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Whoever Says Creativity Is Inborn Is Just Giving Themselves an Excuse

Whoever Says Creativity Is Inborn Is Just Giving Themselves an Excuse

What if I told you creative people are found to be more attractive by others? According to a study done by Christopher Watkins,

“Creativity can enhance your attractiveness both as a potential date and as a potential social partner” [1].

This may sound great, but there is more to the study than just this. Other factors that come into play include gender and physical appearance. Surprisingly, the effects of creativity are stronger for average looking people than people who are genetically gifted. Creativity is also thought to be more beneficial for men[2].

At this point you may be thinking, “HOW DO I MAKE MYSELF MORE CREATIVE!”

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Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us first define what creativity actually is.

Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun.

What is creativity? Rollo May, the author of The Courage to Create said,

Creativity is “the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life,”

As a matter of fact, creativity does not only make one more attractive; creativity also accompanies with many benefits. Below you shall see some of them:

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  • Become a better problem solver: creativity allows one to overcome challenge with innovative methods.
  • Save Money: creativity yields inner fulfilment, which reduces the urge to consume.
  • Embrace Freedom: creativity helps one fully engage with him or herself, surpassing all detrimental self-judgement.
  • Relieve Stress: creativity invites us to fully utilise our mind, our hand, and our energy, which awards us contented happiness [3].

There Is a Big Common Misconception about Creativity.

Many people have a misconception about creativity — it is something inborn. If we aren’t born creative, there is no hope. This is not true. Demian Farnworth, a Senior Content Writer at Lutheran Church Extension Fund, says this is not only a myth, but also an excuse.

The truth is anyone can learn to be creative, including you!

Now that we know what creativity is, it’s time to learn how to become creative.

What Separates Creative People from the Majority is that They Think Outside the Norms.

A change in mindset is the first step to becoming creative. Think outside of the box! If you run into a problem and can’t solve the problem, then the problem usually isn’t the problem, the problem is the way you are looking at the problem. “Divergent thinking is essential for a creative mind,” says Eddie Opera, a neuroscientist who has spent years studying the brain and creativity [4].

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There are both pros and cons to thinking outside the box. The pros are that you will become a better problem solver. Switching the way you think is essential. It can make an almost impossible problem become seemingly simple. Thinking outside the box is also good for innovation and communication.

The cons are few and far between. The major con to thinking outside the box is that it can be extremely frustrating. If you’re not feeling creative at the moment, then stop. Don’t return doing whatever it is you’re doing until you’re in the proper mindset.

Moreover, Creative People Do Not Let Others’ Opinions Bother Them.

Self-consciousness is an assassin of creativity. How can you be creative if you’re constantly worrying about what other people think?

Put other people’s opinions to the side and just be you. Let your mind go to work. Creativity is often sparked when we are alone. Find yourself a quiet, judgment-free zone in order to boost creativity.

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Creative People Understand the Importance of Harboring a Clear Goal.

Creativity is innovation. Innovation is progress. And progress leads to somewhere different than the starting point.

To become more creative, start with an end vision. This will allow you to develop a path; however, this is not a set path. Think of all the different ways you can reach the end point. This will get your creative juices flowing and allow you to think in more innovative ways. If you get stuck don’t worry. Everyone gets stuck, even some of the best minds in the world [5].

Creative People Also Excite Their Brains with New Events Consistently.

Switch up your daily routine. Go to different places and meet new people. These places and people can provide you with new insights and ideas that you’ve never had before. There have been studies that show how new experiences affect the neurons in the brain to help boost creativity [6].

“When you meet new people or try unexpected events, it creates an idea cocktail in your brain,” says Mikael Cho, founder of Unsplash and Crewlabs.

Your Life Will Be More Colourful Once You Introduce Creativity into Your Life

Life is more fun when we are creative! You’ll become a more interesting person with cooler ideas. You may even find yourself out and about with some hot dates (wink wink). Pick up these common characteristics of creative people to help yourself become more creative!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Brian Knight

Communications Major at The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Whoever Says Creativity Is Inborn Is Just Giving Themselves an Excuse

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Last Updated on September 30, 2019

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

1. Develop an Agenda

Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

3. Record Attendance

On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

4. Naming Convention

Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

5. What, and What Not, to Include

Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

7. Record Votes

The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

9. Proofread with Care

Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

10. Distribute Broadly

Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

11. File Meticulously

Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

One Caveat

In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

Bottom Line

Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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