Want to be more creative? Develop these 3 powerful qualities!

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Don’t we all want to be more creative? Wouldn’t it be great to just snap our fingers and have unique ideas flow like a waterfall? It’s not always that easy. Usually creative ideas are born out of the loving union of our imagination and our experience. However, there’re three main qualities which could help us develop this amazing and desirable skill called creativity. Open-mindedness, discipline and focus.

Let’s look at each one of them individually.

Open-mindedness

This one is rather predictable.  Whenever we think about creativity, we assume it’s connected with out-of-the-box mentality. We hear so much talk about getting out of our comfort zone, trying new things, enjoying new experiences. I personally have been talking about it a lot in the last few years.

Open-mindedness is a quality which allows us to see the world without limits and peer through the walls of normality. It breaks barriers and opens new doors for us.

How much of this quality do you possess and how much do you need to develop it? If you often find yourself disagreeing with people, striving to prove your point and thinking you’re always right, there’s a chance you need to work on being more open-minded.

My biggest desire and challenge these days is to destroy the borders of my imagination. I always used to think within the limits of social conventions and almost never allowed myself to break those barriers. Join me on this new path.

It’s a journey of reaching the heights of creativity, utilizing our uniqueness and giftedness. My personal journey started some time ago, but there’s still so much work to be done! What about you?

Discipline

There’s so much to be said about the importance of discipline! Why do you think it’s crucial for our creativity? Shouldn’t we feel free from schedules and deadlines if we want to create efficiently? The answer is “no”.

Ask people of art how much work they postpone every day. Once I heard that writers are the biggest procrastinators in the world. A lot of them say that without discipline they would never have had anything done.

More than a year ago I started my own war with procrastination. It took me awhile to discipline myself to wake up earlier in the morning, read more, eat less sweets and stop putting work off till tomorrow. This is an ongoing war with some battles won and some of them lost, but I will never give up striving for better self-discipline and stronger willpower.

Focus

This quality is extremely important for those of us hoping and dreaming to create something extraordinary. Whether you need to come up with the best solution or idea for your project, or you’re working on a book, focus will save the day for you.

Have you ever tried to brainstorm for ideas when there are people walking around in your office? Do you tend to plan your days in such a way that there’s almost no quiet time for thinking and generating ideas? This has been one of my biggest challenges so far.

Apparently, if you want to come up with something truly unique, you must get into a flow. And it’s impossible to get into this special state of flow if you can’t focus and are always distracted.

So, here are a few ways to get focused:

  1. Listen to the music without words. Research shows that classical music stimulates creativity and brain activity whereas music with beat will increase your productivity.
  2. Schedule several hours of time for your creative brainstorming sessions with yourself or your teammates. If it’s a priority for you, allocate special time for it.
  3. Change the environment. Get our of your office and go to a cafe. You will be surprised how productive you become when you have only an hour and nobody from your office is around.
  4. Make sure you have enough sleep because your brain won’t work normally if it requires more rest than you usually give it. It will eventually shut down and you’ll need a cup of coffee or a nap.
  5. Remind yourself why this work is important for you. When you motivate yourself with your own WHY, it’s easier to fight distractions and get focused on your work or on your creative process.

As for me, I’ve been using all of these methods. The first and the third have been most effective in my case. What about you? What helps you focus?

Please share how you became more open-minded, disciplined and focused. I would like to hear about your journey.

 

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Do You Have What It Takes to Start A Business?

adult-blur-business-630839Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if you’ve got what it takes? My short answer is ‘YES’, but let’s dig deeper into this question.

The moment you decide to call yourself ‘entrepreneur’, your whole life changes. Whether you have any knowledge in marketing and sales or not, becomes irrelevant. Suddenly, you become a jack of all trades and need to master a number of new skills including advertising, promotion, sales, designing websites, copywriting, etc.

Your character will have to change a bit too. Do you take rejections hard? You’ll have to get used to that. Do you like to be in control of your environment and you hate when your plans change? Be ready to accept sudden alterations in your schedule or even in your vision and strategies.

If you’ve ever met me personally, you probably know that I’m a bit of a control freak. Or I’d like to think I was before I decided to start my own business. Entrepreneurship is the best remedy for this “disease”. You learn how to be ok with constant changes, how to make fast spontaneous decisions, be more flexible and work completely out of your comfort zone.

So, what would it take to start a business? Do you have to be born an entrepreneur or you can develop necessary qualities when you need them? Is it a question of nature or nurture?

In my humble opinion, it’s NOT something you’re born with. All you need is an idea for your business, a lot of passion for it and the desire to learn everything you need along the way. blackboard-business-chalkboard-355988

Henry Ford said a long time ago: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!” So, here’s your answer. Pretty clear and laconic. And I will add – you can do much more than you think! Just believe and start acting!

So, it’s time to conquer your fears and start making the first steps. Here’s a little plan for you:

  1. Run your idea by a number of close friends or just people whose opinion you respect.
  2. Study your target market to make sure your product or service will be in demand.
  3. Prepare a business plan and have somebody with business background read through it and give you their feedback.
  4. Remember that you might have to change your plans along the way.
  5. Get ready to work extra hours, sleep less, read more, study all the time.

apple-device-blur-blurry-273222All further steps will depend on the type of business, industry and other factors. If you’ve never developed a business plan, there’s an awesome software you can buy for just $20 per month. It’s called LivePlan. You can use it just for yourself and your team or to send the plan to your potential investors.

If you have any questions about registering your company, choosing its type (LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, etc.), write me a message or ask in the comments below. I will be happy to help and share my own experience.

Enjoy! This is an exciting journey!

How Not To Give Up On Your Goals

25564102680_83844b1d7f_kThe first month of 2018 is coming to an end. Every beginning is exciting and inspiring! We’re full of motivation and hope. We believe we can move mountains, but then life happens. What keeps you from reaching your goals and fulfilling your new year resolutions?
Here’re a few ideas from my own experience how not to give up and stay motivated:
1.  Find a friend who would become your accountability partner. You can meet once or twice a month to share your goals and then report on them.
Last year one of my new friends became a huge blessing for me in this area. She inspires me to stay on track, be more organized and continue moving forward.
2.  Choose one social media to report on your goals to all your friends and followers.
One of my acquaintances decided to report each run on Twitter so that all his followers would keep him accountable. It helped him train for and then run several marathons and half-marathons.
3. Set realistic goals and make sure they’re relevant and important for you a few months later.
Sometimes we set a goal, but then in a few months it seems unimportant. We lose motivation and of course give up on it. Make sure it doesn’t happen with you.
4. Use Stickk.com to keep you accountable.
There’re actually several other websites which operate similarly and have the same purpose. They are set up in such a way, that you have to pay money to a charity or anti-charity if you don’t accomplish your goal by a certain day. In my case it’s www.stickk.com. It’s been incredibly helpful! I used for four of my goals, and it proved to be exceptionally effective.
These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you have other tips of your own. Please share with me, what do you do to stay motivated? What helps you stay on track and not give up on your goals?

How to Read More Books When You’re So Busy

pexels-photo-459791Do you have a busy life? What a silly question. We all do. This is the era of busy people. But you know what? I read a quote not that long ago, that ‘busy is a decision’. We create our impossible schedules and become their prisoners. And then we’re forced to answer to our friends and family: “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m really busy.”

Have you ever wondered how you could start reading more books in the midst of your hectic life? It seems almost impossible to find time if you have several kids, a demanding job, a husband or a wife. Or maybe you have none of that, but your schedule is so full there seems to be no time for reading.

pexels-photo-256541When I was a kid, I used to go to the library to choose a new book. It was always a magical time and one of my favorite activities. You go from one bookshelf to another, looking through the names of book and writers. It’s so peaceful and quiet. You’re deciding which world you’d like to immerse yourself into this time.

And then life happened – university, work, a busy schedule, new priorities, and as a result – only a few books a year.

I remember craving books. I remember being hungry for more reading. It even inspired me to take speed reading classes so I could devour more books in less time. And still, it wasn’t enough. More tasks, longer to-do lists and new responsibilities kept creeping into my life and pushing books out of it.

However, there was one decision which changed everything for me. About two years ago I made reading one of my life priorities. I set a goal to read 50 books a year, and … I read only 25. Do you think it was a failure? Not at all! It was twice more than the year before.

The next year I set a goal to read 30 books and … succeeded!!!

So, here’re a few ideas for you to start reading more even though your life gets busier every month of the year.

  1. Make reading your priority.

It doesn’t have to be your number one priority, but at least it shouldn’t be at the end of the list. Remind yourself why you want to start reading more. Is it a relaxing time for you when you unwind and recharge? Is it important for your personal growth and professional development? Define your WHY.

2. Listen to audiobooks while running, walking, cleaning or doing other chores.

Sometimes I even listen to audiobooks when I’m brushing my teeth or taking a shower (if I don’t have to wash my hair :)). If you sign up for a half or a full marathon, you’ll have plenty of time to listen to your audiobooks during training runs.

3. Read on commute.

This is a popular advice for reading more and also for using time productively. If you have to travel by public transportation to or from work, always carry a book with you. You’ll enjoy this time more and at the same time feel like you’ve spent it very efficiently.

4. Choose small books every once in a while. Alternate between big and small.

Sometimes people take books which are too big and too boring for them just because someone said they’re good. Choose the ones which will excite you, enchant you, or fascinate you. Even if it’s an educative, self-help book, it may be absolutely engrossing if you learn something new or see a real value in it.

Alternate between big, complicated books and small easy books. Here’s the list of short classic books that won’t take much of your time but will enrich you and fascinate you. Follow this link to read the article in Huffington post.

5. Read at least 15 minutes after waking up and 15 minutes before going to bed.

Consistency is the key. If you make a decision to read a little bit, but regularly, you will be amazed by your progress. Most of the time people think: “I don’t have time now. I have to get to bed,” or “I have to go to work.” But if it’s just 10-15 minutes it will feel like nothing, and, at the same time, it will be enough to help you finish the book in a few weeks or months.

Try some of these tips and share your own advice. What helped you start reading more? What books would you recommend me? I love sci-fi, drama, historical, self-help, psychological, business and many other types of books.

 

How Not To Give Up On Your Goals

pexels-photo-433077I hope your new year started on a great note, and you already dove deep into the process of accomplishing your goals!
Every beginning is exciting and inspiring! We’re full of motivation and hope. We believe we can move mountains, but then life happens. What keeps you from reaching your goals and fulfilling your new year resolutions?
Here’re a few ideas from my own experience how not to give up and stay motivated:
1.  Find a friend who would become your accountability partner. You can meet once or twice a month to share your goals and then report on them.
Last year one of my new friends became a huge blessing for me in this area. She inspires me to stay on track, be more organized and continue moving forward.
2.  Choose one social media to report on your goals to all your friends and followers.
One of my acquaintances decided to report each run on Twitter so that all his followers would keep him accountable. It helped him train for and then run several marathons and half-marathons.
3. Set realistic goals and make sure they’re relevant and important for you a few months later.
Sometimes we set a goal, but then in a few months it seems unimportant. We lose motivation and of course give up on it. Make sure it doesn’t happen with you.
4. Use Stickk.com to keep you accountable.
There’re actually several other websites which operate similarly and have the same purpose. They are set up in such a way, that you have to pay money to a charity or anti-charity if you don’t accomplish your goal by a certain day. In my case it’s www.stickk.com. It’s been incredibly helpful! I used for four of my goals, and it proved to be exceptionally effective.
These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you have other tips of your own. Please share with me, what do you do to stay motivated? What helps you stay on track and not give up on your goals?

Your Freedom Is In Danger!

Do you consider yourself a free person? Ok, let me ask you a different question then. Have you ever thought about bonds and chains that might hold you back? What prevents you from moving forward and growing? What keeps you from reaching your goals? What limits your freedom?

ElephantsYou know, a few days ago I read a story about elephants who were standing in a row waiting on their trainer. These huge animals were held only by a small rope tied to their front leg. A passing-by man was astonished by this fact and asked for an explanation. The trainer told him that those elephants had been held by the same rope since they were little. It had been enough for them then. As they grew up, they were conditioned to believe they couldn’t break away. So, they never even tried.

Sometimes, we have the same ropes. They are tiny. They are weak and almost invisible, but we allow them to hold us and we never even try to break free.

The first thing we need to do is to admit there are such ropes. Self-awareness is always the key. Let’s look at a few examples, and maybe you will find your own chains and ropes.

  • Fears
  • Doubts
  • Grudges
  • Busyness
  • Idols
  • Addictions
  • Pride
  • Arrogance
  • Frustrations
  • Anger
  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Greed

These are only a few possible chains. There might be many more. So, what are we going to do with them?

Being aware of such bonds is the first step. Next, you should try to take notice every time this feeling, emotion or a thought appears and tries to take charge. Giving it place and letting it control your actions and your life is the clear way to lose freedom.

After you notice the emotion and prevent it from controlling you several times in a row, it will lose power over you. It’s like forming a good habit or getting rid of a bad habit. The first step – take notice. The next step – take action by confronting it. The third step – repeat and remember to condition yourself for future behavior.

Of course, there’s more to be said on the topic of forming good habits, but I will just refer you to an awesome Neuroplasticity course on Udemy by Gregory Caremans. He explains it in very much detail and with a lot of exercises.

So, what chains are you trying to break these days? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

How to Use Your Superpowers (Yes, You Have Them)

pexels-photo-346796Let me ask you one of my favorite questions: If you were a superhero, which superpower do you wish you had? Is it flying or mind reading? Telekenisis or teleportation? Traveling in time or freezing time?
There’s something extremely important I want to tell you. You do have superpowers. They are called gifts and talents, strengths and abilities. Don’t get all skeptical or negative. Remember to have an open mind and great things will start happening to you.

Find Your Superpowers

Quit thinking that talents are only about singing, painting or anything else connected with art. There’s so much more to this topic, than meets the eye. If you’d like to learn a little more about yourself, to increase your self-awareness, take the Gallup Strengthsfinder test. Its pretty substantial with 180 questions which will reveal your 5 talents or strengths.
However, even if you’re not a big fan of tests, there are other ways to figure out what gifts you possess. Here are a few ideas:
  • Ask your friends and family, people who know you well. They will tell you, what you’re really great at.
  • Ask yourself a question – what am I most passsionate about?
  • There might be something you always secretly wanted to do and kind of thought you may be good at it. What is it? It could be one of your strengths.
  • Remember what people usually thank you for. Which of your actions do they praise most of the time?
  • What do you love doing so much that you lose track of time while being immersed into the activity?

Now, analyse all your answers and make a list of your strengths and talents. Here are some examples to help you with ideas: empathy, strategic thinking, sense of humor, helpfulness, analytical skills, discipline, organizer, encourager, design, cooking, gardening, problem solving, etc.

Use Your Superpowers

As soon as you have your list, it’s time to put it to action.

Choose one strength which you would like to focus on now. It could be something you really need in your current or future job. At the same time, it might be a talent which you always wanted to develop but never had time for it.

After choosing one strength to work on, make an action plan with specific, measurable and time-oriented steps which will help you take this strength on another level. You may want to make a little research. Look for books, podcasts, courses and videos on your topic. Learn as much as possible.

One of the best ways to develop your strength is to actually use it. Seek possibilities to apply your talent at work. Go to your boss and offer to participate in a project which complements your gifts. Start a project of your own on the side. Start a business.

Finally, I got an advice for you. Marcus Buckingham wrote a very practical book on this topic called ‘Put Your Strengths to Work’. It gives you several specific steps and tools on how to focus on your talents and start using them in life more. Check it out.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. Please, share one or two of your strengths and tell us how you apply them in your life and work.