“The first hour is the rudder of the day – The Golden Hour”
— Henry Ward Beecher
The other day I was talking to my friend Massimo about the number of ways we fell off the wagon this summer. Of course we had the best excuses; travel, a guest from out of the country, friends with whom we are mutual bad influences, sunny days, Tuesdays, Wednesdays… well, you get the drift. Now that summer is drawing to a close and I’m back in my fat pants it’s time to think about how we can inspire ourselves to be better human beings (and more creative too). With that in mind, it’s important to consider how we start our days. I like to consider how my morning rituals address body, mind and spirit resulting in enhanced creativity.
Getting to the gym early is a great way to jumpstart your morning (there may actually be a lame pun buried in there). If we don’t go there first thing it’s not likely to happen and a half hour or more doing cardio mixed with some strength training is perfect for raising your metabolism. Once you’re in the routine it becomes addictive; you’ll be finished before you’re awake. Also, morning gym people are nicer 🙂
Former Pepsi CEO Steve Reinemund and Starbucks president Michelle Gass both start their days with an early morning run and attribute their success in part to this invigorating routine.
Going for a walk in nature is restorative and inspiring and can be another great way to get some fresh air and exercise. We are lucky and live close to several trails. These are great for mulling over ideas and doing some high level brainstorming. Some of our best projects have been born on the Fort to Fort trail. Take a sketchbook with you to record those gems.
This is, of course followed by a nice refreshing shower. What is it about washing my hair that brings all those ideas into focus? Is it the running water or the massaging of the scalp? Who cares so long as it works?
Morning reading – with a cup of coffee – is an important ritual at our place. Somehow this seems like the best time to ingest some new concepts. Whether for art making or business, reading about someone else’s recipes for success can give you a lot of aha moments (especially when fuelled with caffeine.)
Scheduling creative time in the early hours can be especially rewarding. You are taking advantage of your peak mental time and are likely to synthesize more original ideas at this time of the day than any other. This also gets your subconscious working on them for the rest of the day – often an innovative solution will present itself.
“Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening”
What better way to get centred than by doing some morning meditation? We have several great guided meditation CDs that we use for this.
Another idea is to keep a gratitude journal as I have been doing for several decades now. I find that it’s an ideal way to stay positive and keep my energy pure. Essentially, you write out one to three things that you are grateful for each day. This keeps you focussed on the ways that your life is working.
“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being”
—James E. Faust
Steve Jobs often spent the early part of his day reflecting on his overall life and work direction. In his speech to a graduating class at Stanford, Jobs said, “For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
By intentionally setting out to take control of our day and bolstering these cornerstones of creativity we put ourselves in the best possible place to create. Some of the above examples come from http://morning-routine.com/famous-and-successful-people-with-morning-routines/ . You can read several others there as well.
By the way, for those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to see it, here is our video of the amazing Stitched Up textile art exhibition I had the great fortune to participate in. The venue was perfect; it was at the Lock Up in Newcastle, Australia. It featured 24 textile artists, you can learn more about it by watching the video.