How To Guide Your Creative Life With A Simple “More Or Less” List

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image: dancoachcreative

What’s your experience with the concept of goals?

I believe goal setting can have a great value in our lives, and help us map out the landmarks along the way that we want to achieve and pass through. They can highly motivate us into action and towards a specific destination.

But…

I also believe life is more than a series of isolated destinations.

What about all the tiny steps of the journey, all the experiences in between?

For example, if you were going to embark on a three month exploration of Europe, how might you best and most fully enjoy the experience?

Would it be to fly from one major city to another, staying in luxury hotels where everything is provided and the local culture is always at arm’s length beyond the tastefully decorated walls of wherever you stay?

To have each step, each night, each meal, perfectly planned out before you even began?

Or would it be better to travel by train, tram, bus, boat and taxi, staying in a variety of smaller destinations along the way – small hotels and family homes run by local people, in the cultural heart of their regions?

To have an outline plan of where you were heading, but be willing to make a few diversions and enjoy a few spontaneous experiences as and when they arise?

It’s obvious which trip would be most fun, most rewarding, and most like actually living amongst the vast richness of each different culture.

In my life recently, though much is unfolding very pleasingly, I noticed I was drifting off track in some areas, and feeling a little anxiety and frustration settling in.

What I decided to do, was something I’ve often done in a more discrete and invisible way in the past, and that has always seemed to work. This time – in keeping with the general trend of my own life and evolution in recent times – I wanted to make it simpler.

So I wrote a list.

Two lists in fact, but together as two columns on a single page. I called it my “More or Less List”.

At the top of the first column I wrote “More”. Beneath that I jotted down all the things I’d like to do and have more of in my life. (I hope I’m not losing you with the complex sophistication of this method…)

These weren’t vague, ephemeral single words like “Time”, “Money”, “Happiness”.

I chose more descriptive, more meaningful phrases, like “Reading books”, “Writing by hand, in notebooks”, and “Getting lost in the woods”.

It also included things related specifically related to my health, like “Fresh air”, “Fruit and vegetables” and “Laying down”, but I wasn’t making any separate columns or distinctions, it all just went under one heading – “More”.

When I’d written all that came to me (and it was a surprising amount that tumbled out very easily – we always know what we need, if we take the time and space to listen), I started the second column.

Yes, this was headed “Less”.

My Less side included “Computer time”, “Sitting”, “Pressure to do everything”, “Expectation”, and “Cake and chocolate”.

You might notice how some of these are the mirror opposite of items in the “More” column.

“Reading books” and “Writing by hand, in notebooks” for me are direct replacements for the equivalent reading and writing I do on my laptop.

“Laying down” is preferable to “Sitting”, “Fruit and vegetables” need to increase in my diet instead of “Cake and chocolate”.

These opposites came naturally – I didn’t agonise over finding an exact opposite for each “More” – and it’s an excellent way to compose the list.

In writing this list, think fluid, organic and instinctive, rather than analytical and perfect.

It’s far easier to replace a habit than to break one completely, so by starting with the “More” list, it gives us the good feeling and associations of what we’re moving towards, things we want to be prominent in our lives.

It works more effectively (and in a more lasting way) than overwhelming ourselves with a whole host of “bad” things we do, and wondering how we will ever give them up.

This is also a gentle, guiding list. Another key to why it works.

I’m not writing at the top: “Things I must do at least an additional two hours of every day without fail if I want to be a success” and “Things that are evil and that I must completely ban from my life immediately”.

I’m just writing “More” and “Less”.

It shows me a direction, things I want to move towards, but more than that it shows how I want to make that journey, step by step, day to day.

It gives me a guide to the kind of traveller I want to be, and the landscapes I want to explore, rather than list a series of set destinations with no regard to how I get there.

Remember our European exploration? The journey and the experiences along the route – again, the way we travel – are more important than hitting certain destinations at certain times.

Try this “More or Less List” for yourself.

Especially if you’ve been feeling like your creative life has been a little lacking or drifting from how you’d like it to be lately.

Doing it just once is greatly beneficial.

But going back and rereading the list every day is even more valuable. It keeps those important “Mores” at the forefront of our minds, so they gradually, yet insistently, influence our day to day lives, actions and choices.

As we touched upon before, we always know deep down what’s working for us, and what isn’t. We know what we need more of, and what we need less of.

The reason we sometimes (maybe often) feel we don’t know, and feel that our lives are floundering, even out of control, are when we’re not giving ourselves time and space to stop and listen to that inner knowing.

Using a simple “More or Less List” is a great way to give yourself that time and space, and get you back on track with what matters, what’s good for you, what you truly enjoy.

Try it today, and let me know what comes up for you?

 

Join the conversation to let us know what’s on your “More Or Less List”.

 

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