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What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

Charlie Chaplin’s brand of creativity is stunning. His career began when he was only 14.  His career lasted for well over seven decades. He became beloved in American theaters for his portrayal of “The Little Tramp.” Chaplin was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1971. Of his award the Academy noted, “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”. He was given an unprecedented 12 minute standing ovation. Sir Charles “Charlie” Spencer Chaplin died of a stroke, at the age of 88 in his adopted home in Switzerland on December 25, 1977.

Laughter

A day without laughter is a day wasted. -Chaplin

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    Chaplin built his career around making people laugh. To him it was a serious business, indeed. Making boots out of a pair of loaves with forks for legs, is only a scratch on the surface. He made millions laugh with almost all of his work. My lesson learned is to not take myself so seriously.

    Carry On

    Nothing is permanent in this wicked world not even our troubles~Chaplin

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      Chaplin certainly had his fair share of difficulties. One such problem was in the 1940’s he was accused of impregnating Ms. Joan Barry. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI got involved accusing Chaplin of violating federal laws. The FBI involvement would later lead to banning Chaplin from the United States. My lesson learned is to keep going despite indifference, and even when I feel discouraged with my work.

      Stand Up For What You Believe In

      Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great brutish idiot that goes where prodded~Chaplin

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        The Great Dictator was a 1940’s film that mocked Hitler and his ‘glorious’ Third Reich. It was in this film that fans first heard Chaplin speak. While the movie was commercially successful, it garnered a great deal of negative attention.This was due largely to the fact that Chaplin used six minutes in the film to express his political views. My lesson learned is to be passionate about my work, despite criticism.

        Don’t Give Up

        Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind to indifference.~Chaplin

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          From his famous portrayal as the “Little Tramp” to his controversial political views; Chaplin’s entire career could be defined by the words to never give up. My lesson learned is to have the same dedication in my creative career.

          Work With What You’ve Got

          All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.~Chaplin

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            Chaplin

            managed to be hilarious in the simplest of ways. He could make millions laugh at almost any predicament, he as the tramp found himself in. The chase sequences are nothing short of brilliant and funny.  My lesson learned is to use the skills and talents I already have in my creative career.

            Tell Your Truth

            I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth.~Chaplin

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              Charlie Chaplin

              could be, if nothing else, brutally honest. His aim was to make money and that is exactly what he did with his art. However, no one can say or even intimate that Chaplin did not work hard for his fame and fortune. He continued to work on films up to the age of 87, about a year before his death. My lesson learned here is that, creativity can lead to money, but it doesn’t always.

              Know What You Want

              I don’t believe that the public knows what it wants; this is the conclusion that I have drawn from my career.~Chaplin

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                In being a creative mastermind, Chaplin did not so much live a charmed existence, in so much as he created the very world he wanted to inhabit. Charlie Chaplin did not only invite criticism about his work, but about his personal life as well. He was married four times and often to women who were half his age. A behavior that was scandalous to say the least especially in the budding of Hollywood, in the early twentieth century.  The lesson for me here is to consider what I want from my creative work.

                Know Your Passion

                What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.~Chaplin

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                  Of all the work that Chaplin did, perhaps his work with Jackie Coogan, in The Kid is one of his most memorable works. It combines drama and comedy into a spell-binding account between an orphaned child and Chaplin’s ‘Tramp‘. To me this  means to ‘do what you love’, to your fullest ability.

                  Give Your All

                  I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.~Chaplin

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                    In every performance, whether writer, director, producer, and/or the star of the show, Chaplin gave his all to his work. Simply nothing less would do. To me the lesson learned here is that creativity must be a part of who you are as a person.

                    Know Your Art

                    I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician~Chaplin

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                      If nothing else, arrogant perhaps, Charlie Chaplin knew his art very well. For 75 years, Chaplin gave his all to every aspect of the film-making business. To me this means to know my art as well as Sir Chaplin did his own.

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                      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                      Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

                      Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

                      How do you usually go about your day?

                      Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

                      We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

                      To me, that seems…off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

                      Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

                      With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

                      So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

                      Work Life Harmony Explained

                      The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple.With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

                      Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

                      Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

                      Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

                      He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

                      He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

                      As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

                      Rethink Time Management

                      Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives?Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

                      This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

                      With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

                      Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

                      As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

                      In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

                      When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

                      Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

                      Have Passion for What You Do

                      Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life.One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

                      For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

                      So have a think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

                      Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

                      Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

                      When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

                      Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

                      Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

                      If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

                      Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

                      Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

                      Delegate When You Need To

                      Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

                      If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

                      At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

                      While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

                      Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

                      If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

                      Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

                      Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be.Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

                      It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

                      These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

                      Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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