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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 February 20, 2019

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Are you stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Staying in a role too long out of fear
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many, many other reasons why you may be feeling this way but let’s focus instead on getting unstuck.

As in – getting promoted.

So how to get promoted?

I’m of the opinion that the best way to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization.

Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrated added value?

Let’s dive right in how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position:

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them – tongue in cheek, of course – about getting really good at their job.

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“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else?”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some reality in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:[1]

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role. I bet there was a time when this job was a stretch for you, and you stepped up to the challenge and performed like a rock star. You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong “personal brand” equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call “a good problem to have”: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done “too” good of a job!”

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

In Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that project you do so well is hiring and training new entry level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, making hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

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Is there anyone else on your team who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. In becoming a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower then to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Be ready to explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is well explained by Ashley Stahl in her Forbes article. Shahl talks about mindset, and says:[2]

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you–not the job–who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Share with your supervisor that you want to be challenged and you want to move up. You are seeking more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and will develop with some additional projects and coaching.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills:

An article on Levo.com suggests that more than 60 percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision.[3]

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You can bone up on these skills and increase your chances of promotion by taking courses or seminars.

And you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor, either. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has the position you are seeking.

Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of her meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what her secret is! Take copious notes and then immerse yourself in the learning.

The key here is not to copy your new mentor (think Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Single White Female.” Just kidding). Rather, you want to observe, learn and then adapt according to your strengths. And don’t forget to thank that person for their time.

4. Develop Your Strategy

Do you even know specifically WHY you want to be promoted anyway? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one year, five year, or ten year plan? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what?”

Sit down and do an old-fashioned Pro and Con list. Two columns:

Pro’s on one side, Con’s on the other.

Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

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Look at your lists and choose the most exciting Pro’s and the most frustrating Con’s. Do those two Pro’s make the Con’s worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want.

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

Mel Carson writes about this on Goalcast that many other authors and speakers have written about finding your professional purpose.[4]

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why is it that you do what you do?
  • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
  • What does a great day look like?
  • What does success look like beyond the paycheck?
  • What does real success feel like for you?
  • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your Vital Work Friends over coffee.

See, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. And you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose. And like Mastercard says, that’s Priceless.

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

Reference

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