Why Can’t You Think ‘Outside the Box’?

P18A9538Do you ever ask yourself such a question? Why is it so hard for us to think the way no one has ever thought before? Why are there so few genius inventors of unique products and theories?

Reasons

First of all, human beings are lazy by nature. We love our comfortable boxes, and thinking outside of them seems like too much work. Try to remember the last time you had a unique idea that nobody else has ever had before. Hard, isn’t it? It’s because we set a camp in our box and don’t want to get out. The world outside of it became too strange, too unpredictable. Hence, we don’t even take an effort to think differently, and expect great ideas to come to us in a magic way.

People are creatures of habit. We take the same route to work every day, eat the same kind of food, watch the same type of television. Rare individuals love changes, most of us are a bit scared of them. Thinking ‘outside the box’ requires implementing changes. Our brain will not think creatively if we don’t feed it new information.

One more reason is our personality. We all are wired in a certain way. ENTJs and ISFPs, cholerics and melancholics – all of us think and behave in the same way most of the time. Sometimes, it’s not that easy to recognise our own patterns because we’re too used to them. Therefore, we continue living in our own boxes being scared of the outside world.

Solutions

I could give you easy solutions, such as: take a new route to work, choose a new restaurant or take up a new hobby. I’ve already talked about it in my previous post ‘Why Breaking a Habit is So Important’. These are great ideas, but we will go the other way.

Let’s put our brain to work. We will try out one awesome creativity technique. In his book ‘Thinkertoys’ Michael Michalko emphasises one incredibly important thought: “To achieve that ray of insight, one must take the imaginative chance, abandon the usual way of looking at things, transcend the possible, and reach for the impossible.”

He gives us several examples of imagination-spurring questions that we could use to start thinking ‘outside the box’. Here are a few of them:

  • What if you had eyes in back of your head as well as the front?
  • What if human beings never died? How would this affect our personal, business, and religious lives?
  • What if trees suddenly started to produce petroleum in great quantities?
  • What if people slept 23 hours every day and were awake for only one hour?

These are just the examples. You can create your own questions that fit your situation better. Think, what angle of your problem always seemed too bazaar for you? Which direction have you never looked? Try to think of an idea or a solution that always seemed too crazy. Play a ‘what if’ game with yourself, and then, try to answer those questions.

The answers might give you new insight and lead you to new unique ideas absolutely outside the box. Just give it a try. There’s one thing though, it requires some work and some of your time.

If you’d like to get a step-by-step system to develop creativity, unleash your right brain and learn to generate ideas on demand, enroll in my new online Creativity Power Course. It’s a no nonsense, practical course packed with effective techniques and exercises. By the time you finish it, you will have developed a list of your own unique ideas for your specific project.

Join it here!

Creativity Power (1)

 

Why Breaking a Habit Is So Important

Do you have more good habits than bad ones? Name three habits that you would like to get rid of right now. I could name five of them easily!

Most of us are dukes of habit, and it’s normal. Habits help us perform tasks that don’t require a lot of thinking. However, sometimes they become our enemies. When we do too many things without consideration, we don’t leave enough room for creativity. Our moves and our behaviors become predictable, and we don’t give ourselves enough food for new ideas.

If you want to train your creative muscle, it’s time to break some of those habits. They might be absolutely harmless, like taking a certain route to work, or sitting at a certain place at your dinner table. Nevertheless, try to change your standard way of thinking and doing things. Allow yourself to acquire new habits and adopt changes into your life.

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Listen to a different radio station
  • Go to a new coffee shop
  • Choose a different kind of tea or coffee
  • Eat something unusual for breakfast
  • Go to a restaurant that you’ve never been before
  • Pick a newspaper that you’ve never read before
  • Try a new recipe
  • Go for a run instead of biking
  • Bike instead of going to a gym
  • Take up photography, dancing, pottery or any other new hobby
  • Try learning a new skill every month
  • Change your morning and evening routines

There could be more options, but I am sure you got the idea. The most important thing is to break the habitual cycles that block creative way of thinking. Try to change just one thing tomorrow, I dare you! 🙂  And then tell us which one you changed!

 

17 Best Creativity Quotes

Creativity has been my favorite topic for years. At the same time, I’ve always loved to collect quotes that inspired me. Let me share with you these 17 great creativity quotes which provoke new way of thinking and encourage re-evaluation of old views. May they inspire you too!

  1. “Creativity takes courage. ” – Henri Matisse
  2. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso
  3. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
  4. “Doors are for people with no imagination.” – Derek Landy
  5. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson
  6. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – Albert Einstein
  7. “The thing is to become a master and in your old age to acquire the courage to do what children did when they knew nothing. ” – Ernest Hemingway
  8. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams
  9. “Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty.” – Bryant H. McGill
  10. “Negativity is the enemy of creativity.” – David Lynch
  11. “Creators are creative because they believe they are creative.” – Michael Michalko
  12. “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin Land
  13. “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
  14. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London
  15. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
  16. “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw
  17. “Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein

If you’re interested in learning how to develop creativity and generate ideas on demand, get my FREE guide to Creativity Power! It’s based on a lot of research and years of experience.

Who Wants to Generate Ideas on Demand?

Creativity (2)Whether you’re a writer, a businessman, or an accountant, you constantly need ideas. Sometimes, you try to come up with easier ways to solve certain problems. Sometimes, you are in a process of creating a new product, a new method, or a new advertising campaign.

Maybe, you need ideas to persuade somebody, organize something, or resolve a relationship issue. In any case, we all would benefit a lot from the skill of generating ideas whenever we need them, on demand.

There are lots of techniques which could help you in this task. I will share with you those methods that I’ve used and that proved effective.

1. Diversify your brainstorming.

The easiest way to do that is, of course, bullet points. Just take a sheet of paper or open a new document in your computer and start writing. Put in all ideas that come to your mind without criticizing them. Another way you can brainstorm is use mind mapping. We won’t go into detail, but if you’re interested, google it.

However, my favorite method is the following. I write ideas on small pieces of paper or sticky notes, one idea per a note. Then I organize them, rearrange them, put them into categories and write a plan on how to apply the best ones. This way is the best because you can see all ideas in front of you on the table, floor or board. It’s easy and very convenient.

2. SCAMPER

In his book Thinkertoys Michael Michalko reveals several great techniques. SCAMPER is one of them. It’s a checklist of idea-spurring questions. I want to mention this technique because it includes several different methods and ways to generate ideas.

First of all state the challenge or subject you want to think about. Then ask SCAMPER questions about each step of the challenge and see what new ideas come to your mind.

 

  • What can I SUBSTITUTE?
  • What can I COMBINE?
  • What can I ADAPT?
  • How can it be MODIFIED or MAGNIFIED?
  • How can I PUT it to other use?
  • What can I ELIMINATE?
  • What is the REVERSE of this?
  • What REARRANGEMENT might be better?

3. Create your own image board.

Another great way to inspire the birth of ideas is to create a board of images. As you are working on a challenge, select pictures, photographs, or diagrams that are relevant to your target and pin them to the board. Some people make a special folder in their computer and open it whenever they need inspiration.

Most of us think visually, not verbally. I remember when a picture of a road gave me an idea for the logo of my new company.

4. Take a break.

I love this technique because it’s simple and works 90% of the time. It’s based on the information in the book by Barbara Oakley A Mind for Numbers. She argues that our brain works in two modes: focused and diffuse. If you need to come up with an idea or a solution to your problem, focus on the challenge for some time and then take a break. Go for a run, make yourself a cup of tea, take a short nap or do anything else that would distract your brain from the challenge at hand. Your brain will be forced to get into the diffuse mode and it will be looking for the solution while you’re resting.

There are several examples of well-known individuals who used this technique in their creative processes. Among them are Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison. I can personally testify that it works. Whenever I feel stuck trying to come with an idea or a solution, a little break works magic. Try it yourself.

These are four best techniques to come up with awesome ideas on demand. There are many more in my Creativity Power course that will be launched in June. If you would like to learn more about creativity and generate unique ideas, download my FREE Guide to Finding Ideas and Solutions. 

Enjoy your life and shine your light! This world will benefit from your ideas!

You ARE Creative – and don’t tell me you’re not!

If there’s one most important fact I can tell people about creativity, it’s that all of us are creative just in different ways. The saddest thing I hear over and over from my friends and students (most of whom have become my friends) is, “I’m not creative.” That is SO not true!

Read Ken Robinson, Betty Edwards, Michael Michalko and many others who are saying – we all have this quality. Creativity is a skill that needs to be developed. It’s like reading or writing. You wouldn’t tell a child who doesn’t read very well, “Well, it’s just not for you. It’s not your thing.” No, you would encourage a child to keep practicing and finally achieve a certain level of literacy. The same with creativity. We all have it, in some of us it’s hidden and needs to be found. Learn how to tap into your creativity and unleash that incredible potential.

Some people are creative in art, others in business. Some will find better solutions in math, others in relationships with people. There are inventions in science and new approaches on construction sites.

Stop thinking you’re not creative. This attitude poisons your future and kills your opportunities. Instead, believe in yourself, in your ability to generate ideas, and start doing your best to develop this incredible skill!

Take Action

Are you a dreamer or a doer?

There are so many incredible ideas in the world waiting to be implemented. There are so many talented creative people dreaming big, but failing to take action. So, their dreams remain only dreams; their ideas are not shared with the rest of the world. People continue depriving humanity of possible unique inventions, pieces of art, interesting solutions to the problems.

Why?

  • They don’t believe in themselves.
  • They are afraid to lose face in case of a failure.
  • They are lazy and passive.
  • They don’t think it’s a unique idea and think someone else must have had it.
  • They had tried before and it didn’t work.
  • They have no time for this now.

There are so many reasons, and all of them are just excuses. Do you know the remedy for that? TAKE ACTION! Whatever it takes! Failed? Try again. Fell? Get up and start over! Move, act, try and you will achieve!

Travel Away

p18a5347“Why do you travel?”  – I asked my best friend who has been to 54 countries of the world.  “To get new eyes, – she said and quoted Marcel Proust, – ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Maia told me that each trip to a new destination helps her understand herself better. It also results in rediscovering the life and people back home and helps to see them in a new light.

How many countries have YOU visited? Which parts of the world are you yet to see? Our beautiful planet is an incredible gift from the Creator. We live our busy life cramming it with very urgent and important things, but so often we forget to live. You might have so many legitimate excuses not to travel, but all of them will crack and break like shattered glass when faced with powerful reasons:

  1. Travel for personal growth. Every country will reveal something new for you, every person you meet will make your heart a little bigger.
  2. Travel to learn. Each culture is unique and amazingly beautiful, each little place on earth has huge potential to broaden our worldview and expand our knowledge.
  3. Travel for success. Each trip abroad helps you become more interesting as a personality. It gives you edge in negotiations, increases your chances for promotion or for getting a new job.
  4. Travel to help less fortunate. There are so many places in the world that need our help. Go on a mission trip, and it will change your life as well as the lives of those you help!
  5. Travel to capture the beauty. Take your camera on a journey with you and start creating memories. Become an artist without a brush, become a creator of moments and share them with the world.
  6. Travel to make new friends. Each person you encounter on your journey may become a good friend for you. Each friend you make has the potential to bring the whole new world into your life.
  7. Travel to practice the language you’re learning. Need to practice Spanish? Go to Latin America, Spain or Portugal. Would like to become more fluent in English? Great Britain or USA will give you lots of opportunities to dive into the culture and feel the language from within.

Let’s go on a 5-day language tour to New York City with us. You will not only get English classes with the native speaker but will have a chance to immerse into American culture, see the best sights, try awesome food and visit famous places where most popular movies were shot!

New York Language Tour

And remember – if it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse. Not enough money? Stop spending them for unnecessary clothes or stuff. Not enough time? Become more organized, get up earlier to get more things done.

So, now it’s your turn. Make a list of countries you would want to visit in your life. Share with us at least three of them in the comments below. And start planning your trip!