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How to Become a Creative Genius

How to Become a Creative Genius
Einstein

When we measure the creativity of young children, virtually all of them will record as being ‘highly creative’. However, only a small percentage of adults register as being ‘highly creative’.

What happened?

Schools have crushed creativity. We were told to color within the lines. We were taught to follow instructions. The goal in
school is to get the “right” answer. Unfortunately, if you’re afraid to be wrong, you’ll never be creative or original.

The job of education is to produce employees who follow instructions. And to this endeavor, they are doing a
very good job. However, in terms of creativity, they are falling terribly short.

This is one of the most unfortunate realities in our current education system.

To undo this, we must continuallyexercise our creative juices. That’s why I have put together 6 tips for expanding your creativity.

1. Keep a Notebook and Pencil on hand at all times.

Ideas are like in-laws, you never know when they’re coming over to visit. By keeping a notebook around, you will always
be able to capture your ideas at any time of the day.

Leonardo da Vinci was well known for keeping a journal of his ideas. His notebooks are now prized possessions that hold
the many creative and genius thoughts of this master thinker, painter, and inventor.

His notebooks were filled with plans for flying machines, a parachute, a helicopter, the extendable ladder, the bicycle,
folding furniture, and a number of automated tools for increasing productivity.

Yes, I am happy to say that Leonardo da Vinci was a productivity junkie.

A blank page is an open invitation for the creative and curious mind. The simple act of writing gets you into a
creative flow that can last for hours.

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The free-flowing, exploratory practice of keeping a journal encourages freedom of thought and expanded perspectives.

2. The second key to creativity is to ask questions.

Questions are the root of all knowledge and creativity. By continually asking questions about the world around us, we
fuel our creative fire.

Great minds are those that have asked the greatest questions.

Leonardo da Vinci asked such questions as:

“Why does the thunder last a longer time than that which causes it?” and “Why is the sky blue?”

Socrates asked such questions as:

  • “What is wisdom?”
  • “What is piety?”
  • “What is beauty?”

As a young boy, Albert Einstein asked himself, “What would it be like to run beside a light beam at the speed of
light?”

A number of inventions have been created by asking one simple question…

“What if…..?”

By asking questions we increase our level of consciousness and our perspective of the world.

3. To become a creative genius, you must also be a voracious reader.

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Reading enhances your mental ability and lets you experience the world from a brand new perspective.

When we read a book, we let go of our own perspectives and experience the world from the characters that have been crafted by the author.

I have found in my own life that the more I read, the more I want to know. Reading becomes an insatiable desire and an unquenchable thirst.

4. Seek out new experiences.

Our minds are much like a garden. Without proper care, the weeds will take over. Nothing sparks the mind like learning something new.

If you want to expand your creativity, then learn a new skill. It can be anything you choose. Learn a new language.
Learn to water ski. Learn to play an instrument. Pick up photography or even try a new sport.

All of these activities get your mind working outside of its regular patterns.

5. Become a whole-brain thinker.

There are generally two-types of people in this world: left-brained and right-brained.

In most cases, people are either analytical thinkers who enjoy math, science, and logic or they are highly
imaginative and creative individuals who focus on the big-picture.

Unfortunately, our school systems generally cater to those who are left-brained analytical thinkers. This has created
a world of employees who are very good at following directions but are not so good at developing new ideas.

To break the mold, we must become whole-brain, holistic thinkers.

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You can do this by using a powerful method known as mind mapping.

Mind mapping has been used by some of history’s greatest brains, including Michelangelo, Mark Twain, and Leonardo da
Vinci.

Mind mapping is a whole-brain activity that will awaken your creative side as well as your analytical side.

Mind mapping will also help you to generate new ideas when needed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using it for
personal goal setting, problem solving, or simply to become a more creative, whole-brain thinker.

Our mind works in pictures, associating one idea to the next. Mind mapping allows you to continue this natural
thought process on paper.

Mind mapping is one of the most powerful tools for awakening your creativity.

For a detailed explanation of mind mapping, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map

6. The final tool for developing your creativity is imaginary dialogue.

Yes, I know, it may sound silly at first, but this technique can be an extremely powerful tool for developing your
creativity.

This technique was first introduced in the best-selling book by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich”.

Before achieving his success, Napoleon Hill was first meeting with an imaginary mastermind each night. He would
close his eyes and visualize a table occupied by such great men as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Napoleon
Bonaparte, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Elbert Hubbard.

Napoleon Hill would then speak to the members of his imaginary mastermind in the following manner:

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“Mr. Lincoln: I desire to build in my own character those qualities of patience and fairness toward all mankind and
the keen sense of humor which were your outstanding characteristics.”

“Mr. Washington: I desire to build in my own character those qualities of patriotism and self-sacrifice and leadership which were your outstanding characteristics.”

“Mr. Hubbard: I desire to develop the ability to equal and even to excel the ability that you possessed with which to express yourself in clear, concise and forceful language.”

After meeting with his mastermind group for several months, he found that he had developed each of their desired
characteristics into his own personality.

Napoleon also went to his imaginary mastermind to help solve any problem he was facing.

The imaginary mastermind is a master tool for finding new perspectives and looking at your problem from a different angle.

For example, let’s say that you own a business. Why not develop an imaginary mastermind of the greatest business
minds in history? You can call to your table such names as Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Ray
Kroc, and Sam Walton.

Call on them daily for advice and you will begin to see your problems in a new light. As once said by Albert Einstein,

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

You can have even more creative fun by imagining a discussion between two different well-known people.
Some examples to get you started include:

  • Bill Gates Vs. Steve Jobs
  • Leonardo da Vinci vs. Albert Einstein
  • William Shakespeare vs. Maya Angelou

Let your mind wander and you will be surprised at all of the connections you begin to make.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at
The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 Essential
GTD Resources
, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need
a Braindump
, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and
Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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