Is Personal Growth a Luxury or a Necessity?

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase ‘personal growth’ or ‘personal development’? Does it make you cringe because you heard it too often? Or does it make you feel proud and hopeful because that’s what you’re working on constantly?

One morning I was running near the lake listening to a great audiobook recommended to me by my friend. It was ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi. The book is autobiographical depicting Paul’s struggles to fight cancer.  He was a talented neurosurgeon and an aspiring writer. Most of his life he was studying to be a neurosurgeon or working as one but always dreaming to one day become a writer. And only by the end of his life when he knew he didn’t have much left he decided to write his first and last book.

I vividly remember the very place I was running by when I heard this quote. It was right by the benches near the lake when the narrator said:  “Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the living organism is striving.”

As a matter of fact, I am not a big fan of both Darwin and Nietzsche. I do respect their intelligence but absolutely disagree with their beliefs. However, this quote became an inspiring metaphor for me. It showed that each living being is characterised by striving. Striving to survive. Striving to grow. Striving to succeed.

Tony Robbins once said: “When we stop growing, we stop living.” Somebody else might have said it before him, but that’s not the point. The main idea is to continually develop, grow and learn.

Gregory Caremans, the founder of the Brain Academy, in his Udemy Neuroplasticity course explains very clearly why our brain must have new experiences on a regular basis and must constantly learn something new.

So, to sum up, let me give you 5 reasons why I think personal growth is an absolute necessity for each human being.

  1. It helps our brain grow constantly and keeps it from shrinking.
  2. It prevents such diseases as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  3. It gives us more confidence and more opportunities.
  4. It helps us stay alive and at the top of the game.
  5. Life is just more fun with it.

So, continue growing, developing, learning, acquiring new skills and habits. Life will present you more opportunities to grow as soon as you show interest in it. There’s always a chance to read another book.

What are your favorite ways of growing personally?

5 Principles of Creativity

There are actually hundreds of creativity techniques, principles and tips to be shared. However,  today I would like to focus on these 5 ideas. The first principle is the one that I have already written about. It is by all means the most important one.

1. You ARE creative.

There are so many people in the world who don’t consider themselves creative and still believe that creativity is something only artists have. This conviction should be exterminated from people’s minds. You’re creative, your child is creative, your friends are creative. Give them and yourself a chance to tap into creativity, to free it from the prison of doubts and wrong beliefs. You will see how much can be accomplished with this new mindset.

2. Creativity is a skill which can be developed.

Do you still think creativity is something you’re whether born with or not? Do you consider it a personality trait? I am happy to bring you the good news – creativity is a skill. You can develop it even if now you think you’re not creative. There are exercises and techniques to get better at this. Just like reading and writing, creativity can and should be learned and practiced.

3. Positive attitude is crucial for generating ideas.

Have you heard about the researches done by Gallup and other organizations on emotional intelligence? It’s proven that our creativity flourishes when we’re in a good mood. If you adopt negative attitude and start thinking that you have no imagination, how can you expect to generate great ideas? You need to believe in yourself and your own creative abilities to be able to achieve success in this process.

4. There is power in team creativity.

“Two are better than one”, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken” – I am sure you’ll agree with these statements based on your own experience. Solo brainstorming can be quite effective, although if you involve other people in your creativity session, the result might surprise you. You will be the one making the final decision, but ask as many people as you can for their opinions, team up with your friends and you will have more ideas to choose from.

5. We should constantly feed our imagination.

Do you know why everybody says children have better imagination? Because they constantly learn something new. They discover the world every day, and while their brain gets new information, it has enough food for creating new images. We as adults, can also feed our imagination by reading new books, getting new experiences, meeting new people. We can learn a new language or acquire a new skill. The possibilities are endless!

These are only a few principles to remember if you want to be more creative. There’s much more that I cover in my new online course and in a guide to creativity power.

The guide is free and it offers you 7 steps to finding ideas for business and life. You can find it here. Enjoy!

FREE Creativity Power Guide

Workaholics Unanimous

My friend and I are marathon runners and right now we’re in Germany getting ready to run the Frankfurt marathon tomorrow morning. Usually we try to save our legs and not walk around too much the day before the race. When today we were sitting at the hotel lobbie waiting for my friend’s husband, she suddenly said: “It feels so weird to just sit like this doing nothing, not working on anything.”

Usually every moment of our lives is scheduled, every day is full of events and meetings, classes and tasks. Isn’t it sad? We even feel a little guilty if we don’t do anything productive for 5 minutes.

Today we had no choice because we’re in a foreign country and the routine is totally different. It felt strange but at the same time wonderful to just relax and not think about our everyday to-do lists.

So, tell me, are you proud to be a workaholic? Do you ever feel like bragging about it concealing it with false humility? A lot of times people say: “I am such a workaholic, i  should really do something about it. I have no time for…” You can fill in the blanks. In reality we are a bit proud of that but in fact we should feel sorry for ourselves. That is a miserable life when you have no time for a cup of coffee with friends.

Today we made a decision to always try and deliberately plan our down time. The goal of it is to give our brain a rest and let it recharge. The big purpose of it is to live a full life and not a miserable existence of a workaholic.

Inspiration source

When do you get your best ideas? In the shower? On a run? While falling asleep or listening to your favorite speakers? I would say these are all my sources of inspiration, and it’s even hard to rate them and say which one is the best.

Sometimes, my ideas start flowing in when I relax in bed and right before drowsing off. I guess, that’s when our brain is in a defused mode and can generate most ideas, according to Barbara Oakley and her Mind for Numbers book.

Another awesome way to get creative is to go for a run. When we’re running, our brain receives more oxygen and can create more neuron connections and generate more ideas. Exercise is also another way for us to get into a defused mode. We focus on a problem or a challenge for a while right before we go out, then leave everything as it is, go to the gym or for a run and let our brain do the work. You will be surprised what an amazing creation our brain is. It will start producing solutions while you’re relaxed or distracted or focused on something else.

What are your sources of inspiration? What helps you get more creative and find your best ideas or solutions?