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Stop Trying To Be Creative

Stop Trying To Be Creative

    Would you like to be more creative?

    Does the arrogant demon inside you drool at the prospect of gestating ideas worth millions of dollars?

    Stop trying to think outside the box and put your energy into making a bigger box.

    Why? Because possibility drives creativity. Not the other way around.

    For example, consider what the world would be like if no human had ever observed a living creature in flight. If there were no ducks, no flies, or any other flying creatures, flight would be outside the range of what a sane person would consider possible. Without the inspiration of possibility, creativity would never have the chance to take flight.

    In the same way, if we have not identified a concept as a possibility, it is rare for us to step away from the cow paths of our minds and conjure up an entirely unexpected creative concept. As such,the best chance we have for creativity that might lead to something productive is to expand our grasp of many things to the fullest extent possible. Once you expand the box a bit, you will see creative ideas crop up in unexpected places. That is the joy of running oneself on a human brain. Relish it!

    Creatures do fly, kites soar, and gliders steer with rudders like a paper boat. In 1903, the Wright brothers worked within the boundaries of what they thought possible and flew into the history. Without years of experience in fabrication and fine control mechanics, the Wright brothers could not have hoped to invent the three-axis control system that we continue to use in airplanes today.

    Are you waiting for ideas to land lightly on your outspread palms or are you working to expand your world and understand more of the possibilities it has to offer?

    A few ways to expand:

    • Reach outside your circle – Pursue meaningful conversations with people who don’t run in the same circle as you. You’d be amazed at the things that come up over a cup of coffee between new friends!
    • Build things constantly – You don’t have to build airplanes for it to count. The more  you build, the more experience you’ll have on hand when your perfect opportunity shows up.
    • Network with builders – Make a point to foster relationships with individuals who have the technical capacity to turn ideas into working models. In the Wright brothers’ case, it was their bicycle shop mechanic who ended up making the engine for the first flight. In my experience, being in regular contact with web developers gives me a distinct edge when it comes to sensing the possibility of creating something useful.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    image:dream

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    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 are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    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.
    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, “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, “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.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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