Stop Burying Your Talents

Have you ever seen a superhero movie? Wouldn’t you want to possess at least one of those superpowers?

I’m a big sci-fi fan and love all kinds of movies about non-existent universes and people with supernatural abilities. It fascinates me to see what human beings can do when we get in touch with our talents and strengths.

There’s one more important fact you’ve got to know about me – I’m a strong believer in the power of human potential. I believe we all have incredible God-given potential which is not realized to the fullest. We might not even know we have it and just live our life from day to day in total ignorance about our hidden ‘superpowers’.

What makes me really sad is that the majority of people don’t use their gifts and don’t work in the areas of their strengths. Can you imagine the world where all people realize their talents and develop their strengths? Just think how happy everyone would be! It’s an amazing feeling when you know you’re using your gifts.

What a beautiful world it would be!

I want to challenge you to think about your own talents, gifts and strengths. If you don’t know, ask your closest friends and family. People around you might help you uncover those gifts. As soon as you find out your strengths, start using them for the greater good, for improving the level of your own life and the life of people around you.

Let’s make this world a better place where everyone is using his or her potential to the fullest!

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Should You Train Your Body to Need Less Sleep?

pexels-photo-271897Why do you think the topic of sleep is so popular nowadays? There are books and researches, articles and blog posts, infographics and videos on this topic. Everybody is ready to offer an opinion. Everyone seems to know so much about it.

I’ve been experimenting with my sleep for several years now. About two years ago it became particularly crucial for me to have more hours in a day. I’m a full-time missionary who is also teaching English on the side and owns her own business. Three full-time jobs demand a lot of time, that’s why training my body to sleep less became a new challenge.

What To Remember

If you think you can just decide to sleep less and start your new life easily, you’re in for a big surprise. Unless you’re one of very few people with gene called hDEC2, it will be pretty hard to retrain your body. You may function pretty normally one or two days, but soon sleep deprivation will kick in.

Also, there’s one very important fact to remember – we all need at least 7 hours of sleep. Every source I’ve read shouts loud and clear that 6 hours of sleep or less is not enough for our body to function normally during the day. Therefore, if you normally sleep more than 8 hours, it’s probably a good idea to train your body to sleep less. Otherwise, learn how to be more efficient during the day, and make sure you get your 7 magical hours.

Sacrificing your sleep won’t help you to be more productive. Your brain won’t generate creative ideas or solve intellectual problems on the level you want it to. Your body will lose its strength, so you won’t perform serious physical tasks as well as before.

pexels-photo-359989What To Do

Here’re a few tips I can give you based on my own experience:

  • When reading various books and articles, listening to other people’s advise, always keep in mind that we’re all different. If something worked for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • Increase self-awareness by understanding your personal sleep-cycles, best night and morning routines and the amount of sleep you need.
  • Experiment with the number of hours you need to feel rested. Allow yourself to wake up without an alarm clock a few nights in a row.  Keep record of the time you went to bed and woke up to learn how many hours of sleep are ideal for you.
  • Don’t stay in bed after you wake up. Majority of people are lazy by nature, that’s why we may allow ourselves to keep sleeping when our body doesn’t need it anymore.
  • Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It’s more natural for our bodies to prepare for the night after it’s getting dark outside. On the other hand, the sunlight helps us wake up naturally. A lot of processes in our body are connected with the amount of sunlight we receive during the day.

 

Conclusion

So, the answer to our big question ‘Should you train your body to need less sleep?’ would depend on the amount of hours you sleep now. If it’s more than 7-8 hours, definitely try to retrain your body. Too much sleep can be as dangerous as too little of it. There’re only 20% of people who need more than 8 hours of sleep according to BBC.

At the same time, if you sleep 7-8 hours every night, enjoy it and learn how to use the rest of the day more efficiently.

 

 

 

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.

Mind-mapping Aug 29

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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)

 

How to Be More Productive

P18A9498Do you remember your most productive day? What helped you stay focused and achieve your goals? I am sure you have several amazing tricks of your own. However, let me share with you my struggles and ideas first.

10 days ago I declared my personal war with procrastination and self-indulgence. There are only 24 hours in a day. Each minute is a gift, each second is precious. How dare we waste the moments of our life that we’ll never get back? Each moment is lived only once. I will never be 39 years 4 months 22 days old again. Ever!

My last several months have been a brutal struggle with procrastination. One day is amazingly productive, yet another one is a complete disaster. It exhausted me, annoyed me and ignited a burning desire to conquer this beast. That’s why my natural feistiness inspired me to start this personal war and invite others to keep me accountable.

So, here are a few things that usually help me stay productive throughout the day. These are not new ideas, although I need to remind myself of their importance regularly.

1.  Momentum

I am sure you’ve heard this physics term used in the area of business, achieving goals and success. When you start working on a task and suddenly find yourself engrossed in it, forgetting about time, that’s your momentum. You should catch it like a wave and ride it as far as possible.

Sometimes I would start writing a blog, preparing a lesson, working on a course, and the world around me ceases to exist. The work flows easily and without distractions, ideas come fast, and the process is enjoyable. This is momentum. I always have to remind myself to take the most of it and not waste this precious moment of inspiration.

2.  Focus

My biggest challenge and most important goal these days is focus. Momentum definitely helps to stay focused, but it doesn’t come first, it’s the result of a focused mind. Eliminate distractions, stay on a task without switching to another one, let the ideas flow and let the momentum kick in.

However, in my life focus is more than just working without interruptions. There are so many passions I want to pursue, so many causes my heart aches for! At the same time, my business, work and ministry throw numerous responsibilities at me. As a result, it’s getting harder, but also more crucial to stay focused.

3.  Pressure

All people are different. Perhaps, for somebody the pressure of a deadline is stressful and overwhelming. For me, a chronicle procrastinator, it’s a safe boat. I set deadlines for myself if nobody does it for me, and then, it’s up to pressure to play the role of a motivator.

In conclusion, let’s look at all three points. What’s your favorite? Mine is number one – momentum. It’s the most enjoyable one!

What are your techniques and methods to stay productive? Please share in the comments and help me in my war with procrastination. You can keep me accountable following my Instagram account – natasha_baz.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep, That Is The Question

150513194606-01-better-sleep-exlarge-169It’s not really a question, whether we should sleep or not. A lot of research proves that sleep is extremely important for being able to function normally during the day. However, the biggest question for me is – how much and when.

Should I sleep 7-8 hours like Arianna Huffington and many others suggest? Or should I sleep 5-6 hours like many successful entrepreneurs claim they do? When should we go to bed and when is it better to wake up? There are so many controversial opinions, and all of them seem credible. How can we choose the right answer for us?

As a matter of fact, having read a lot of articles and books on productivity, I can say that everything is individualized. We all should experiment and find our own perfect magic number.

How much?

In fact, in the last two years I’ve been experimenting with sleep and got interesting results. It seems my perfect number is 6.15 – 6 hours, 15 minutes. Presumably, this is the amount of sleep that my body needs to feel rested and wake up energized. Several experiments showed that sleeping even a few minutes longer made me groggy and tired. However, there were cases when I slept 5 hours 15 minutes or 7 hours 15 minutes, and the result was also not bad.

When?

Another question arises – when should we go to bed and wake up? I think it depends on your schedule. Some people can go to bed early because they are home after 6. For others (like me) it’s impossible because we come home from work after 10. In the same way, it’s hard to state one perfect formula for getting up in the morning.

Another set of my experiments proved that going to bed before 12 am helps to sleep more efficiently. I wake up more rested than after going to bed at 2 am, even if the amount of sleep was less.

Conclusions

All things considered, we can make a conclusion – every person is unique. You should try to experiment and find your own formula of efficient sleep.

Share with us in the comments below what is the best time for you to go to bed and wake up. How much do you usually sleep? Is it easy for you to get out of bed?