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.
- It helps our brain grow constantly and keeps it from shrinking.
- It prevents such diseases as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- It gives us more confidence and more opportunities.
- It helps us stay alive and at the top of the game.
- 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?
What is fear, really? “An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” It’s just an emotion, sometimes strong, sometimes not. Why are we so affected by it? Why do we let it rule our lives and tell us what to do and what not to do?
Fear can be very useful when we need to flee from danger. However, more often it paralyses us when what we really need is to act.
I have recently watched a movie called “Arrival”. It’s about the power of communication and the value of human contact and unity. What struck me the most is the behavior of a woman-scientist. She was extremely scared, it was obvious, but it didn’t stop her from stepping forward and going into the unknown. As a result of her conquered fear she was able to save humanity from destruction.
In our life and business we face much simpler tasks and dangers. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that our fears have no power to cause destruction. The scale is smaller, of course, but the importance and the aftermath for each of us is huge sometimes.
Are you scared of a new job or a new position? Are you afraid to make that step and finally start a business? Are you horrified that she might say “no” if you ask her out? Overcome your fear and make that next step. Ask for a raise. Change the job. Start a company. Propose. Go on a journey. Take a course. Invest. Live. You’re worth it!
Do you think you have good imagination? I think you do. If you disagree, maybe, you just need to feed it more often. Give it some food every once in a while and it will pay you back with boosted creativity, unique ideas and spot on solutions.
I used to think I am not a creative person. Then several incredible books and videos changed my understanding of this notion. The problem was connected with my inability to use creative power and God-given imagination. Even though my rich imagination was always a source of entertainment for me, I didn’t connect it with creativity. It took me years to learn how to use it. What’s even more important, it took me too long to realize the huge value of our imagination. Its effect on our creative abilities, critical thinking, and decision making process can’t be overestimated.
So, let’s dive into 10 ways to feed our imagination.
This is probably the most obvious one of all, that’s why it’s number one. When you read a book or listen to an audio-book, you can’t help but imagine what is going on. Your brain creates images and stores them in its supreme filing system. You will be able to retrieve those images when you need them.
First, I wanted to say, read fiction – it will feed your imagination more. However, there were lots of non-fiction, educational, spiritual and self-help books that gave me most useful ideas and inspired me incredibly.
Yes, I know. Movies and TV shows can be very addictive. They can throw you into the prison of wasting time, and the escape is not that easy. I’ve been in that prison and still get there once in a while. And nevertheless, watching movies and TV shows in moderation is good for us. Good quality films and serials are made by creative people who spent thousands of hours using their own imagination. I am sure we can learn from them, tap into their creativity and draw out a few ideas for ourselves.
There is a variety of opportunities unfolding in front of us when we think of art. You can be a spectator or a participant of art. Go to a dancing show or take dancing lessons. Attend a concert or learn how to play a musical instrument. Visit a museum or participate in a pottery master class. Musicals and plays, opera and architecture, exhibitions and galleries – all of this is the endless source of nourishment for our imagination.
Have you heard of TED talks? In the last several years these short speeches have been my constant source of inspiration. Go to http://www.ted.com, and you will see: their mission is to spread ideas. It kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
Do you have a favorite speaker? I have several and like to watch them on YouTube or TED regularly. There are two or three preachers whose sermons I especially enjoy, and who motivate me to grow spiritually. So, choose those speakers who inspire you the most. Find the way to watch their speeches on a regular basis and your imagination will never go hungry.
5. Educational events
Just like speeches and talk, educational events can boost our creativity and feed our brain new ideas. You can attend a conference, a seminar or a even a webinar. Go to a workshop, a master class or participate in a convention. Usually such events give us an opportunity to meet new interesting people. You will hear speeches, learn new information, get a new experience and have a chance to interact with other creative individuals.
6. New Experiences
Several points on this list can be seen as new experiences. I am sure you are aware of our brain’s feature to develop connections between neurons when we learn something new. That’s how our intellectual abilities grow and our creativity flourishes. New researches show that our hippocampus even continues to create new cells into old age.
So, when will those new cells appear? The moment you experience something new. Another question: where can you get a new experience? Go to your friend’s party and meet new people. Take up a new hobby. Do something you have never done before. Try new food, travel to new places, jump with a parachute or go hiking. The sky is the limit.
I know I already mentioned travel before, but it’s so important that it deserves special attention. Seeing new countries, cities, and continents broadens our worldview, expands our horizons, develops our brain and, of course, feeds our imagination. Saint Augustine said: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” So, it’s time for you to open this book and start reading one page after another.
8. Walks in the nature
Do you live in the city or in the country? Are you stuck at the office all day? How often do you get in touch with the nature? There is SO much it can teach us! God’s creation is magnificent! The beauty of it is mesmerizing! Take a walk in the park, go to the nearest river or lake. Look around and allow yourself to relax. Your brain craves that so much. So, give it what it wants, because, oh man, you do owe it.
9. Time with friends
I can say without a doubt that my friends have always been my inspiration and the biggest gift of all. Of course, you can brainstorm with your friends and deliberately work on generating ideas together. However, you can even just spend time with them, talk, laugh, cry, and have fun.
Surround yourself with creative people and constantly learn from them. And since everybody is creative, you can just spend quality time with your friends. Pick their brain, ask them questions, discuss the topics you’re both interested in. Your imagination will thank you later.
And finally, my favorite one. Oh, daydreaming… I used to think it was a huge waste of time and a sign of weakness. And, of course, it can become pretty addictive and kill our productivity, but it can also be very useful. Daydreaming for our imagination is like weight lifting for our body. It builds our creative muscle. It helps us create images in our brain that never existed in reality. That’s pure imagination, my friends.
Sometimes I create whole movies in my head visualizing myself in various desired situations. What a treat it is sometimes to go into that imagined world. What are the benefits if that, you will ask? Lots of them. It’s a workout for my brain and for my imagination. It helps me live through situations that I will have to go through in reality. It gives me more confidence in the real world. It boosts my creativity and inspires me to pursue my goals and dreams!
A little piece of advice – don’t ever get sucked into your own daydreaming. Be reasonable.
Bringing it all together
There is an enormous number of ways to feed your imagination. Get on with it. Don’t underestimate the value of it for your life and your professional career. Good luck!
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!
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!
Have I already told you about the “Miracle Morning’ book by Hal Elrod? It will be surprising if I haven’t. Last summer I stumbled upon this book in one of the articles on the Internet. It was recommended for those who want to become more disciplined, take hold of their life and improve productivity. I had recently started my business and it was just what I needed.
As it turns out, the inspiration that we get from reading self-help literature usually doesn’t last long. It’s crucial to keep reminding ourselves of our vision, mission and goals in life. Only constant focus on my main purpose helps me beat the desire to sleep in the morning. Sometimes the battle is agonizing. Sometimes the bed is too luring for me, and it wins the battle. However, when I remember what drives me in this life, why I was created in the first place, it’s easier to fight and win.
As soon as the battle is over and the morning begins, everything is easy. Hal Elrod gives several very important tips on how to start our day right. Some of these tips include drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, forget about the snooze button, create our personal morning routine, etc. These are not new ideas or techniques, but he explains everything in a very motivational way.
If you haven’t read this book and would really love to change your life, become more productive, successful and just plain happier – read it by all means!!! And what’s more important, start implementing it right away. You will see changes in your life, I have no doubt in that!