Three skills to support you through life.

Cultivating curiosity, creativity, and perseverance will see you through almost any challenging situation and enhance your life.

Take a few minutes now to answer the following questions.

When was the last time you felt curious about something? 

When was the last time you acted or thought creatively?

When was the last time you figured out a new way to do something or solved a problem?

When was the last time you stuck with an odious task and finished it?

The more you incorporate curiosity, creativity, and perseverance into your life, the more vibrant and confident you will feel.

What if these three qualities do not come to you easily?

If they don’t naturally come to you, cultivate them. You have been learning your whole life. Whether it was riding a bicycle, learning to read, or figuring out your new phone, you persevered enough to get the job done. You overcame your initial fear and self-doubt. In each situation, you were curious enough to want to see the results. And, consciously or unconsciously, you creatively dealt with little setbacks and frustrations along the way.

If you think of yourself as someone who procrastinates, developing perseverance may seem like an overwhelming, even impossible, goal. It isn’t. Two of the best tactics to combat procrastination are the five-minute rule and the Pomodoro technique.

The five-minute rule asks you to do the unappealing task for five minutes. If after five minutes, you don’t feel like continuing, stop. If you can do another five minutes, do another five minutes. Keep on like that until you’re ready to stop. The hardest thing about getting going is getting going. Paradoxically, once you engage in something, it’s hard to stop.

The Pomodoro technique consists of a similar template of five steps:

  1. Identify a task or tasks that you need to complete.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on a task with no distractions.
  4. When the alarm sounds, take a five-minute break.
  5. Repeat the process three more times.
  6. Take a longer 30-minute break and start again.

I find the five-minute rule is excellent for most tasks, while the Pomodoro technique is particularly suited to work situations. 

You may not think you’re creative, but someone else looking at your day, could easily point out many instances when you dealt with something in a new way. Maybe you dressed slightly differently, tried a new jam on your peanut butter sandwich, solved a problem, or threw together some leftovers to make a delicious dinner. Without creativity you would barely be able to function. Do you take your creativity for granted or do you celebrate it?

How could there be creativity without curiosity? Whether you are wondering which colors go well together, which food combinations might taste delicious, which route to work is more pleasant, or which way to respond in a conversation, a part of you had to be curious to imagine doing anything differently.

If we weren’t all innately curious and creative, we would never have evolved over thousands of years and developed myriad ways to enhance life, whether with tools, devices, art forms, or skills.

The most primitive societies of hunters and gatherers had these three skills. Without them, they would not have survived. If anything, they have been even more deeply ingrained over the intervening millennia.

The goal is to start noticing these traits in yourself. Undoubtedly, you possess all three, but, don’t give yourself credit when you act creatively, or persevere when unmotivated.

It’s helpful to notice the positive ways you manage your life. While the brain’s innate negativity bias is protective, it will never celebrate your strengths, as it is always looking for what’s threatening or wrong. Focusing on everything you do to enhance and manage your life takes conscious effort.

Appreciating these three specific areas in yourself helps you notice and value your ever-evolving ability to create the life you want.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.