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2 Ways to Access Your Creative Potential On-Demand

2 Ways to Access Your Creative Potential On-Demand

Experiencing a moment of creative genius is one of the most satisfying feelings we humans can have. You experience a spark of many positive emotions such as excitement, joy, and charismatic exuberance. Would you like to be able to prime your mind to access your creative potential on-demand? Would you like to increase your chances of arriving at creative genius? Here are two outstanding methods to ignite your creative fire.

Preparation:

What is Creativity?

Being creative means you are creating. You are producing, not consuming. Many of us know what creativity feels like. It is often a spontaneous thought that seemingly comes from nowhere at an unexpected time. Creativity may apply to writing a terrific article, creating a beautiful piece of art, or simply solving a problem. In these senses, creativity is best described as your brain connecting two or more unrelated pieces of information, and creating a unique new viewpoint.

In fact, your brain is full of a lot of information. It is expanding its database constantly as you sense new information. It does this quietly and without your direct instruction. Are you allowing it to sift through this data on occasion? Or are you simply a receptacle of information?

Separate Mind from Brain.

Imagine for a moment that your mind and your brain are separate entities. Separate your conscious and subconscious thinking. See your mind using your brain as a tool to interact with the outside world. As you visualize this, go ahead and close your eyes, and see your mind separating out from your body. You may imagine yourself looking down upon your body and your brain.

“You are not your brain. The mind that gives orders to the brain is the only true creator.” – Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, Super Brain

To form an analogy, you might see your body as a computer. Your brain makes up the user interface to the outside world. Your brain consists of the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Your mind, now separate, uses your brain to interface with the vast array of otherwise unintelligible information that the computer can collect from everything around you.

Separating mind from body and clarifying the role of each is a fundamental step to understanding the creative process.

Creativity and the Senses

Now that you can imagine the separation of mind from brain, you should begin thinking about the interaction between the two. Sensory input, in terms of site, taste, touch, vision, and hearing, make up our perception of the physical world. This information is passed from the brain to the mind, and is the basis for much of the conscious information flow between the two.

As you close your eyes once again, seeing your mind peering down upon your brain and body, add in another visualization: a colorful flow of information coming from the outside world into your body and up to your brain. Watch the brain process and filter this information, before it passes some of it up to your mind. Your mind responds, sending information and orders back down to the brain. This flow can look like a swirl of colors. This is a busy flow! Visualize your brain burdened by input and response—a computer running at 100%.

If you are able to see this visualization, you are prepared to begin igniting your creative potential.

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Reach Your Creative Potential:

Method 1: Overload your senses.

Have you ever been in a shower when out of nowhere, you solve a very complex or long-lasting problem, even though you weren’t directly thinking about it? Many people have reported this experience. This is a creative spark.

Part of the reason this occurs is because in the shower, you have overloaded your senses to the point that your mind has drifted away. During this state, information is flowing from your brain to your mind—uni-directional. Your mind leaves your brain alone and allows it to work through and process information it has been storing for a long period of time. You are allowing your brain to do its work rather than consciously directing it. This is similar to how computers used to “defragment” during down time, performing better once complete.

Does this mean you should take showers constantly? No! You can invoke this feeling in other ways. In fact, freshness and novelty are key.

Light up your senses. As you enjoy the experience, expect a creative spark. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sight: sit in a candlelit room. This causes a standard environment to look new, different, and exciting.
  • Sound: listen to interesting, rhythmic music or sounds, preferably without words.
  • Smell: use scented candles, incense, or aromatic food.
  • Touch: bring something of unique texture to hold onto as you sit. Beads, jewelry, and antiques can be great to run your fingers around.
  • Taste: bring a small snack that you normally do not eat. Wine, juice, fruits, and unique cheeses are excellent choices.

Placing yourself in this situation of sensual overload will cause you to become lost in the moment. You will stop thinking about work, your to-do list, and other stress factors. Your mind cannot help but get lost. Your brain is now free to make wonderful new connections and provide you solutions to problems that have been queued up.

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So how does this relate to your morning shower? Showers tend to excite your senses. You see body parts that are normally covered, the rhythmic sound of water hits your ears, your soaps bring unique scents, and there are different textures to touch.

You can place yourself in this situation for as long and as often as desired. You may try 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and several days per week to start. The more you do this type of activity, the more easily you will be able to achieve a wandering mind.

Method 2: Shut off your senses.

This method is a bit more challenging, but will ultimately allow you to most completely disconnect the flow between your mind and brain. Put simply, this is meditation, which has been used for centuries to help people solve problems and arrive at unique conclusions and spark creative genius.

Meditating for creativity is not easy. To start, go back to our visualization. See your mind floating over your body and brain. See the information exchange. As you hold this image, start allowing your mind to drift further and further away, until you can no long see your brain.

The flow of information fades until it has been temporarily stopped. You are not providing input and direction to your brain. You will return, but you will understand the importance of letting your brain alone to do its work. Your mind should continue to drift into blackness, reaching a state of calm. You may float in this state as long as you like, ultimately working your way back to your brain, re-engaging the information flow, and opening your eyes.

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Upon doing so, it may be good to sit down with a journal or instrument, and write, draw, or play whatever is at your finger tips. Let your brain communicate to you what it figured out while your mind was away.

If you’re having a hard time with this visualization, try starting out by focusing on a rhythmic bodily function, such as your breathing or heartbeat. Accept thoughts as they come to you, but then turn back to your body. As soon as random thoughts become less intrusive, begin the visualization.

Conclusion

If you are like most people, you probably operate in a near constant state of information overload. The Internet, TV, smartphones, and more all work to make you an information consumer—perhaps to beyond the degree we’re capable of handling. With this in mind, take time to unplug from your brain. Assign it a problem to solve. Then allow it to sift through and sort its database. Use your senses as the tool to do this. The results will be surprising.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit:

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Justin Gesso

Bestselling Author, Business Leadership, Real Estate

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

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.”[1]

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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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

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 6 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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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