Creativity and Personal Mastery
Course Outline Prof. Srikumar S. Rao
Background: For many years I taught a course called "Creativity and Personal Mastery" at Columbia Business School. It was designed to help MBA students discover their passion and show them how to live deeply fulfilling lives. Word got around and soon students from Law, International and Public Affairs, Journalism and other schools were applying in droves. It was always heavily oversubscribed. Then I started hearing from alumni and from persons unaffiliated with the university. They wanted to know if the course was offered elsewhere or if they could ‘sit in’ on classes. The course migrated to London Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.
I now offer it privately in New York, London and San Francisco and executives with many years of experience as well as entrepreneurs and driven, successful people are drawn to it. Other cities may join this list soon. Stay tuned!
What it is all about: The thesis of this program is simple. Life is short. And uncertain. It is like a drop of water skittering around on a lotus leaf. You never know when it will drop off the edge and disappear. So each day is far too precious to waste. And each day that you are not radiantly alive and brimming with cheer is a day wasted.
Stop right now and evaluate your life. YOUR LIFE. As it is right now. Are you, by and large and daily variations aside, happier now than you have ever been? Do you have the inner conviction that you are on the path that is just right for you, the one that is transparently leading you to fulfillment in many dimensions – in your career, in relationships, in spiritual development?
If the answer is, NO, ask yourself WHY NOT? The first step to getting there is to refuse to accept anything less.
This program is designed to be that first step for you.
What are the benefits?: Innumerable participants have attested to the life-changing nature of this approach. To hear from them in their own words go to my website http://areyoureadytosucceed.com/testimonials.asp
Be aware that while practically everyone has benefited to some extent, not everyone has had similar epiphanies. Later sections of the syllabus address this in greater detail.
I expect this program to have a profound impact on your life. It will have such an impact if you are ‘ready’ and totally dedicate yourself to it. Do not apply to take this program before you have read the entire syllabus.
Is this right for me?: This is a tough one. Only you can answer it. The proviso in the previous section was not added as a clever mechanism to get me off the hook for over promising. It just happens to be the way it is. The program can indeed turn your life around in myriad, marvelous ways, but only if you are ‘ready’ and if you put in the effort, enormous effort. There is no substitute for sweat of the brow, buckets and rivers of it.
Here is a good heuristic for judging if you are ‘ready’. Read the entire syllabus carefully. If you are not so strongly drawn to it that you would disrupt your life considerably to take this program, don’t take it. This topic is also dealt with in greater detail later.
Objectives: The program has four principal objectives:
1) To expose you to a wide variety of techniques and exercises that have been found to be helpful in sparking the creative process; to help you select those that best fit your personality and apply them to many different business and personal situations.
2) To help you discover your "purpose in life", the grand design that gives meaning to all of your activities; to help you find that to which you can enthusiastically devote the rest of your life. When you are moved by deep inner conviction is when you have the greatest opportunity to sway others, in short to become a “leader”.
3) To show you how you can mobilize resources to reach your goals most efficiently. There is a non-linear relationship between "work" and "results". Immense exertion can produce little outcome and, at other times, a little effort can yield a huge payoff. If you have an open mind you can learn to create serendipitous opportunities.
4) To enable you to find and achieve the balance in life that is right for you. Stress levels are rising in our society across all ages and occupations. It little profits you to achieve any goal if you are a nervous wreck during or after. There are always tradeoffs between accomplishments and price paid but they are not necessarily obvious. It is important to learn how to strive mightily while remaining serene.
Class Retreat, February 2007
Photo courtesy of Bess Kargman