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!

Is Your Sun Still Behind The Clouds?

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I’m sure you heard the phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. How do you apply it in your life? I’m asking this because it’s crucial for your mental and emotional health to see this idiom in action every day of your life.

Have you had situations when everything seemed too difficult and unsolvable? Have you been desperate for advice and clarity? I’m sure you have.

Not that long ago I had too many questions about my business and was wondering what I should do. And today everything is clear as day. Solutions didn’t come all at once. Each day brought one or two ideas. One by one puzzles fell into place and formed a clear picture. Sometimes the source of help was a person, other times it was a website or a book. Working together as a team all these helpers led me to new decisions and new strategies.

Today I was walking to my usual place to see the sunrise. It’s my new favorite habit. I wake up earlier, do some reading and if it’s not my running day, I go to the lake where the sunrise can be visible. So, when I was walking there, the sun was hiding behind the clouds. The lining wasn’t silver though. It was golden! And it was gorgeous! You could still see the sun. Kind of.

So, when I got to a cafe to get my latte, I looked through the window and couldn’t keep my eyes open. The clouds parted and the sun was shining brightly.

Our life is the same. Sometimes we need to wait for the clouds to part and for the sun to shine on our path and show us the way.

Tell me in the comments, have you ever experienced anything similar?

Do You Still Rush while Traveling?

img_5136Sometimes I have a bad habit when traveling to new places. I run around trying to capture everything on my iPhone camera which is far from perfect. The desire to save this moment of beauty for future enjoyment is inspired by the magnificence of the view. Although, what I don’t realize it might be worth it to just stop and take in all the exquisiteness I’m surrounded with.

Perhaps, if I remember to enjoy every possible moment, the imprint of it in my memory would be much brighter than the photo. Don’t take me wrong, I admire photographers and their amazing ability to see the world. It’s my own way of rushing through life and its beauty that I sometimes regret.

Not that long ago I came back from the trip to Europe. We visited 5 countries in 10 days and got to see a lot of fascinating places. Unfortunately, I had to limit the number of excursion I went to due to the amount of work that had to be done while being on the trip.  However, it turned out to be a great blessing for me.

I had a chance to take a break from all the sightseeing, go sit at a cafe and enjoy my quiet computer work while observing people around me. My first such experience was in Prague.

jan HusHave you ever been to Prague? The Old Town Square and Charles Bridge create the illusion of being in a fairy-tale. The old astronomical clock is right there, around the corner playing its music every hour. The statue of Jan Hus impresses you with its seriousness and grandeur.

Two in Prague

A group of students gathered in the middle of the square deciding what to do next. Two young men found a place on the ground and placed their beer and food between them on the curb. Their relaxed postures exude freedom and independence.

Then we were in Strasbourg, France. We had a few hours in the city, and I was lucky to find a nice little cafe outside with chairs facing a picturesque bridge. Two young women probably in their 30s were having a glass of wine at a café. They had come there by bikes which means they’re most likely local.

There’s a muslim couple carrying big bags and arguing about something. They had just been to a mall and probably bought a few new clothes. A man with a backpack walked by – he’s definitely a tourist slowly looking around, taking it all in, enjoying the old city of Strasbourg.

After that we went to Geneva and Zurich, then Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. And every city gave me an opportunity to find a quiet place to work while observing people and enjoying local cappuccino or a glass of wine.

22053071_10155717220076613_1973212020_nHave you ever thought why we love to watch other people so much? What is it about seeing them interact with each other that fascinates us so much? It’s incredibly interesting! It’s like real life TV. And every person has a story to tell.

Next time you’re traveling, try not to rush from one landmark to another with a camera, but stop somewhere and simply observe people. Give them a chance to share their stories with you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from and get inspired by those stories. Your life will become richer, deeper and much more interesting.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, do you travel fast or slowly? What do you like to do the most when you’re in a new place?

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My friend Maia spotted me with a camera in a cafe in Zurich.

What’s It Like To Be Colorblind?

5181903845_121bf85bc4Once I heard Tony Robbins do an interesting exercise with his audience. A few days later I tried it with several different groups too. Here’s how it goes: first, you look around and take notice of everything brown. Then you’re asked to close your eyes and remember everything green or blue. Usually it’s hard to remember what you weren’t paying attention to. You might think of a few green things but definitely not everything because when you looked around, all you fixed your eyes on was of the brown color.

There are three main conclusions I want to draw from this exercise.

1. How we see our life.

Some people live their life seeing only brown, grey and black colors around them. What’s even sadder, they constantly blame others for that or even the whole world for lacking bright colors.  It’s easy for such people to see the negative and the wrong, to notice failures, faults and problems. On the other hand, it’s hard for them to see the good in people. It’s terribly difficult to notice opportunities, potential and success.

I hope it’s not about you. I pray you learn to see the silver lining in every cloud. It might not be easy at times, but as soon as you open your eyes and choose to see the bright colors, you will see them.

2. How we live our life.

Another important point is that we hurry through our life and forget to notice the beauty. We fixate on the wrong things. We worship productivity and strive to be achievers of this world. Is that what life is all about? Unfortunately, there are so many people around us who spend their days working from 9 to 5 and hate their job. They get up every morning counting hours and days till the weekend or vacation.

Let me ask you something, do you remember the color of yesterday’s sunset? Or all you can remember is the screen of your computer, the colors of your TV or the glare of your smartphone?

     3. How thankful we are.

I once saw the video of a colorblind dad who received a birthday gift – the glasses that let him see colors. When he put them on and saw the color of his kids’ eyes for the first time he started crying. And I started crying with him. This man has never seen the sky in all its beauty. His world was different from mine, but suddenly everything changed. He saw what he had never seen before, and his heart was filled with gratitude and joy.

How often am I thankful for the ability to see the world in all its colors, the way it meant to be, the way it was created? My mom is a diabetic and has lost almost all her eye-sight. Her one eye is completely blind, and her other eye can only see 5%. And she is thankful for these 5%! She can at least see something, and she is incredibly thankful!

What can we do about it?

  • Let’s try to see the good in people even if they hurt and wronged us.
  • Let’s count blessings every day and see the opportunities in every challenge, trial or drawback.
  • Let’s slow down in the craziness of this world and enjoy the beauty of our life.
  • Let’s never take anything for granted and be thankful for every little thing.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments what is hardest for you – to see the good in people or situations, to stop and notice the beauty in our hectic world or to always be grateful? What’s most challenging for you?

Isn’t It Time to Change Something in Your Life?

notes-macbook-study-conferenceA great man once said: “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Yesterday I reached the point when something new had to be done for the situation to change.

As it happened, it was Saturday and nobody else was in the office. We have a huge whiteboard on the wall which is perfect for brainstorming. We usually use it for seminars, planning sessions and meetings. ‘Why don’t I take advantage of it now, and try to brainstorm with myself?’, I thought. Nobody was disturbing me, I had the whole office for myself and enough time for such an activity.

My mind has been in stress lately, trying to figure out everything I have to accomplish, all the deadlines and all the challenges. First of all, I needed to clear my mind and organize my thoughts. The best way to do that is mind-mapping.

If you’re not familiar with the technique, check it out here: https://litemind.com/what-is-mind-mapping/

I wrote the main challenge in the middle and started connecting it with potential solutions and ideas how to reach my goal. At first those words and phrases didn’t seem particularly new or special, but soon they started to shape into a good plan.

Here’s what I came up with after about half an hour of brainstorming.

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My Tips for Mind-mapping

If you’d like to try this very effective technique, here are a few tips:

  1. Find a place and time when nobody can disturb you.
  2. If you can use any kind of board, it would be great. You can use a white, green or black board, a flip chart or a pin board.
  3. After writing a few goals take a short break, walk away from the board to let your mind get distracted. It will help your brain move from focused into diffused mode and come up with new ideas.
  4. While thinking and writing, stand close to the board, and then walk away to look at it from the distance. It will help you see new angles and new perspectives of your challenge.
  5. Take notice of those items that get the most connections. They are the ones that deserve your most attentions. In my case those were ‘discipline’ and ‘absence of distractions’.
  6. After you finish, write an action plan based on all your goals and connections.

Based on my new discoveries, I wrote a new schedule for myself and have already started putting it into life. I hope this example and these tips will be helpful for you and will inspire you to take action too. Want changes in your life? Start doing something you’ve never done before.

For more information on creativity development check out my FREE 7-Step Guide to Finding Ideas and Solutions

So, let me know in the comments how you like to brainstorm and organize your thoughts.

Stay positive and enjoy your life!

5 Reasons You Should Develop Creativity

P18A9669You were born to create, just like you were born to walk and run. When you were crawling as a baby, making your first attempts to walk, your parents didn’t say: “Oh, it’s ok. Maybe, it’s just not for you.” No, they helped you learn how to start walking. In the same way, we should develop creativity and stop thinking – it’s not for us, it’s for those special ones with incredible talent.

Have you noticed how fast life is changing nowadays? It seems that only yesterday we were all using regular cell-phones and considered it an amazing advancement in technology. Today, we carry the whole computer in a form of a smartphone in our pocket. A few decades ago the term “virtual reality” made us think of science-fiction. Nowadays, it’s a part of our life, and it’s not going anywhere.

All these changes and inventions were brought into our world by creative minds. Do you think they were special in some way? Of course, but so are YOU!

topic_steve_jobsRemember, what Steve Jobs said: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” They weren’t particularly special, they were just ready to make mistakes, learn, try, fail, and try again.

So, in our rapidly-changing world a lot of jobs will soon be done by machines. There’s one big challenge that still exists for all artificial intelligence – to think creatively. Therefore, those who don’t develop the skill of creativity will soon become obsolete like the old bulky desk-top computers or VHS players.

Okay, let’s look at 5 main benefits of creativity. They are all interconnected and sometimes are the consequence of each other.

Problem solving

If you know the right techniques, if you’ve learned to think critically and creatively, it will be easy for you to make the right choices and find the right solutions. Generating ideas on demand becomes easy as soon as you’ve reached a certain level of skill development.

For example, when you’re learning a second language, at first it’s hard and almost seems impossible to speak fluently. After you’ve worked on developing this skill, after a lot of practice, it becomes a part of your nature. You speak freely, understand everything and even think in your target language.

Just think, how great it would be to always know what to do, solve problems with ease and generate the creative ideas whenever you need them.

Successful Career

When you’re a creative person, a problem solver who can think ‘outside the box’, you’re an irreplaceable person in any company.

Dream of starting your own business? Believe me, idea generation will be a normal, almost routine part of your life as an entrepreneur.

If you’re a book writer or a content creator, a few simple techniques will help you get out of a creative block. I’m sure you had moments when it seemed like you couldn’t access your inner creativity. Try several exercises and techniques that worked for so many people, and ideas will flow freely like water in a valley stream.

Successful relationships

Another important part of our life is relationships. We were created to live in communication with others. There’s no way to escape that unless you want to live on a deserted island. At the same time, when we’re with people arguments occur.

Creative thinking always helps us find the right solution to a problem, choose the best way and offer the winning idea. Persuasion skills come hand in hand with creativity skills, and there’s no doubt our relationships can only benefit from that.

Finally, creative ideas could make your love life deeper, more exciting and more harmonious.

Confident personality

The ability to create something incredible comes only when you’re ready to fail. Every well-known genius had failed in his life before he created something magnificent. If you’re not ready to make mistakes, admit them, learn from them and move on, you won’t be able to create anything great.

Do you know what breeds confidence? Confucius said – education, Dale Carnegie said – action. I will add – failure. When you discover that failure is part of the process, it gives you confidence and motivation to keep going. Are you afraid to fail? Do nothing and you will see how your confidence will disappear.

One of my students said the biggest benefit she got from my creativity course was confidence in her abilities to come up with creative ideas. Before she had thought it was impossible for her. Now she understands there is a clear step-by-step process to develop creativity and generate ideas.

Health Benefits

Did you know that creative work improves your health? In this Scientific American article, “researchers found that only creativity—not intelligence or overall openness—decreased mortality risk. One possible reason creativity is protective of health is because it draws on a variety of neural networks within the brain.”

Other researches show that creativity relieves stress, improves mood, heals from depression, helps prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. The benefits for health are numerous. Just think about all positive emotions you had last time you came up with a great idea. Or remember the happy eyes of your child after drawing something or making something out of clay.

Bringing it all together

Never stop creating, never stop learning. You can develop creativity, you just need to find motivation to do that. Believe in yourself! You were born to create, so, get up on your feet and stop crawling! It’s time to develop this most important skill in our modern constantly evolving world.

Here’s an awesome FREE guide to develop creativity and generate ideas on demand. It’s a 7-step process that helped me and thousands of other people. Follow this link to download the guide.

Now, it’s your turn. Which of the benefits is most important for you? Which of the reasons would convince you to start developing creativity? Share in the comments below.

Enjoy Life!