Now & Then — Habits
Let me quote: Writing is formalised thinking. -Jordan Peterson
This morning I watched Dr Pavan talking about the Seven Habits of Creative People on Youtube. That reminds me and made me think about the book 7 Habits of Effective People. What is the common denominator between the two is the keyword HABIT. What I am doing now is to inculcate the writing habit by writing three pages every day. Write whatever comes to my mind first thing in the morning. Do not plan what to write tomorrow. I want to enjoy the fun of the unexpected and randomness in my thinking!
Habit is what we do every day or regularly without any outside interference, interventions or constraints. It is the thing we do of our own free will. As mentioned by Dr Povan, we must take our hobbies seriously. One of my few hobbies is photography. I take photos almost every day with my smartphone. Why did I do it? I love to capture beautiful things, scenery, people and actions/moments. If the photos are good, I will share them on my Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Twitter. I also blog about my photos at two photo blogs-general subjects and street photography. By taking my hobby seriously, I began to learn more about photography and its related subject matters. Not only did I learn more but I also enjoy myself more with more friends I made along the way. Now, my photography has elevated itself to a higher level where the advertising agency bought my photos to be used in newspaper advertisements and I sold a few photos via EyeEm.com and Getty Images. These purchases boosted my confidence but I realised that my photos are yet professional. I need a lot of work to improve my photography before I go professional. In order to understand the photography business better, I made a business plan to sell photo prints or photo frames online. In the last two months, I did some promotions of my printed photos on my Instagram. So far, I have no sales yet.
On my Facebook, I also created a very successful photo group with more than 300 members. We upload and share photos on average about 20 photos every day. Every week, I choose the theme of the week. Every two or three months, I also organise a Photowalk in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur so that we can go out together and learn from one another.
Another aspect of being creative is having an experimental mindset. There is no need to have a high IQ or be a member of MENSA. Anyone with an IQ above 110 is good enough. More than ten years ago, I did a MENSA test but was not qualified to be a member. Its IQ cut off point is at 146. Mine is 130. Thank God I am above average. To be creative, we need good attitudes and good habits.
My wife has developed a morning habit of reading the Quran every day after her fajr prayer since 20 years ago. Similarly, after my Haj in 2003, I also developed a habit of going to pray maghrib and sub oh at the Surau Taman Maluri almost every day. The habit continued when I moved to Bandar Baru Bangi in 2009. However, the good habit stopped when I got sick with knee problems- osteoarthritis in 2017. It was very difficult and painful for me to prostrate and kneel during my prayer. So, I pray at home except for Friday prayers where I pray at the mosque on the chair. My knee problems recovered in 2019 but Covid-19 MCO stopped me from doing my prayer at the masjid! Hopefully, with the coming Ramadan on 13/4/2021, we are allowed to pray again in the masjid. InsyaAllah. Habits -good or bad take some time to develop but once disturb, one has to restart. Men are creatures of habit. Watch our habits- keep the good ones and throw away the bad. May I recommend you to read Atomic Habits- a great book by James Clear If you follow his advice, the habits will change you.
One of my other good habits is that I promote my friends to do personal journals, to walk more and to take up cycling. I love to promote things I benefit from a lot so that my friends and others can reap the same benefits in taking part in the activities. Journals are writing notes on matters that are important to our lives. It is not a diary. It is quite therapeutic and good for mental health and let’s ponder on what we have done with our lives, our worries and regrets and also what we have not done and what we look forward to in the future. I started doing this in 2006 when I discovered the Moleskine notebook. On walking and cycling, I will write on another day.