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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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