website, so people can actually, you know, learn for themselves to learn what I did without having to read this, you know, six books and everything else I did
Tony Winyard 11:42
is it just through the book, are you actually working with people in trying to help them develop?
Sid Chawla 11:48
Absolutely like that? Yeah, I mean, I do some coaching here. And there, the main way of help people is, I know, it's not the most, the most profitable, but I give a lot of my free content on social media, knowledge, go live on social media, everything I do is, you know, just keep providing as much value as I can, to my audience, I really haven't found a, you know, I don't want to be someone who constantly, you know, bothers people on social media. So I just posted, you know, three, four times a week with some high quality content that people can take away from. So that's the main way to try to help people, and then, you know, coaching on the side. But besides that, it's been pushing this book, and, you know, you know, having people come to me to learn about what they can do to help organise and structure their lives to have more breakthroughs and be more creative.
Tony Winyard 12:42
And when you talk about creativity, is this in any particular area of life or relating to a particular industry? Or is it just creativity in general?
Sid Chawla 12:56
That's actually a really good question. People often get confused with creative from work from home. But creativity is creativity, it doesn't, it doesn't have a preference. And simply by just being a little more creative, yes, you can be more successful by, you know, competition in your business. But you can also be successful in your personal life, for example, there might be situations where you can fix a problem or stove with a creative way. And there's many times we think, to ourselves, that how a solution to a problem was, you know, and we, for example, I guess, this is a metaphor I like to give, the person who created the tin can, was obviously a great innovation, and that helped with the armies and helping people, you know, continue to store food. But the creation of a tin can opener happened 100 years later. And it boggles my mind that before then for 100 years, people were taking these tin cans and smashing them on the floor with rocks or trying to open with knives and getting injured. But there was an easier way to do it. And that's what creativity comes down to a unique way to do something that's already done. creativity can even be just taking a new route to work, and you saved five minutes on your time, creativity can mean you know, wearing clothes in a different way that shows off your personality more in a way that you like, creativity can be starting the blog, he always wanted to start in my situation, I was reading the book and you know, in your situation, it was probably starting the podcast. So creativity can can it can manifest itself in many ways. It just so happens that people think about in the context of business, you know, we live in this innovate or die economy where, where people feel pressure to innovate. You know, it used to be publish or perish in the academic world. But people nowadays feel like they need to have a breakthrough to be good at their job, but you need to break through in every part of your life. It doesn't make sense to just be good at work but not good in other areas of your life.
Tony Winyard 14:55
And it's interesting because you say that people feel they can only be creative at work, but I think there's a number of people who when you talk about creativity, they immediately think of being a musician or a painter or something like that. And so they therefore say, I'm not creative because I don't paint or I don't play an instrument. And they don't realise that creativity is so much more than that.
Sid Chawla 15:19
Yeah, absolutely. I love you. I love you brought that up, Tony. Because one of the interesting things and I touch on this too, in the book is genius is expressed in many ways, Cristiano Ronaldo is a genius of football. Right? And, you know, that's one example. You know, people are genius, of course, in a traditional artistic ways, but Steve Jobs is a genius. And marketing's You know, there's many examples of geniusness you can be a genius Mom, you know, if you're a home worker, you can be a genius at the way to take care of kids and get them to sleep. You can be a genius doctor, there's, there's so many ways you can be a genius in life. It doesn't have to be just those people who we see on media, I guess, going back to our original point.
Sid Chawla 16:03
But geniusness expressed is in a way that's personal to you. And there's many ways to do it. But it comes down to creativity essentially, in the way you live, you know, your life and in a healthy manner and that sort of stuff.
Tony Winyard 16:18
So do you have a theory on why people have such a problem with creativity?
Sid Chawla 16:27
Well, I think there's many myths and false beliefs around innovation and genius ideas, right? First is this thin air myth that innovation just comes out of thin air? First of all, science has shown this is absolutely not true, right? innovation is just the same idea, but applied to different fields or tinkering, smaller tweaks to an existing idea in the same field. You know, for example, Uber, you know, the the car ride sharing company didn't invent the concept of a taxi or car service. But now Ubers were more than any car service in history. So if you look at the lightbulb, the steam engine, these are all just pre existing innovations that were built upon the shoulders of giants. You know, and I think another so I think, second reason why people have this, you know, this fear, or honestly, just idea that they can be created themselves is that everyone wants to hear 123 breakthrough, right? This like epiphany that happens right then and there. So just to be honest with you, Tony, there's not a 123 breakthrough sciences and say that you can just have an epiphany out of thin air, that doesn't happen. But here's steps, there are steps you can take to highly increase the chances of breakthroughs to set the conditions that can induce breakthroughs. And lastly, there's this. I think, in my opinion, there's this methodology that breakthroughs happen to only very special people. And I used to believe that for the long time, right, I would be in math class, and I would stare at the boy's head in front of me who got the highest grades in maths. And I would say how biggest his head compares into his brain, his thought, why he's so smart, you know, and I would always have these weird ideas in my head about creativity that, but of course, if you wait, his brain, and Einstein's brain in my brain, they all will weigh the same, it doesn't mean you're smarter or less smart. But breakthroughs that happen only very special people is another myth that they randomly come to them, and there's nothing you can do. It's just a domain of geniuses, and the rest of us just don't have it. Right. For example, Ilan Musk was sleeping on a park bench. And then one day he woke with idea of a Tesla. That's not how it happened. Everyone has the architecture, the brain architecture for geniusness, for breakthroughs for having creative ideas, is just understanding that they're, they're not accidental they're induced.
Tony Winyard 18:43
And so what you were saying just now about your whole way of thinking about creativity and trying to help people with that. Is that something that's been with you for a long time? Were you thinking like this, when you were at school? How did this all develop?
Sid Chawla 18:59
Yeah, and that I think this is where I wish I knew this stuff before, because I would always beat myself down. Because I think I brought this up in the beating when I was in school. I wasn't exactly I felt like I was different. I wasn't exactly the smartest or getting the best grades. And I guess back to my Einstein quote, If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, I'll believe it's being stupid. And that's back to your point, Tony, that you can be genius in soccer, you can be a genius and all these other fields in life, but just because you're not a genius, and you know, taking standardised testing doesn't mean so. So I for a long time believe that I just didn't have the creative gene college. I was just not wired for it, if you will, and I played piano and I was like, You know what, I can't I got this piano thing down, but I can't do anything else. So over and over again. I would compare myself to others and use it as excuse almost like, Oh, she got the best grades because she's a genius. Oh, she went to Harvard because she's a genius. I couldn't
Sid Chawla 20:00
possibly do that, Oh, she wrote a book because she's a genius. I couldn't do that, right. So I would have these narratives built in my head that allowed me to essentially use creativity and genius as an excuse, oh, I'm not built that way. It's not for me. That's why she got it. And it would force me almost to not work hard at it, and take the step back. So it's, it's a, it's a, I guess, what, once I start doing this research, it came down to me that there is actually more to it, you can be creative, you can be genius. And that's why I want to share this idea with everyone because it's not a fallacy that you have to be an Edison or afford. Innovation used to be for the privileged few, right? People who had, you know, we're standing on the shoulders of giants who are in this academic fields of science fields. But we're living in a time in history now, where technology has put so much power into the hands of individuals. I mean, for example, you and I were able to talk from countries away and create a podcast that you know, many of your listeners, we will to listen to all just through technology, and this wouldn't have been possible, it would have to actually take a boat to see you have the conversation in person, have someone record it. So since we essentially use the sense of potentially technology has taken up a lot of portions of our lives. Everyone now just expects Oh, if you're not having a paradigm shift, you're not a genius, but it's a little bit a little bit more deeper than that.
Tony Winyard 21:28
And something you were saying then when you were talking about other people who were really good at one thing, and someone else is good at another thing. I think that's another big problem with many people, when it comes to creativity is the constant comparisons, and always comparing themselves against other people who may be at a completely different stage of life, different experiences. And the only person you really should be comparing yourself to is how you were yesterday.
Sid Chawla 21:58
Absolutely. I mean, comparison is the thief of joy. I think Roosevelt said that. And I love that quote, because comparing yourself to other people is probably one of the worst things for, you know, not just your, your level of satisfaction, but your mental health. And I see them all the time with social media, you see, oh, they're doing they're on their Lamborghini on a yacht, and they're 12 years old, and they made $20 million already. And then you can't help but compare yourself to them. And yeah, unfortunately, that is that is a disease that a lot of us have. And it's only getting perpetuated further with social media and these type of things. But, uh, but I guess fortunately for creativity, it doesn't matter where you are in life, if you know you can have a breakthrough. One of my favourite stories is about Archimedes, you know, in the bathtub. And this shows up time, Archimedes wasn't exactly like a really famous and as you know, Archimedes is a really famous mathematician. But at the time, he was not exactly famous, he was just a random guy. So what happened was the king at the time, had a huge heavy crown, and he was wanting to learn how much it actually weighs. There is no way nonces or scales at that time. So he says, Hey, if anyone figures this out how to wedge measure and weigh in a regular object, I'll give them a free prize, I forgot what it was exactly. But Archimedes goes back home. And he's thinking about this for so deep and long. And he sits in the bathtub. And as he sits in the bathtub, he realises the water moves up while he sits down. And this is when we all have this Eureka, right? And we will have this image of Archimedes running naked through the streets, screaming Eureka. But essentially, what he figured out was that during his bath, that you can measure an irregular object by submerging in water. So breakthroughs tend to be a very concrete answer to very concrete problem. And that's, I guess, what it comes down to, I guess I forgot what was your initial question of the comparison to others? Right. But yeah, I guess we made a different circle. But yeah, when you compare yourself to others, it definitely it definitely can damage, you know, your levels of creativity and wanting to be you know, better than you actually are. Some people just want to throw in the towel. And some people want to shoot for the stars, you know, back to this whole quarantine situation. Some people want to be a couch potato, and some people want to take their life to the next level. So it comes down to who you are.
Tony Winyard 24:30
And also what you just said about Archimedes, there's something else about that I think people sometimes don't realise is that when they have an issue and they're trying to think of a solution and they're just tearing their hair out trying to think of a solution, which is the worst thing they can possibly do. Whereas if they just relaxed, go for a walk, have a shower or whatever, they're far more likely to come up with a solution because their brain is more receptive they're more relaxed, they're not stressing themselves out. But it's not, it's not realised enough, they don't think about it.
Sid Chawla 25:09
And what's interesting about what you just brought up is, um, and it's funny to hear about it, because you're explaining it, I can explain the science behind how you feel the way you feel in regards to that, and I'll get into that in a second. But what you basically explained is how the brain works in terms of creativity. And, essentially, neuroscientists are pretty clear, you know, what part of your brain is all sorts of human creativity, and that's called the default mode network, the dmn. And if any point it gets too technical, or sciency, just let me know, I'll explain it in a bit easier. But that area of your brain is called default, because it's always on. It's always processing in the back whenever you have these daydreams, or whenever you're sitting there and just thinking about, Oh, that smells really nice, but you're not consciously thinking about it. That's your default mode network. So what's interesting is that, that's usually not turned on, because we have another part of our brain called the executive mode. And consider this as like the CEO of the brain. This is the guy who, or girl or circle or anything that goes and actually makes the decision making, for example, your demon will be like, hey, I want to go to Bali tomorrow. And your executive mode will actually go to the spicejet, calm and book the tickets and actually get you there. The downside is that executive mode network is operational. It's like a manager, it handles your emotions, your reactions, your your decision making powers, but it's not creative. And that's what happens is that your dmn, can't be turned on the same time executive mode network is turned on, that's just not how your brain works. That's always one or the other. And since we are stuck with phones, and laptops, and phone calls and screens, our executive mode network is continuously on at all times. And we have this backlog of genius ideas sitting in our dmn that aren't able to come to the forefront, because our executive mode is always on go, go go. So technically, we all have the same architecture for breakthroughs. We're all born with it. But our brains pretty much just get out of shape. You know, for example, if you aren't getting a breakthrough, people just think how easy to think, Oh, I'm not creative, right. But that's like telling the couch potato to go do 10 push ups, when they can't even do one, they say I'm not wired for doing a push up? No, you just aren't wired for being a genius, right? That's what they say for the same thing. But you can actually practice to let your default mode network shine, and be creative and have breakthroughs if you're not in the flow of it. Yours, not yours out of shape, essentially for your brain. So and that's the interesting part you brought up. So that's why people always wonder why do I have genius ideas in the shower? Right? Why do I have his ideas in while taking a drive? It's because you're, you're you're doing a mindless, intentional, mindless task, your default mode network is on and your executive mode is off. When you're doing the dishes, your body your brain knows exactly what to do pick it up, clean edition, put in the in the rack, right? So your mind, executive mode network is distracted. So it's letting this backlog of genius ideas come to the forefront. And that's when you're like, Oh, that's why the light wasn't working today in my bedroom because of this thing. And I'll do this creative way to fix it.
Tony Winyard 28:21
Yeah. so when you talk about that, it makes me wonder then, do you in your book mention anything about meditation, helping in that process?
Sid Chawla 28:30
I have a chapter full on just meditation. And the reason why is because and meditation seriously, just meditate a lot and a lot and a lot. I don't know, Tony, are you much of a meditator?
Tony Winyard 28:44
Yeah, I have been for a few years.
Sid Chawla 28:46
And you've probably noticed how it's made you more present and and aware of situations in life. But absolutely focus focus on productivity. But where meditation comes into play for genius and creative ideas is not focused productivity, it's actually uncertainty. Because innovation by nature is uncertain. And people are often so scared or have fear holding them back, because they're not comfortable with uncertainty. But innovation by its very nature is uncertain. When you throw yourself into meditation, you're just alone with your own thoughts. It's it's practising being comfortable with uncertainty. You know, if I want to just pick up my phone and watch a YouTube video, I know what to expect I'll be distracted. But when you throw yourself into a void, and you have nothing to distract yourself with, but just the contents of your own mind, no pen, paper books, no gadgets, that's when you actually start getting comfortable with uncertainty. So and when you get absorbed into that and you're able to communicate with your brain on that level, then you will be able to go through the daily motions of life being comfortable with on certain ideas, being comfortable with trying something new, being comfortable with some people are so stuck in their ways that what one of the techniques I have in my book is Try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, right? Just by practising that just by doing something a little bit different. People are uncertain. Some people have pushed back and like, Oh, I don't know if I can do that. I'm like, Oh, I don't know if I want it. What's the point? people already giving excuses to something that haven't even tried yet? And what's the downside? You just brush with their other hand. So I think meditation, that's where it comes into play. geniusness it helps you get comfortable with uncertainty and tackle it through meditation.
Tony Winyard 28:57
What are your thoughts on why people are so scared and they think meditation won't work for them, and that it's a woowoo thing that doesn't really work?
Sid Chawla 30:43
Yeah, I think it's a, I think there's really two things holding people back. It's really the fear of failure, but not failure. But I guess fear of shame or fear of uncertainty. Once again, it's, I think those are the two big monsters that are holding people back. And I think meditation does have a an original Buddhist birthplace, Indian birthplace, it did originate when these in countries, so people automatically assume it's a religious or spiritual thing. And we live in a kind of a society where the worst spiritual automatically puts yours up and has people like turning around. And I mean, it's okay, I understand that everyone has their own viewpoints and stuff. But I have an understanding that you can't really shine something away. Unless you've tried it yourself in a way, you can't just automatically assume and inherently assume meditation is not meant for you. Just because you heard once again, something on the news. So what's interesting is that I know you're really into Greek words. So do you know where the word nostalgia actually comes from? The root of the word?
Tony Winyard 31:55
That's one I don't know.
Sid Chawla 31:56
So you may be interested to hear this. nostalgia is actually a twinge in your heart that reminds you of pain. It's actually the root of the word is a twinge that is relevant to pain. And that's what's interesting that nostalgia is sore, sometimes painful, sometimes nice, but it's literally twinge reminds you of pain. And what happens is uncertainty, actually registering the human mind as almost physical pain. So when we feel a tension gap, when the brain feels like it's not easy until it can get resolved, again, different parts of the amygdala light up, everyone has different comfort levels with uncertainty, but they all register is pain. But for example, let's say you're an entrepreneur, right, you have probably a different level of comfort to risks and uncertainty. Honestly, you probably take risks all the time, you actually don't care, right? That's why these people are often credited with innovations. If you're a scientist, you're in the business of failing and trying to do 1000 ways to make it right. That's why these people more creative musicians, they all they do is they take risks with chords and notes and making different musics. So I think that's what it comes down to. And meditation people are just once again, scared of the uncertain they don't know what the monsters hiding behind when they close their eyes, especially in a society where right now we need to be distracted by everything. I mean, some of the people I talked to, I give them this idea of doing mindless, intentional tasks, like how often do you watch a food? How often do you eat food without watching TV, and no one does that anymore. everyone watches TV or something while eating food, no one wants you to sit there and and eat food while appreciating and being grateful and practising that gratitude of that you have food on the table. And there's that's such a powerful exercise for someone to go through. But instead, they have a freshly cooked meal that, you know, some people can't even afford, and they're just turning on the TV to distract them from it. So I guess I could get really detailed into this. But I guess, I guess in the end meditation and the awareness of what your brain and body are going through, really speeds that creativity up. And it's in and you're essentially saving your capacity for handling for uncertainty for moments where really matters.
Tony Winyard 34:07
And as you were saying that it reminded me about a quote I saw, which I've just gone and dug it out about meditation. Because I think another problem some people have with meditation, is they think that they're doing it wrong. And they worry that it doesn't work for me. they just keep having all these thoughts. And I'll just read this quote about that. From Herbert Benson, one of the world's leading researchers on the scientific benefits of meditation, puts it in The Relaxation Revolution. Here is a typical simple response that I give to such performance, focus anxiety. Don't worry about how well you're doing. Don't worry about whether the relaxation response is really working or whether your mental picture is maximising your health benefit. Just do it. I also frequently use the analogy of brushing your teeth. Most of us are concerned to one extent or another with dental hygiene. But we don't dwell on the tooth cleaning process, we just work away with that brush every day. Almost no one evaluates the brushing to say, that was a good brush, or too bad that was a bad brush, we simply do it. Similarly, if you're taking a pill your doctor prescribed for your cholesterol or blood pressure, you probably don't wonder, am I putting this pill in the proper side of my mouth am I swallowing it correctly? And again, you just do it. And that should be your approach to mind body treatments. Do you judge your toothbrushing? No, you just do it. Let's just brush our brains. And he talks about meditating as brushing your brain, clearing away all the debris in from your brain.
Sid Chawla 35:42
I love that. I love that so much. And I think it's really funny about the brushing thing I recently, I guess I'm a millennial, right? So I want to research everything. And I needed a new brush when I moved back to DC for a bit. And I went through this whole rabbit hole of like, This brush is better than that toothbrush. And that should brush and I'm going through comparisons, I started reaching blogs that have only like, you know, 20 views on them. And I was so deep into it. But it gets back to your point. No one's ever like, oh, why did you get so many cavities? Oh, you know what, I bought the wrong toothbrush. That's why, like, that's never the situation. For me, it's almost the reason I meditate is in a sense to fall in love with myself, and in a way that you're taking care of not just your body, but your mind and your spirit as well. And, and that's one of the reasons why I like to meditate because it just makes your makes your mind relaxed and let your body do whatever you know, it allows you to I guess, have a mental check in with yourself. And I always joke around with people that, you know, meditation is the ultimate mobile device, you can use it anywhere, anytime, and you can just sit on the subway meditate, you can sit at home and meditate you can be in the shower meditate is not something that you actually have to schedule time and make a huge environment for and then play the sounds and the music, you can just meditate while you're just waiting in line in the elevator.
Tony Winyard 36:54
You van even do it for just one minute?
Sid Chawla 37:12
And one thing I really do when I when I coach clients is I actually the first thing I do is I recommend them to have three reminders in their day, as soon appears throughout the day, where they just take one minute of a mental check one minute, have a pause in their day. And everyone can sacrifice three minutes of their day, right? So one night, you just say around breakfast, lunch dinner, just have one minute, where you just sit there and your alarm and your phone goes off and you just do nothing for one minute. And you will start to see how powerful that is. Because oftentimes the reason we suffer is because we are disconnected with ourselves. And meditation helps establish that connection.
Tony Winyard 37:47
Absolutely. So is the book aimed at any particular section of society, or is it generally for anyone.
Sid Chawla 38:00
I guess the purpose of the book is to talk to people who went through something similar, like me who feel that they're just not creative. They're not genius, or being creative is reserved for the certain few. It's essentially meant to be just a layman's textbook to anyone who wants to be a little bit more creative in life. And that can be of course, in a competitive competition environment within business and entrepreneurship. But it can also be for someone who is just trying to go to college or high school and be a little bit more creative in what they do. Essentially, it's going into the science behind creativity. But in a way where you can actually be the smartest person in the room. It's not just the science that's that's what I guess a lot of the books are there on the market and which is why I was so confused how this wasn't even written how there was no one talking about any of this. So I guess it comes down to like exact steps for creativity, like things like that these aren't words you hear, or exactly how to create breakthroughs, or I guess even just small things, like you know, what is holding us back from being more creative. It was interesting when you brought a meditation is I brought up a lot of like lifestyle of how to be a genius, you know, and, um, you know, eating and nutrition like that impacts our brain. You know, our brain is obsessed with fat and glucose and what are the two things that dieticians puts you on? no fat and no sugars. So people wonder why they become sad when they become skinny sometimes, right? And, you know, the link between creativity and exercise, having sleep like there's so much that goes into, I guess went into this book to not just be a genius, but just be smart over intellect. I have a chapter you know, like how to be smart in everyday life. And energy, which I believe is definitely more important than intellect at this point, you know, like, you can be the smartest person in the room, but if you don't get out of bed, who cares? So, there's energy and, you know people suck energy out of you. And by the time you get home, you know, you don't have anything to be you have all these. Let's say your dmn is like fully functioning, you're washing the dishes or whatever. You just have no energy To do anything, you just want to actually turn on the TV and be distracted.
Tony Winyard 40:06
Well, if people want to find out more about you and I presume the book is on Amazon? but if people want to find out more about you, and maybe your website and social media, and so on, where would they go.
Sid Chawla 40:20
So I run a pretty active blog, I post one to two times a week on content related to personal development, self growth, this sort of stuff. It's at www.SidChawla.com. And on it, you can also see my resources for the course I talked about earlier coaching, that sort of stuff. One of the big things I've been doing is posting a lot more life hacks and content on social media. So you can find me on Instagram and Facebook. At and here's the here's the target @SidSunRiser.
Sid Chawla 40:48
It's funny because Sid Chawla was taken, and I messaged that guy like 10, 15 times. And he never got back to me. So I had to get a little creative with that, right. But I've been doing this whole sunrising thing. So Sid Sun Riser. And that's where you can find me. And I guess I did want to leave your audience with like, I guess like some actionable advice, like I said in the beginning for how they can go Be creative today. And one of the and I wanted and I came up with a list here. And it's a list of three, four things. But one of the things is to actually create a ritual. Like if you look at most genius, and artists and writers and innovators who are just wildly creative, so many of them and taking their entire day from breakfast till brushing their teeth at night and dropped it into a redundant routine that never ever varies. You know, people are obsessed by morning routines and evening routines, that sort of stuff. But what is loading this certainty bucket is for them to have a completely blank page then for everything else they can go for. And as science we know, like wolf hours of willpower is a finite resource. So you should save it for what's important, right. That's why a lot of these famous people like Jay Z and Tom Hanks never take meetings after 6pm because they know that's reserved for the creative moments. The one is to create a ritual and a morning routine, evening routine, these sort of stuff, just to automatize your day. So you can actually focus throughout the day, what's important. The second thing, I believe can help anyone is living a choice minimum lifestyle. People call this minimalist or things like that. But we know the famous examples of Steve Jobs wearing the same turtleneck every single day or Mark Zuckerberg wearing the same outfit. So by reducing the choice and every possible thing, that is not an important choice, you can get to use your full brain capacity for all the areas where you want to be able to. It's really Paradox of Choice that harms innovation as well. For example, if you if you're like taking a typical day, like you go to Starbucks, and you choosing Okay, what is on the menu do I get then you come home and you take a shower, okay, which soap do I use? Okay, then what do I wear for work? And then you go to work, okay, I'm going to go to the breakfast line, oh, what do I want for breakfast, by the time your brain actually sits down at the desk to do work, you've made six different choices that your brain is fired up for? And now it's not. No, you know, instead of just deciding what 20 brands of Starbucks to choose from, you're not gonna have that much available when you try to find that genius idea and solve that, you know, problem that's bothering you at work. So in as many ways possible, just minimise the choices you have to make on a daily basis. And the third is actually a fun one. And I wanted to give some fun ones as well, because getting self development is not supposed to just be busy, busy work, but play more poker, if that's what you're into, or if some video games, because poker is a fantastic way to get uncomfortable with uncertainty and a different way. You know, you're looking instead of looking at things in black and white, versus will it succeed? Or will it fail, you look at things probabilistically, which is honestly the right way to go about it. No. So when you're deciding between two options, whether you're realising or not, you're assigning a probability of success. And that's a poker helps. So you're increasing your comfort level once again, for uncertainty. And you're saving your compacity in the first step for on handling for handling uncertain moments when it really matters. Fourth, we already touched on is meditation and like seriously, meditate a lot. It helps every aspect of your life, if not anything, it gives you overall just a calm, well sense of being. And I think that in itself is just a just an amazing way. But even if you meditate, five minutes for a day, five minutes is walking into complete uncertainty will give you anything, that internal experience you go through will just be monumental. And another thing I'd like to add is, you know, because we talked about this to a lot of people aren't comfortable meditation. journaling is an incredible exercise. It's having a conversation with yourself. So I would incorporate journaling into any activities you can some of the greats have always kept journals. And then lastly, is this intentional, mindless task. So back to that science part. We both we need both parts of the brain, right? We need both modes and both networks. We need the full mode and executive mode. But the problem is that the dmn has a huge backlog of ideas right now and it never gets a chance to speak up because your executive mode is always running to work the show no
Sid Chawla 45:00
When do you give it the spotlight is when your exact mode is just too distracted, just enough to keep it busy. So doing a repetative mindless tasks such as you know, washing in the shower, or going through a drive or you know, taking the dog on a walk or cleaning dishes. But the trick is to actually think about the problem you're having right before the mindless task. So you have a problem at work, think about it, then go in the shower. If you're having an issue with you know, for example, your book you're writing, think about it thing, go, you know, and go on a long drive. So think about the issue at hand, have that moment, and then go do that mindless task. And you'll be amazed by the kind of ideas that pop up because your brain once again, everyone's hardwired for genius and creative breakthroughs. It's just done with the distractions in life. And no one's really talking about this stuff. People just either say, Hey, I'm not creative, or I am. But uh, yeah, I hope I hope that helps a lot more, as you know, I don't want to go over time or anything. But is there any Any other questions? You know, you hold on? I mean, if there's some great tips there, and I'd urge people to go and find the book. What was it to repeat the title of the book again? Yep. It's spark your inner genius and expand your creativity to become the smartest person in the room. You can find it just typing spark your inner genius and Amazon or you can type Sid Chawla in Amazon as well. It should pop up.
Tony Winyard 46:21
And before we finish it, do you apart from your own book? Is there a book that you would recommend to people?
Sid Chawla 46:29
Let me think for a second here. Like you, Tony, I'd love to just read as much as I can. I've been trying to get into the habit of reading more. I know you consume, I think two to three books a day a week. That sounds amazing. If I get through one book a week, I'm pretty happy. But I think one of my favourite books that I recently read was probably the 5am Club by Robin Sharma. And the reason why I found that so interesting that and The Art of Possibility, I think those two books are really going to set anyone on the path for personal development. And I like the way they were personally written. The Art of possibility. I think it was by Benjamin Zander. And his book is all about understanding the possibilities that exist in life and understanding the ways you can communicate to people to get the most out of, you know what you want life and having that, you know, that effective mindset. And the 5am Club is a phenomenal book is actually written like a storybook is kind of like the alchemist, if you've read that. It's a storybook that kind of takes you through this journey where you learn about life. And also being part of the 5am Club. That's what kind of motivated me and sparked my interest in becoming an early riser when I I thought I would never beat that person. And now I do it every day. So those two books would be a good asset in anyone's collection.
Tony Winyard 47:51
And and finally Sid is there a quote, well I think is probably one you've already mentioned, but is there a quotation that you really like?
Sid Chawla 48:00
Yep. And I have the perfect quote is by Michelangelo, some of you have heard of him. He was a great artist. "But if you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius." That is what he said after he painted the Sistine Chapel. So it's always comes down to a couple of things in life and hard work is one of them. So I always like the constant reminder.
Tony Winyard 48:27
Well Sid, I really appreciate your time and thank you for coming on the show and giving the audience so many ways to think about creativity and and also some action tips on how they can go about developing more in themselves.
Sid Chawla 48:41
Absolutely, Tony. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm really happy. I hope I provided some value to your audience. You know, that's always my goal in all these things. So, you know, best of luck, take care, you know, happy hand washing to everyone. And, you know, hopefully, we can do this again soon.
Tony Winyard 48:57
Tony Winyard 49:02
Next week we reach Episode 10. We have Caroline Sherlock, who is a Functional Medicine Practitioner, if you're not sure what Functional Medicine is, it's a system biology based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease, rather than just simply looking at the symptoms because when you go and see a GP, often they don't have enough time to really find out what is the cause of the problems that you're going to see them about. So functional medicine is looking at things much more holistically, they're able to devote much more time to whatever it is that is bothering you. So Caroline Sherlock is a functional medicine practitioner. We talk about many different areas, about antibiotics about COVID, vitamin D ,codls and many other areas as well. So that's next week's episode. Caroline Sherlock, hopefully you enjoyed this week's show. If you know anyone who maybe has issues with creativity, why not share the episode with them to get the benefit of some of Sids suggestions, and it would be great if you could leave a review for us so more more people get to find out about this podcast. And why not subscribe while you're on the apple site at the same time, hope you enjoyed this week's show and hope you have a great week.
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