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The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

I have a friend who was thinking about opening a pizza place. His core passion was making pizza and having others enjoy it, so he figured it could be a good business for him.

As soon as he began the process of opening the restaurant, though, there were lots of other questions he had to consider: the location, taxes, zoning, staffing, and business planning. So he began researching and talking to people, which all took a lot of time. He figured out the right location, the staffing, the tax implications, the business plan, and more.

    He felt he was ready to open. But what suffered when he finally got started was the actual quality of the pizzas.

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      How could that be? Wasn’t the pizza-making itself his passion?

      In fact it happens to 90% of us. We get caught up by all the other things around us that it makes us easily forget the core that creates meaning for our works. So how to turn things around?

      Find The Epicenter

      The “epicenter” is the core of anything. In terms of earthquakes, for example, it’s where the process begins. In a business sense, an “epicenter” is your core idea. What’s the passion? Why are you investing in this idea, concept, or new project?

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      This idea comes from a book Rework, which was written by Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp. The book is about looking at business planning and advice in a different way.

      In the example above, my friend’s epicenter was making quality pizza. If he focused on that side of it and potentially outsourced some of the other work he needed to do, he would have stayed passionate and had great overall performance.

        Stay focused on your epicenter

        Why are you doing this thing as opposed to doing some other things? When you find that passion in your epicenter, it allows you to be more productive and do more quality work.

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        Determine what’s a priority

        If you begin from your epicenter and view that as your foundation, you can more clearly understand what’s necessary to do in the future and what’s not. You can also better figure out what elements to outsource, or assign to someone else.

        Basecamp became a very powerful productivity tool for a lot of organizations. When Fried was building it, he didn’t rely very much on outside investors — as many do. He also didn’t have a standard business plan — which many people say you must have. Instead, he decided there was a major problem with how teams organized themselves and communicated information back and forth. His team set out to build a product that would help solve that problem. That was his epicenter. Everything else flowed from that. He didn’t instantly get bogged down in details or logistics of other aspects of building a business because his epicenter told him “If you work to solve this problem, the other aspects will get addressed.”

        Focus Your Energy

        There are always going to be other things that need to be addressed. But if your energy is focused on what you absolutely want to do, you will get better at knowing how to deal with everything else.

        Think of any random day at work. A lot of people easily become distracted: emails, meetings, people stopping by, and phone calls etc. This is not focusing on your epicenter. If you arrive at work on any given day and think “What do I need to achieve today?” then your day will be much more productive. You will be focusing towards your epicenter.

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        But if you allow yourself to be pulled in any new direction the moment it arises (a new email, a new phone call, a new visitor), you won’t be that productive. You’re not working towards an epicenter. You’re just working towards tasks.

        If you want to be more productive and successful, then, determine your epicenter. Work from there.

        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

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        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

        Can I Be Creative?

        The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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        How Creativity Works

        Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

        What Really Is Creativity?

        Creativity Needs an Intention

        Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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        Creativity Is a Skill

        At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

        Start Connecting the Dots

        Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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