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6 Effective Ways To Train Your Creative Mind

6 Effective Ways To Train Your Creative Mind

Ever felt yourself on the brink of an amazing idea, but suddenly, your creativity seemed to grind to a halt? If you’ve experienced this annoyance before, you’re probably keen to learn how to get the creative juices flowing again.

In this day and age, creativity is as important as it’s ever been. Even in the business world, the greatest success is achieved through innovation, for which we must have creativity!

If you’ve ever felt let down by your current level of creativity, it’s time to work on improving it. You may be surprised to realize that intelligence only plays a modest role in creative genius.

It’s actually far more complex than we first imagined. In fact, creativity is complexity in itself. There are no quick or easy fixes, however, you can gradually boost your creativity with these 6 simple mind shifts.

1. Believe Creativity Can Be Grown

While this may seem obvious, it’s essential for you to harness all your willpower from the start. The mere act of belief is one of the most powerful motivators.

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You must throw away the concept that creativity is an inborn gift. It’s true we naturally develop a certain level of creativity, but then it’s up to you to encourage and allow its growth.

Align your belief now and you will commit yourself to becoming more creative.

2. Choose Lateral Over Vertical Learning

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    Broadly speaking, there are two different ways we acquire knowledge. Vertical learning is specialization in a particular knowledge field, whereas lateral learning gives us a grasp on a variety of different knowledge fields.

    Naturally, you’ll find yourself gravitating towards one or the other. If you’re typically a logical thinker, you’ll often lean towards vertical. However, making an effort to focus on lateral learning will fuel your creativity greatly. Having a wide variety of knowledge in different fields will give your creative side more resources to flow through.

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    3. Train Your Creativity as You Would a Muscle

    Steve Jobs was without a doubt a creative inspiration to all of us. During his time, he shared a wealth of creative wisdom, including this quote:

    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs

    However, it’s worth knowing that Jobs already had some mighty creative muscles in place. Without them, it’s difficult for us to achieve the same.

    Fortunately, we can train the creative functions of the brain much like we train our muscles in the gym. By providing regular stimulation and pushing ourselves, growth can be triggered.

    Practice stretching your creativity using methods such as brainstorming or writing as many ideas as you can on paper. As you become more creative, you’ll notice ideas flowing more easily.

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    4. Dedicate Time to Creativity

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      If you’re serious about becoming more creative, you’ll need to dedicate time to it. Save at least one free hour per day solely for your own creativity. Allow your mind to wander without daily activities and duties interfering.

      Don’t see this as unproductive time, see it as essential playtime for your creative side. When you grant your mind this freedom, you’ll be amazed at what you can come up with!

      5. Keep a Thought Journal

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        Have you ever experienced a spark of creative genius, only to have it fade away before you can act upon it? This is actually quite common, even for the greatest creative thinkers of our time.

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        Creativity is introspective and sensitive to our feelings. Ideas can come and go as fleetingly as our emotions. Inspiration can strike at any moment and be gone in the next.

        Creative geniuses often keep thought journals for jotting down these thoughts as they go about their day. Start capturing your fleeting thoughts on paper, then you can revisit them later for deeper reflection.

        6. Consciously Use Both Sides of Your Brain

        Creativity is not black and white. It’s not a simple case of left-brain for logical and right-brain for creative thinking. True creativity comes from a harmonious balance of both.

        Becoming more self-understanding will help bolster your creativity. Start by identifying your usual thinking patterns and purposefully balancing yourself out. For instance, if logical thinking is too dominating, you should simulate the creative side with activities such as drawing or painting.

        Ultimately, you should be able to easily transition between both creative and logical thinking. Once you have mastered this, you will be well on your way to becoming a true creative genius!

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        Last Updated on August 4, 2020

        The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

        The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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        1. Value Your Time

        Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

        2. Know Your Priorities

        Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

        For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

        3. Practice Saying No

        Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

        4. Don’t Apologize

        A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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        5. Stop Being Nice

        Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

        Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

        6. Say No to Your Boss

        Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

        But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

        7. Pre-Empting

        It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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        “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

        8. Get Back to You

        Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

        “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

        At least you gave it some consideration.

        9. Maybe Later

        If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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        “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

        Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

        10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

        This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

        Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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        Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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