Uncommon Wisdom: Kosta Karakashyan
“Uncommon Wisdom” is about sharing those habits or stories that we wouldn’t normally think to share. There’s so much talk about morning routines and self-care practices these days but a lot of it can seem kind of superficial or maybe just predictable and repetitive. This is why we asked a bunch of high-performing creatives and entrepreneurs a few questions about awareness, energy, and productivity. We wanted to learn something a bit more unexpected, and here’s what we found out.
Who is Kosta Karakashyan?
Kosta Karakashyan is a Bulgarian director, choreographer, writer, and performer investigating how to nurture empathy and tenderness through dance, film, and education. A two-time Bulgarian National Ballroom Champion, Kosta has performed and choreographed on Dancing with the Stars Vietnam and across Bulgaria, New York, Canada, Germany, Norway, Egypt, Vietnam, and Japan. Under his creative production studio Studio Karakashyan, recent works include the documentary dance film WAITING FOR COLOR about the ongoing LGBTQ+ persecution in Chechnya and Glance from the Edge shot across 12 landscapes in Bulgaria. He graduated with a BA in Dance from Columbia University and a Master’s in Human Rights from the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, Italy, and is currently the editor-in-chief of Out.bg, a Bulgarian LGBTQ+ community platform. His choreography has been presented by the Columbia Ballet Collaborative (NYC) and Ballet Arabesque (Bulgaria). His work has been featured by The Guardian, Elle, them, GLAAD, and Radio Free Europe, and for his work as an LGBTQ+ artist and activist, Kosta has been recognized with the Edgar Richards Scholarship from the Maranatha Ministry at Riverside Church and the Tuk-Tam Foundation Scholarship.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
Dancing! It was the first art form I encountered when I was just 5 years old, and since then dance has been instrumental in my development of a strong mind-body connection. I believe when we are at our best, the mind and the body work as one interconnected system. Dancing is one of the best shortcuts to accessing this heightened awareness, no matter how experienced you are as a dancer or mover.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
Putting on a feel-good playlist, a revitalising face serum or a colorful jacket or shirt. Clothes that are comfortable and fun can go a long way towards boosting our energy. These little things lift my mood quickly and make me feel ready to take on the world. But by far the best source of energy for me is definitely the creativity and shared excitement of other people when collaborating on a project.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
I think having a great collaborator with whom you can share ideas you are excited about. It can be very easy to start second guessing yourself, but when you’re in the company of a trusted colleague or friend, you can let go and let the ideas flow without judgement. That way you become more confident in the flow and creativity without censoring your boldest ideas, which in turn makes you more productive. The energy of those around us is extremely important to how our creativity can be enhanced or inhibited.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
I like to sleep in and drink a double shot of espresso before starting any work. Then I do my 2-min skincare routine and put on some music. I work from home, so some days start really well, and others turn into replying to endless emails and messages. When I’m overwhelmed I’ll take out a simple notebook and write down the to-do list for the day. It helps to do it with real pen and paper so that you’re not always copying and pasting this from one digital to-do list to another.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
I am the type of person that will work until they fall asleep on their computer, which is something I’m trying to change! Some of my best ideas come at night, but I am trying to find a balance and spend more time with my partner in the evenings. I’m learning there’s always more work to be done, and it’s important to end the day on my own terms when possible.
You can find Kosta at @kostakarakashyan
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